Timeline. Evicting a tenant in Ohio can take around five to eight weeks depending on whether the eviction is for nonpayment of rent, illegal activity, a violation of the terms of the lease/rental agreement, or a material health/safety violation. If tenants request a continuance or jury trial, the process can take longer (read more).
Introduction. It is illegal for a landlord in Ohio to evict a tenant without a court order. Landlords must follow Ohio’s state laws for a valid eviction process. Below are the individual steps of the eviction process in Ohio.
Step 1: Notice is Posted
Landlords in Ohio can begin the eviction process for several reasons, including:
- Nonpayment of Rent – Once rent is past due, notice can be served to give the tenant the option to pay rent in order to avoid eviction.
- Violation of Lease Terms / Rental Agreement – If a tenant violates a provision of a written lease or rental agreement, the landlord doesn’t have to give the tenant the opportunity to correct the issue before moving forward with the eviction process.
- No Lease / End of Lease Term (Tenant at Will) – If there is no lease or the term of the lease has ended, the landlord does not need any additional reason to end the tenancy as long as proper notice is given.
- Material Health / Safety Violation – If the tenant violates a health, building, safety, or housing code, they must be given the opportunity to fix (“cure”) the issue before the eviction process proceeds further.
- Illegal Activity – If a tenant or any other occupant of the rental unit is engaged in illegal drug activity, notice must be served on the tenant before the landlord can evict the tenant.
Illegal activity also includes tenants or other occupants of the rental unit who are registered sex offenders if the rental unit is located within 1,000 feet of a school, pre-school, or child-care center.
- Retaliatory Evictions. It is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant for complaining to the landlord or to the appropriate local or government agency regarding the property. It is also illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant for joining, supporting, or organizing a tenant organization or union.
- Evicting a Squatter. If the individual occupying the property does not have the permission of the landlord when initially moving in, does not have a lease (or verbal agreement), and has no history of paying rent, then a landlord/tenant relationship may not be established. As a result, the process for their removal may be different (read more).
Each possible ground for eviction has its own rules for how the process starts.
Eviction Process for Nonpayment of Rent
A landlord is allowed to evict a tenant for failing to pay rent on time.
According to Ohio law, rent is considered “late” the day after it’s due. If there is a grace period it shall be addressed in the lease or rental agreement.
Once rent is past due, the landlord must provide a 3-Day Notice to Pay if the landlord wants to file an eviction action with the court. This notice gives the tenant the option to pay the past due amount in full within three days to avoid eviction.
If the tenant does not pay the rent due by the end of the notice period and remains on the property, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.
Eviction Process for Violation of Lease Terms / Rental Agreement
A tenant can be evicted in Ohio if they do not uphold their responsibilities under the terms of a written lease or rental agreement.
Ohio landlords are not required to allow tenants to correct a lease violation in these instances, but they must provide tenants with a 3-Day Notice to Quit.
Typical lease violations under this category could include things like damaging the rental property, having too many people residing in the rental unit, and having a pet when there’s a no-pet policy.
Note that illegal drug activity, registered sex offenders, and material health or safety violations are not included in this category.
If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.
Eviction Process for No Lease / End of Lease
In the state of Ohio, if tenants “hold over,” or stay in the rental unit after the rental term has expired, then the landlord must give tenants notice before evicting them. This can include tenants without a written lease and week-to-week and month-to-month tenants.
Often this type of eviction applies to tenants who are at the end of their lease and the landlord doesn’t want to renew.
The amount of time required in the lease termination notice depends on the type of tenancy.
- Month-to-Month – If rent is paid on a month-to-month basis, a landlord must provide the tenant with a 30-Day Notice to Quit.
- Week-to-Week – If rent is paid on a week-to-week basis, a landlord must provide the tenant with a 7-Day Notice to Quit.
If the tenant remains on the property after the lease has ended, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.
Eviction Process for Material Health / Safety Violation
A tenant can be evicted in Ohio if they violate a health, building, safety, or housing code. In these instances, the landlord is required to provide the tenant with a 30-Day Notice to Comply, giving the tenant 30 days to correct or “cure” the issue.
Examples of material health and safety violations could include letting trash pile up inside the rental unit, providing a harbor for rodents or bugs, or even things like damaging the electrical wiring in the rental unit.
If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period without correcting the violation, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.
Eviction Process for Illegal Activity
Tenants of a rental unit who are involved in illegal drug activity or are registered sex offenders must be given three days’ notice before the landlord can proceed with an eviction action.
Tenants may also be evicted if their guests or other occupants in the rental unit are involved in illegal drug activity, even if the tenant wasn’t specifically involved in the activity.
