Ohio Landlord Retaliation Laws

Ohio Landlord Retaliation Laws

Last Updated: June 13, 2023

Tenant Protected Actions
  • Health/Safety Complaints to Gov’t
  • Complaints to Landlord
  • Joining/Starting Tenants’ Organization
  • Enforcing Lawful Rights
Landlord Retaliatory Actions
  • Raising Rent
  • Decreasing Services
  • Filing/Threatening Eviction or Lawsuit
Penalties for Retaliation
  • End Lease
  • Repossess Property
  • Sue for Damages

When Is It Illegal for Landlords to Retaliate in Ohio?

It’s illegal for Ohio landlords to retaliate with raised rent, reduced services, or threatened eviction against tenants who have taken one of the following protected actions:

  • Complaining to the government about code violations.
  • Complaining to the landlord about the landlord’s legal obligations.
  • Participating in a tenant organization.

Unlike most states, in Ohio, taking a protected action isn’t enough to prove retaliation. The tenant must provide reasonable evidence to show that the landlord’s motivation was retaliatory. However, again unlike most states, in Ohio the tenant can point to a collective pattern of behavior to prove retaliation.

The law allows an exception when the landlord can prove a non-retaliatory, good-faith reason for the alleged retaliatory action. For example, a landlord who raises rent proportionately in response to a large increase in property tax is not retaliating, even if a tenant has recently complained about maintenance.

What Can Tenants Do in Response in Ohio?

Ohio tenants can respond to landlord retaliation by suing for quiet enjoyment of the property. The tenant might also end the rental agreement. In either case, the tenant can recover any actual monetary damages suffered. If the tenant proves actual damages, the tenant can also recover reasonable attorney fees.