Evictions aren’t long, drawn-out legal affairs in Ohio. If you’re a tenant, you might find yourself packing up and leaving in relatively short order if you violate the terms of your lease. Your landlord can give you notice and schedule a hearing within as little as 10 days' time, then get a Writ of Restitution ordering you to vacate the premises.
Notice to Leave Premises
The first step in Ohio’s eviction process begins with a Notice to Leave Premises delivered to you by your landlord. It’s also known as a 3-Day Notice because that’s all the time you have before your landlord can file papers with the court to evict you if you’re still in residence. You can try to rectify your lease violation during this time, such as by paying past due rent, but under Ohio law, your landlord can proceed with the eviction even if you pay up.
The Eviction Action
Your landlord can file a Forcible Entry and Detainer Action with the municipal court after three days if you haven’t moved out. The court will send you a copy of the paperwork when he files, including a summons telling you when you should appear in court. Ohio law requires that you receive these documents at least seven days before the scheduled court date, as little as 10 days after receiving the Notice to Leave.
The Court Hearing
Ohio Legal Services recommends that you attend the court hearing, even if you’ve already moved out. You can officially turn your keys over to the landlord at this time and ask the judge to dismiss the eviction action so it doesn’t appear on your record and possibly your credit report.
If you think you’re being evicted unfairly, you can argue your case at the hearing. You’re entitled to take witnesses with you to help explain your side of the story, and you can raise certain defenses:
- Your landlord broke the law when evicting you, such as by locking you out of the dwelling or turning off your utilities.
- You withheld the rent because your landlord didn’t make repairs necessary to provide you with a habitable home.
- You landlord is evicting you for discriminatory reasons, such as because he found out you’re pregnant and he doesn’t like kids or want them living in his property.
- He’s evicting you because you exercised a legal right, such as forming a tenant’s union or making a complaint about him or his property.
Writ of Restitution
If you lose in court, the final step of the eviction process is a Writ of Restitution, also known as a Red Tag in Ohio. It will be posted on the property, probably on your door, and it tells you how long you have to relocate before law enforcement gets involved – usually five to 10 days. If you don’t leave by the deadline, your landlord can ask the court for a Praecipe for Set Out, which allows law enforcement to come to your residence. Your landlord can then unlock your apartment or home, go inside and remove your furniture and belongings. He can’t be held responsible for any damage to your property, unless you can prove he did it maliciously and intentionally.
If you have a month-to-month lease, your landlord doesn’t have to prove to the court that he has a legal reason to evict you, such as nonpayment of rent. Your lease doesn’t provide for residency beyond 30 days, so either you or your landlord can terminate the rental arrangement with 30 days’ notice. If your landlord does have a legal reason because you broke the terms of the lease, he doesn’t have to wait 30 days, however. He can file a detainer action with the court after he gives you the 3-day notice.