Landlord — Rights and Responsibilities

Remember Landlord and Tenant law is highly dependent on the written rental agreement, so always check that first. 

As a landlord, you have certain obligations under Ohio law, whether or not they are written into a lease. You cannot change these obligations or require the tenant to assume them, and the tenant cannot agree to excuse or waive your performance of them under any circumstances.

The short list of landlord “must do” responsibilities:

  1. Obey all health and safety laws and regulations.
  2. Make all repairs needed to maintain the property in good condition.
  3. Keep all common areas safe, clean, and in good repair.
  4. Maintain in good working order all electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning fixtures and applications which the landlord provides or is required to provide.
  5. Provide and maintain garbage cans and provide for trash removal where there are four or more units in the building.
  6. Supply running water and enough hot water and heat at all times, unless there are separate heat or hot water units for each dwelling unit and the utility fees for the heat and hot water are paid directly by the tenant to a public utility company.
  7.  Give at least 24 hours notice to a tenant before trying to enter their apartment and enter only at reasonable times unless there is an emergency.
  8. Not abuse the right to enter.

RIGHTS UNDER THE LAW

In addition to duties, the law guarantees tenants and landlords specific rights. The landlord has the right to:

  • Evict a tenant who does not pay rent when due.
  • Evict a tenant who refuses to move after the end of the rental agreement.
  • Evict a tenant who does not perform the duties in the rental agreement or those required by state law.
  • Receive notice from a tenant when the tenant wants to end the rental agreement.

What are my rights as a landlord?
If you own rental property and permit another to use, occupy or possess your residential premises for a period in return for money or something of value, you are a landlord.

  • You can rent your property for any amount you wish. Unless you have a written or oral lease that provides for a fixed rent for the lease term, you can increase rents in any amount if you give adequate notice (usually 30 days).
  • You may rent to anyone you wish and establish any conditions and terms in a rental contract that do not conflict with federal or state law, including federal and state anti-discrimination statutes.
  • You may evict the tenant for nonpayment of rent or for breaking any significant term of the lease. You must give the tenant written notice of your intent before filing an eviction action in court. For nonpayment of rent, you must give the notice at least three days before filing the eviction action or the court will dismiss the case. In other cases, you must give the tenant 30 days to correct the violation before you can begin an eviction action. Do not count the day you give the notice or weekends and holidays, and wait until after the third day before filing the eviction complaint.
  • If a tenant violates the law in a way that materially affects health and safety, you must notify the tenant in writing and give the tenant 30 days to resolve the problem before you file an eviction.
  • After reasonable notice to the tenant (24 hours), you have the right to enter the premises to inspect, repair, make improvements, supply services or show the property.
  • You have the right to have your property returned to you in as good a condition as it was when the tenant took possession, except for ordinary wear and tear.

As a landlord, you may be liable to a person who is injured in an area you control or as a result of your failure to maintain and repair certain basic items as required by law or the lease. If the lease is in writing, you must give the tenant your name and address and the name and address of your agent, if any. If the lease is oral, you must give the tenant the same information in writing when the tenant moves in. If you fail to provide this information, you waive the right to receive a notice of the conditions before the tenant escrows the rent.