In Ohio, all evictions follow the same process:
- Landlord serves the tenant with notice.
- Landlord files complaint with court.
- Court serves tenant with complaint and summons.
- Court holds hearing and issues judgment.
- Sheriff serves tenant with Writ of Execution and returns property.
From start to finish, an eviction in Ohio can be completed in five to eight weeks.
Grounds for an Eviction in Ohio
In Ohio, a landlord cannot legally evict a tenant without cause. Legal grounds to evict include not paying rent on time, staying after the lease ends, violating lease terms or not upholding responsibilities under Ohio law. Even so, proper notice must first be given before ending the tenancy.
|Nonpayment of Rent||3 Days||Yes|
|End of/No Lease||7-30 Days||No|
|Lease Violation||30 Days||Maybe|
|Failure to Uphold Tenant Responsibilities||30 days||Yes|
Eviction for Nonpayment of Rent
In Ohio, a landlord can evict a tenant for not paying rent on time. To do so, they must first give 3 days notice to pay rent or vacate the premises. If the tenant does neither after that time, the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit.
Unless the lease states otherwise, rent is due at the beginning of each pay period and is considered late in Ohio the day immediately after its due date.
Eviction for No Lease or End of Lease
In Ohio, a landlord can evict a tenant without a lease or with a lease that has ended (known as a “holdover tenant” or “tenant at will”). To do so, they must first terminate the tenancy by giving proper notice to move out (30 days for tenants that pay month-to-month, 7 days for tenants that pay weekly).
Once the tenancy ends, if the tenant remains on the property, the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit.
Eviction for Violation of Lease or Responsibilities
In Ohio, a landlord can evict a tenant for violating the terms of their lease or not upholding their responsibilities under Ohio landlord tenant law. Some (but not all) violations allow the tenant to fix (“cure”) the issue to avoid removal.
If a tenant commits a violation of the lease or violates health, building, safety, and housing codes, the landlord must give the tenant 30 days notice before proceeding. Generally, these types of violations are curable.
Illegal Evictions in Ohio
In Ohio, either of the below actions by a landlord are illegal. If proven in court, the landlord could be required to pay the tenant the cost of damages plus the tenant’s legal fees.
“Self Help” Evictions
No matter the situation, a landlord is not allowed to forcibly remove a tenant by:
- Changing the locks;
- Shutting off utilities; or
- Removing tenant belongings.
A tenant can only be legally removed with a court order obtained through the formal eviction process.
It is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant in response to exercising a legally protected right. These rights include:
- Complaining to the landlord about an issue with the property;
- Contacting a local or government agency about an issue with the property; or
- Joining, supporting or organizing a tenant union or organization.
Step 1: Landlord Serves Notice to Tenant
A landlord can begin the eviction process in Ohio by serving the tenant with written notice. The notice must be delivered by one of the following methods:
- Hand delivering the notice to the tenant;
- Mailing a copy of the notice via certified mail with return receipt requested; or
- Leaving the notice at the tenant’s unit.
It is important for a landlord to always maintain a copy of the signed and served notice as proof of proper service of notice.
3-Day Notice to Quit
A landlord may issue a 3-Day Notice to Quit if the tenant failed to pay rent or if the tenant commits illegal drug activity on the property.
If a tenant is late paying rent, the landlord can serve a 3-Day Notice to Quit. This notice gives the tenant 3 days (not counting weekends or holidays) to pay the remaining balance or move out. If the tenant pays rent within 3 days the landlord can’t move forward with the eviction.
A landlord may also serve a tenant with a 3-Day Notice to Quit if the tenant engages in illegal drug activity on the rental property. A landlord is not required to allow a tenant to resolve this type of violation.
If the tenant does not resolve the above issues, if possible, within 3 days, the landlord may move forward with the eviction process.
30-Day Notice to Quit or Comply
If a tenant violates the terms of the lease agreement, the landlord may also issue a 30-Day Notice to Quit. Lease violations may include:
- Damage to the rental property;
- Having an unauthorized pet; or
- Smoking in a non-smoking unit.
If the tenant does not resolve the violations and remains on the property beyond the 30 days the landlord may continue with the eviction.
Otherwise, if a tenant violates health, building, safety, housing codes or any responsibilities set forth under Ohio law, a landlord may serve a 30-Day Notice to Comply to allow the tenant time to fix the problem.
Violations under this may include:
- Not keeping the unit sanitary;
- Damaging appliances, plumbing, or electric; or
- Disturbing the neighbors’ peaceful enjoyment.
The tenant must repair or otherwise fix the issue within 30 days. If they are unable to do so, the landlord may move forward with the eviction.
Step 2: Complaint is Filed and Served
If the notice period ends and the tenant remains on the property, the landlord may file a complaint in the court of the proper county or municipal court. The complaint should include the following information:
- The landlord and tenant names;
- The rental property address, including the county;
- The grounds for eviction (i.e., nonpayment of rent, lease violation, etc.); and
- When notice was served.
After being filed and stamped by the county clerk, the summons and complaint are forwarded to a process server or county sheriff to serve each named tenant. The clerk may also send the complaint and summons by certified mail. Certain fees may apply for the service of the summons and complaint.
