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Ohio Eviction Process

Ohio Landlord-Tenant Attorneys

Eric E. Willison and Andrew J. Ruzicho  wrote the book on Ohio Landlord-Tenant and Eviction Law.  Literally.

Central Ohio Eviction Attorneys

Andrew J. Ruzicho II, Esq.
614 447 2365
118 Graceland Blvd., #307
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Online legal consultation with Andrew J. Ruzicho II

Eric E. Willison, Esq.
614 221 3938
625 City Park Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43206

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Step 1. The Pre-eviction Notices

An Ohio landlord has the right to bring an eviction when either a breach of the lease or by the tenant holding over at the end of the lease term.

The landlord then serves a three day notice to vacate.  This notice must contain statutorily mandated language.  This language must be conspicuously set off from the rest of the text with bold or italics, etc.

Weekends, holidays, and the date the notice is served do not count.

For pure violations of the lease other than non-payment of rent or holding over, the landlord must serve a 30 day notice to comply.  If the tenant fails to comply, the landlord must then serve the three day notice.  Examples of situations requiring the 30 day notice include tenant damaging the property beyond normal wear and tear or pets in violation of the lease.

Notices (but not the complaint)  may be served :

1.         via certified mail, return receipt requested;

2.         by delivering it to the tenant in person;

3.         by leaving it at the tenant’s usual place of abode (normally done by

posting it to the front door); or

4.         by leaving it at the premises of which the landlord is attempting to regain

possession (normally done by posting it to the front door).

Once the three day notice is posted the landlord may only accept rent for periods before the notice, but not rent for any period after the notice.

Step 2.  Forcible Entry and Detainer (Eviction Action)

The landlord must file the action in court.  Usually this is in Municipal Court, or in some locations in the Court of Common Pleas.

The clerk of the court will arrange service of the complaint and summons on the tenant, alerting the tenant that they are being sued for eviction and of the hearing date.

The tenant may delay the process with a response by, for example, challenging the service of the pre-litigation notice(s) or asking for a continuance to have time to retain an attorney.

Step 3.  The Hearing

The hearing is a summary proceeding to determine the issue of the right of possession.  Therefore formal rules of civil procedure and evidence do not apply.  The only issue determined at the hearing is possession.

Step 4.  Writ of Restitution

If the landlord prevails at the hearing the court will issue a writ of restitution. The court clerk (or the landlord in some venues) will post the writ on the property.   The tenant will then have five days to vacate.

Step 4.  Set Out

If the tenant remains in possession the landlord must call the clerk of the court and schedule a set out.  The bailiff or sheriff’s deputy will schedule a set out.  It is important that the landlord not change the locks or take any self-help eviction actions unless either in the context of a formal set out or if the tenant completely voluntarily vacates.

The above is a general description of the Ohio eviction process. It is not intended as a substitute for legal advice.  For advice about your circumstances contact an attorney.