A landlord can evict a tenant in Ohio for failing to pay rent or violating the lease conditions, but he can't just turn the tenant out if he wants to stay legal. Ohio has established a clear procedure for evicting problem tenants, which starts with the service of a notice to quit and ends with a court order instructing the tenant to leave. Miss any of the steps, and the eviction will not be valid.
No Eviction Without a Cause
As a general rule, a landlord must wait until the end of a fixed-term tenancy before asking a tenant to leave. He can evict a tenant before the end of the fixed term only if there's a legal cause. In Ohio, the most common legal causes are not paying the rent or violating the lease conditions, for example, by making alterations to the property without the landlord's permission. A landlord can also file for eviction if he suspects the tenant is using, manufacturing or selling drugs at the property. He doesn't have to wait until there's an arrest or conviction.
Read More: How to Stop Eviction
Serving a Three-Day Notice to Vacate in Ohio
Before removing the tenant, the landlord must serve the tenant with a three-day "Notice to Leave Premises," either in person or by certified mail. Unlike other states, the Notice to Leave is an unconditional notice. It does not tell the tenant to pay up or else. Rather, it demands that the tenant move out before the three days is up. Ohio does not give problem tenants any second chances. Even if the tenant decides to make the late rent payment, the landlord does not have to accept it.
What's the Eviction Process in Ohio Like?
Three days after service of the eviction notice in Ohio, the landlord can file a petition in the county where the rental property is located. She'll fill out some paperwork, pay a filing fee, and pass the court documents over to the sheriff's office for service. The court papers served on the tenant will include a date and time for the court hearing. All tenants are given the opportunity to defend themselves in court. If the tenant doesn't show up, or doesn't have a valid excuse for his behavior, then the judge will sign an eviction order.
Removing the Tenant
The court eviction order will give the tenant around five days to move out of the premises. If she refuses to go, the final step is for the landlord to call the county sheriff's department and request a "set out." A law enforcement official will schedule a date for attending the premises and forcibly evicting the tenant. This should happen relatively quickly; usually within two or three days.
Beware Self-Help Remedies in Ohio
Even with an eviction order, it's never okay for the landlord to throw the tenant out on the street in Ohio. Only the county sheriff can forcibly remove the tenant from the rental property. Ohio eviction laws also make it illegal for a landlord to try to force the tenant out by other means, such as changing the locks or shutting off the power. A landlord who attempts to short-circuit the eviction process could be sued for damages.
A Note on Periodic Tenancies
The eviction process is different for month-to-month tenancies with no fixed end date. These rental agreements simply roll over or renew every 30 days until someone decides to end the tenancy. To evict the tenant, all the landlord has to do is serve a 30-day notice to quit. He does not need a legal reason, or any reason, for asking the tenant to leave. If the tenant does not move out after 30 days, the landlord can go to court and ask for an eviction order in the usual way.
Ohio landlords must serve an unconditional three-day "Notice to Leave Premises" before filing an eviction lawsuit in the local county court.
Jayne Thompson earned an LL.B. in Law and Business Administration from the University of Birmingham and an LL.M. in International Law from the University of East London. She practiced in various “Big Law” firms before launching a career as a commercial writer. Her work has appeared on numerous legal blogs including Quittance, Upcounsel and Medical Negligence Experts.