The number of copies and which documents you need to provide varies based on the claims and number of tenants in your suit. To be certain, always call the local Clerk’s Office. When only one tenant is involved, the landlord will generally need:
- The original and two copies of the summons and complaint;
- Three copies of the notice served on the tenant;
- Three copies of the lease or rental agreement, if applicable;
- The applicable filing fee in the form of cash, check, money order, or credit card; and
- Proof of service.
In most counties in Ohio, filing fees cost around $123 but additional costs may apply if the landlord is evicting more than one tenant. Information regarding filing fees can be found on the applicable county court website.
Three to seven business days. After the eviction lawsuit is filed, it can take several for the court to issue the summons. After that, it can take another two to three days for the tenant to be served, as it may take multiple tries to make contact.
Step 3: Court Serves Tenant with Summons & Complaint
A tenant should be served with the summons and complaint within three working days of the filing of the complaint. . However, a tenant must be served at least 7 days prior to any hearing. . Once the tenant has been served, the tenant may choose to answer or contest the complaint. A tenant’s answer must be in writing and filed with the clerk of court within 28 days of being served.
If the tenant contests the eviction, the process may take longer or include additional steps. To contest the eviction the tenant must have a legal defense, or a valid reason why the landlord should not evict them. The tenant must also serve the landlord with the answer containing the defenses.
A valid legal defense may include the following situations:
- The landlord executed a “self help” eviction prior to finalizing the proper legal proceedings;
- The tenant resolved a curable violation;
- The landlord discriminated against the tenant;
- The landlord evicted the tenant in a retaliatory manner;
- The tenant did not violate the terms of the lease;
- The tenant did not receive proper notice;
- The landlord failed to properly maintain the rental unit as required by state and federal law; or
- The notice or complaint contained substantial errors, such as omitting the effective date of eviction.
A court may dismiss the eviction lawsuit if it finds any of the above defenses to be true, aside from errors in the legal documents. If the notice or complaint contained substantial errors, the landlord must fix the errors and restart the eviction process.
If the tenant does not choose to contest the eviction, the process will proceed via the steps below.
7-38 days, Tenants have 28 days to answer the eviction complaint after service, however, tenants do not always file answers. Tenants have the option to request an 8-day continuance , and landlords or tenants can request a jury trial, which will add more time to the process.
Step 4: Court Holds Hearing & Issues Judgment
A hearing must be held within 30 days of the tenant receiving the complaint and summons. . If the tenant did not contest the eviction, the landlord may move forward with filing a default motion judgment to obtain a Writ of Execution.
If the tenant did contest the eviction, the tenant may be required to pay the Court Clerk the amount of any outstanding rent and any rent until the lawsuit is over. If there is a disagreement over the amount of rent owed, the tenant may file a motion with the court to have the amount determined. Landlords must appear in court. If a properly served tenant fails to show up for the court date, the court will automatically rule in favor of the landlord.
To prepare for the hearing the landlord and tenant should bring the following:
- A copy of the lease agreement;
- The notice to quit or to pay;
- The complaint; and
- Any evidence (i.e., photos of damage, billing statements, etc.) or witnesses to help prove the case in court.
Regardless if the eviction was contested or not, if the judge rules in favor of the landlord, a Writ of Execution will be subsequently issued and the process will proceed.
The Writ of Execution is the tenant’s final notice to leave the rental unit, and gives them the opportunity to remove their belongings before the sheriff returns to the property to forcibly remove the tenant.
Some counties, such as Franklin County, the court may set out additional procedures that must take place prior to the eviction, such as posting a red tag notice on the rental property. The filing fee for a red tag is $35.
Depending on the county the rental unit is located, the tenant’s belongings may be removed from the property and forfeited to the landlord. Those belongings may then be used as a lien for damages or payment to the landlord.
A few hours to a few days. The landlord must request the writ of execution, but it can be issued the same day as the hearing, depending on what time of day the hearing was held.
Step 5: Possession of Property is Returned
Within 10 days of receiving the writ of execution, a law enforcement agent will remove the tenant from the rental unit. Some counties may give the law enforcement officer a lesser number of days (such as five) to evict the tenant.
Approximately 10 days. The tenant has 10 days at the most once the writ of execution has been issued to gather their belongings and move out before a sheriff, bailiff, police officer or constable is allowed to forcibly remove them from the property.
Eviction Process Timeline
In Ohio, an eviction can be completed in 5 to 8 weeks but can take longer depending on the reason for eviction, whether the eviction is contested, which days courts are (or aren’t) in session and other various possible delays.
Below are the parts of the Ohio eviction process outside the control of landlords for cases that go uncontested.
|Initial Notice Period||3-30 Calendar Days|
|Court Issuing Summons||3-7 Business Days|
|Court Serving Summons||1-3 Business Days|
|Tenant Response Period||28 Calendar Days|
|Court Hearing and Ruling||7-30 Business Days|
|Court Serving Writ of Possession||1-3 Business Days|
|Final Notice Period||Up to 10 Calendar Days|