Tenants or other occupants of the rental unit who are registered sex offenders may only be evicted for being a registered sex offender if the rental unit is located within 1,000 feet of a school, pre-school, or child-care center.
For both types of illegal activity, landlords must give tenants a 3-Day Notice to Quit. The notice period begins on the next business day (this does not include holidays or weekends).
If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.
Step 2: Complaint is Filed and Served
As the next step in the eviction process, Ohio landlords must file a complaint in the appropriate county or municipal court. In Franklin County, this costs $123 in filing fees and an additional $45 if a set-out (forcible removal) is requested. Not all counties require a set-out fee.
The summons and complaint must be served on the tenant by the Clerk of Court via regular mail within three business days after the complaint was filed (for illegal drug activity evictions), or at least seven days prior to the hearing for all other eviction actions.
In addition to serving the tenant via regular mail, the clerk must also attempt to serve the tenant through one of the following methods:
- To have the sheriff serve a copy of the summons and complaint on the tenant (if filed in County Court);
- To have the bailiff serve a copy of the summons and complaint on the tenant (if filed in Municipal Court);
- To have a designated process server serve a copy of the summons and complaint on the tenant or someone who is of “suitable” age; and
- Posting a copy in a conspicuous place on the rental unit (if other service methods are unsuccessful).
Three to seven business days. For illegal drug activity evictions, the summons and complaint must be served on the tenant within three business days of filing; for all other eviction actions, the timeframe is seven days prior to the hearing date.
Step 3: Court Hearing and Judgment
Depending on the type of eviction being filed, the hearing will be set for 30 days after the summons was served on the tenant (if the eviction is for illegal drug activity), or not less than seven days after the summons was served on the tenant for all other evictions.
For illegal drug activity evictions, tenants are not allowed to request a continuance. For all other eviction cases, tenants cannot request a continuance longer than eight days unless the court approves a longer period.
- Formal Answer. Tenants can file a formal, written answer to the landlord’s complaint. This is optional, and may be filed prior to the hearing, in which case the hearing will proceed as originally scheduled. If filed at or after the hearing, the tenant or landlord can request a continuance.
- Contested Hearings. If a tenant wants to contest (fight) the hearing, they must bring any documentation to the hearing that’s already scheduled, which is when the tenant can present reasons for why they shouldn’t be evicted, or for why there shouldn’t be a hearing in the first place.
If the tenant fails to appear for the hearing, it will not be continued, and the judge will make a ruling on the eviction that day.
However, if either the landlord or tenant requests a trial by jury or a continuance, this will add more time to the process.
If the judge rules in favor of the landlord, a Writ of Execution will be issued and the eviction process will proceed.
7-30 days, depending on whether the eviction is for illegal drug activity or another type of eviction. Tenants who are not being evicted for illegal drug activity 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: Writ of Execution is Issued
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.
If the court has ruled in the landlord’s favor, the landlord will ask the court to issue a Writ of Execution. This can be done at the hearing or at a later date—nothing is specified at the state level, and each county sets their own rules on how long a landlord has to request the writ.
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 which county the rental unit is in, the tenant’s belongings may be removed from the property when the tenant is, or left in the rental unit 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, the sheriff, constable, police officer, or bailiff has to remove the tenant from the rental unit, but they can’t take more than 10 days to remove the tenant.
Some counties may give the law enforcement officer a specific number of days (such as five) to evict the tenant instead of going with the vaguer
within 10 days as laid out in Ohio state law.
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
Below is a summary of the aspects outside of the landlord’s control that dictate the amount of time it takes to evict a tenant in Ohio. These estimates can vary greatly, and some time periods may not include weekends or legal holidays.
- Initial Notice Period – Between 3 and 30 days, depending on the notice type and reason for eviction.
- Issuance/Service of Summons and Complaint – Three to seven days.
- Court Hearing and Ruling on the Eviction – 7-30 days, more if continuance/jury trial is requested.
- Issuance of Writ of Execution – A few hours to a few days.
- Return of Possession – Up to 10 days.
Tenant’s Eviction Defenses. A tenant may choose to fight the eviction. Below are some common defenses:
- The landlord removes the tenant without a court order.
- The landlord changes the locks on the door or shuts off essential services or utilities.
- The landlord does not give the tenant proper notice before filing an eviction lawsuit.
- The landlord did not uphold their obligation of maintaining a safe and habitable rental unit after the tenant has given notice to the landlord.
- The landlord discriminates against the tenant based on race, gender, religious, familial status, disability, etc.
Flowchart of Ohio Eviction Process