Ohio Renter’s Rights for Repairs

Ohio Renter’s Rights for Repairs

Last Updated: June 13, 2023

In general, a landlord in Ohio has to repair any issues at a rental property that could affect a tenant’s health or safety. The landlord must repair issues within a “reasonable time” of getting written notice from the tenant about the needed repairs (up to a maximum 30 days).


Note that this may not apply to student tenants, or in special cases where a small-scale landlord properly makes required written disclosures to the tenant.

Ohio Landlord Responsibilities for Repairs

Ohio landlords are responsible for keeping all of the following in good working condition:

  • Plumbing.
  • Required utilities.
  • Heating and, where provided, air conditioning.
  • Hot water.
  • Required smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors.
  • Provided appliances (except those the landlord explicitly exempts in the lease by following the legal requirements for doing so).
  • Garbage containers and removal (for multi-unit properties only).
  • Common areas.
  • Features that affect health, safety, or habitability.

If any of the above stops working properly, and the tenant isn’t at fault for the damage, the landlord is the one responsible for making the repairs necessary to fix it.

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What Repairs Are Tenants Responsible for in Ohio?

Ohio tenants are responsible for repairing any damage they deliberately or negligently cause to the rental property.

Requesting Repairs in Ohio

Ohio tenants must request repairs by providing the landlord written notice about the issue that needs repair. The notice should be sent to the place or person where rent is usually paid.

How Long Does a Landlord Have To Make Repairs in Ohio?

Ohio landlords have a “reasonable time” to make repairs after getting proper written notice about an issue from the tenant. What’s reasonable depends on the particular circumstances, but the law clearly states 30 days is the maximum and that the landlord will usually have to do repairs sooner than that.

Can the Landlord Refuse To Make Repairs in Ohio?

Ohio landlords can refuse to make repairs, if the tenant isn’t current on rent. Ohio courts have clearly stated that habitability cannot be raised as an issue in an eviction action unless the tenant is current on rent either directly with the landlord, or by paying into a court’s rent escrow.

Do Landlords Have To Pay for Alternative Accommodation During Repairs in Ohio?

Ohio landlords are not required to pay for alternative accommodation while they conduct repairs. However, a situation that requires the tenant to move out for repairs may be a constructive eviction that lets the tenant end the lease and stop paying rent after moving out.

Tenant’s Rights if Repairs Aren’t Made in Ohio

Ohio tenants can, in most cases, cancel the rental agreement if the landlord doesn’t make required repairs in a timely way. They might also sue for damages, get an injunction to force repairs, or withhold rent into court escrow.


Note that this may not apply to student tenants, or in special cases where a small-scale landlord properly makes required written disclosures to the tenant. In those cases, monetary damages are the only available remedy.

Can the Tenant Withhold Rent in Ohio?

Ohio tenants are not allowed to unilaterally withhold rent. To receive a legal excuse from paying the rent, a tenant must have a court order.

Can the Tenant Repair and Deduct in Ohio?

Ohio tenants are not allowed to arrange for repairs and deduct from the rent.

Can the Tenant Break Their Lease in Ohio?

Ohio tenants can break their lease, for the landlord’s failure to repair required items or other uncorrected breaches of the landlord-tenant laws. The tenant must show a specific legal violation that hasn’t been corrected within a reasonable time (up to 30 days) after proper written notice.

Can the Tenant Sue in Ohio?

Ohio tenants can sue to force repairs or recover monetary damages, when the landlord doesn’t make timely repairs after proper notice.

Can the Tenant Report the Landlord in Ohio?

Ohio tenants can report landlords for code violations that affect health or safety. Tenants should usually report to the local inspections or code enforcement department. If an inspecting officer finds a violation, the tenant could cancel the rental agreement, or sue to force repairs.

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Landlord Retaliation 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.

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