Landlords have a lot of responsibilities to stay on top of.
One of the less glamorous tasks you have as a landlord is knowing your state’s legislation.
If you own and manage rental properties in the state of Ohio, here are the Ohio landlord tenant laws you should know about.
Under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, Ohio landlords have responsibilities when it comes to protecting their tenants’ credit information. This means that you cannot share any information from a tenant’s credit report unless there’s a legal reason for someone else to be viewing it. You must also dispose of credit reports after using them for tenant screening purposes. If you don’t, you may be subjected to Fair Credit Reporting Act violations. Furthermore, you must investigate disputed claims and let applicants know that their credit score or credit history was the reason for their rejection.
While criminal record checks may be used during tenant screening in Ohio, landlords should follow HUD recommendations for using them fairly. This means assessing criminal convictions on a case-by-case basis instead of blanket policies and only rejecting applicants who pose a safety risk to you, your neighbors, or other tenants.
Finally, the federal Fair Housing Act prohibits the discrimination of the following protected classes: Race, color, religion, gender, disability, national origin, and familial status. Ohio state law adds ancestry and military status to the list of protected classes.
In all 50 states, landlords of most properties built before 1978 must include information about lead-based paint hazards in their lease agreements. If this is you, you must provide your tenant with an EPA-approved pamphlet called “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home.”
Ohio landlords are also required to include the name and address of the owner or owner’s agent in any rental agreement.
Although there isn’t an Ohio security deposit limit, there are certain rules landlords must follow when it comes to security deposit protocol.
For example, security deposits greater than $50 or one month’s rent (whichever is higher) must be kept in an interest-bearing account with an interest rate of 5% per year. This law applies for all tenancies lasting six months or longer.
Landlords in Ohio have 30 days after a lease’s expiration to return a security deposit. If a tenant finishes their term with unpaid rent or damage as a result of noncompliance with their lease agreement, you may withhold the security deposit to cover the costs. In the event that this happens, you must identify and itemize the funds you used from the security deposit and give your tenant a written notice with the remainder of the deposit.
If you’d like to enter a unit that’s occupied by a tenant, you must follow the following protocol:
- Advanced Notice: You must give your tenants “reasonable” notice before entering their unit. If this isn’t specified otherwise, “reasonable” notice is considered to be 24 hours.
- Permitted Times: You can only enter a unit at “reasonable” times (this isn’t specified further in Ohio’s state legislation).
- Emergency Entry: You can enter a unit without prior notice in the case of an emergency.
Eviction law in Ohio requires you to send tenants who haven’t paid their rent a written three-day notice to pay or quit by certified mail. For other lease violations, a 30-day notice is required.
If you own and manage rental properties in Ohio, it’s your responsibility to know the laws that affect your business. The last thing you want to do is unintentionally violate a landlord-tenant law and get into legal trouble.
For this reason, take the time to familiarize yourself with all the federal, state, and local legislation that affects you and your tenants.