Warranty of Habitability in Ohio

Last Updated: June 13, 2023 by Elizabeth Souza

In Ohio, a landlord’s obligation for providing a habitable living space is primarily governed by Ohio Rev. Stat. § 5321.04. This legal requirement, commonly known as the “implied warranty of habitability”, also outlines the rights of tenants when repairs are not made in a timely manner.

Quick Facts Answer
Landlord Responsibilities Hot/Cold Water, HVAC, Electrical/Plumbing, Sanitation Facilities
Time Limit for Repairs 5 Days or 30 Days
Tenant Recourse Options
  • Withhold Rent: Yes, with the Court Clerk.
  • Repair & Deduct: No
  • Rent Abatement: Yes, with Court Approval

Applicable Dwelling Types in Ohio

The implied warranty of habitability in Ohio does not apply to all types of dwellings. See the table below for which are and aren’t included.

Dwelling Type Landlord/Tenant Laws Apply?
Single family Yes
Multi-family Yes
Fraternities/Sororities/Clubs If owned/operated by a college/university
RV parks No
Mobile home parks Not specifically addressed
Condos Only if person in condo is renter, not owner
Hotels/Motels No

Additionally, rental agreements are not allowed to include any provisions that waive the tenant’s right to live in a habitable residence.

Landlord Responsibilities in Ohio

The following chart lists possible landlord responsibilities when it comes to habitability.  Not all of them are requirements in Ohio, as indicated below.

Note: Some of the below items may not be addressed at the state level but may be addressed on a county or city level. Check your local housing codes to see which additional requirements may apply.

Habitability Issue Landlord Responsibility?
Provide windows and doors that are in good repair. Not addressed
Ensure the roof, walls, etc., are completely waterproofed and there are no leaks. Not addressed
Provide hot and cold running water. Yes
Provide working HVAC equipment. Yes
Provide working plumbing and electrical wiring/outlets/ lighting. Yes
Provide working gas lines if used for utilities/cooking Not addressed
Provide working sanitation facilities (bathtub/shower, toilet). Yes
Provide a trash can (for trash pickup services). Multi-family units
Ensure that any stairs and railings are safe. Not addressed
Ensure that all floors are in good condition and safe. Not addressed
Provide fire exits that are usable, safe, and clean. Not addressed
Ensure storage areas, including garages and basements, do not house combustible materials. Not addressed
Provide working smoke detectors Not addressed
Provide a mailbox. Not addressed
Provide working wiring for one telephone jack. Not addressed
Provide working kitchen appliances. No
Provide working carbon monoxide detector. Not addressed
Provide a working washer/dryer. No

The landlord must provide a dwelling unit that is up to code with all building, housing, safety and health codes. The dwelling unit must be kept in good condition and not materially affect the safety or health of the tenant.

Read more

Lead-Based Paint

Landlords are required to notify prospective tenants of the potential for lead-based paint in any rental units built prior to 1978.

This notice must be included in the rental agreement, and tenants should also receive the “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home,” booklet produced by the federal government.

Repairs, Recourse & Retaliation in Ohio

If a rental property is in violation of the implied warranty of habitability in Ohio, state laws outline how the repair process works, what tenants can do if repairs aren’t made, and how tenants are protected against retaliating landlords.

Requesting Repairs in Ohio

Ohio renters have the right to repairs for issues that affect health and safety, unless they caused the issue themselves. To exercise their right, the renter must notify the landlord of the issue in writing. The issue must then be fixed within a reasonable time (up to 30 days).

If the issue isn’t fixed within the legally required time, the renter can end the rental agreement, ask a court to order repairs or compensation, or withhold rent. The renter isn’t allowed to repair and deduct.

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 such cases, the landlord’s only obligation is reasonable behavior, and the tenant’s only remedy is monetary damages. Check leases carefully.

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

Ohio renters have the right to repairs for a variety of potential issues, including things that impact health and safety. To exercise their right, renters have to give the landlord written notice about the issue that needs fixing and wait TIME for the landlord to do repairs.

If the issue isn’t fixed by the landlord in a timely way, the renter could end the rental agreement or get a court order for repairs or compensation. However, the renter usually can’t repair and deduct, or withhold rent. Read More

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.