In the state of Ohio, evictions from rental property can be done only with the permission of a judge. Prior to demanding that a tenant quit the rental property, the landlord must serve notice to the tenant and seek the order of a judge to carry out the eviction. Tenants have some options for stopping an eviction in Ohio if specific conditions are not met by the landlord or if the tenant is under the protection of a bankruptcy court.
Comply with all provisions of the rental agreement. Landlords cannot evict tenants that are not in violation of a contract provision; therefore, if you are behind on rent, bring the rent current, or if you are being evicted for another type of violation, correct the situation to eliminate the basis for the eviction. Once you are in compliance with the provisions of the rental agreement, the landlord must stop attempts to evict you from the premises.
Renegotiate the terms of the rental contract. If you are in violation of a term in the contract and the landlord is evicting you for that violation, negotiate with the landlord to change the terms of the contract, keeping in mind that, in Ohio, the courts will first ask the landlord to reach an agreement with you through mediation prior to beginning eviction proceedings. For example, if you are in arrears with your rent, speak with the landlord to see if she will permit partial payments until you can pay in full. If you are keeping animals on the premises in violation of a clause in the rental agreement, contact the landlord to see if she is willing to permit pets on the premises.
Present a counterclaim against the landlord for any violations of the rental agreement. If your eviction case has reached a court hearing, present your side of the story before the judge and show that the landlord is in violation of provisions in the lease, if that is the case. An eviction cannot go forward if the landlord is in violation of the rental agreement provisions.
Do not leave the premises. Under Ohio law, before the landlord can begin eviction proceedings in court, she must first serve you with notice to quit the property within three business days. The landlord cannot legally remove you until a court has ordered you to leave, which usually takes another two months. During that time, you have the opportunity to correct the violation or repay rent in arrears.
Attend all court hearings during the eviction proceedings. Ohio courts will enter a default win to the landlord if a tenant (or his legal representative) is not present at the eviction proceedings. Attend the hearings and present the reasons to the judge pertaining to why you are in violation of the contract terms. This lengthens the time you can remain on the premises and forces the landlord to present her case in its entirety before the court.
File for bankruptcy. Under the bankruptcy laws of the United States, if you file bankruptcy before the eviction proceedings are begun, the bankruptcy court will freeze (place an automatic stay on) any actions taken by creditors, including landlords, against you. The landlord will need to petition the bankruptcy court to lift the automatic stay and require you to repay rent in arrears, something that most bankruptcy judges will not permit.
Consult a community help organization (such as Legal Aid) for legal advice in eviction proceedings or for landlord-tenant mediation.
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