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ohio lease agreementHow much can I charge for rent?
Ohio does not restrict the amount of rent a landlord is permitted to charge. Therefore, a landlord may charge whatever he feels necessary. Additionally, the state of Ohio has not established rent control or stabilization.

May I charge an application fee, late rent charge, or a returned payment fee?
Reasonable cost should always be kept in mind when instituting any charges. There are no limits placed on the amount a landlord may charge for an application fee or a late payment. However, a landlord should not charge a fee so high that it calls into question the fairness of the fee if challenged in court. Assessed fees for a returned check may not exceed $30 or 10% of the face amount of the instrument, whichever is greater, plus the amount of any fees charged to the holder of the check by any financial institution as a result of the check not being honored. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 1319.16

May I use a daily late charge?
Although this is not prohibited, it tends to be a rare practice and generally not encouraged.

What is the maximum amount I can collect as a security deposit?
There is no limit to the maximum amount a landlord may collect for the security deposit. However, please note that the landlord must pay the tenant interest on any amount of the security deposit in excess of 1 month’s rent.

What is a common problem where security deposits are concerned?
At times landlords may try claiming deductions for items that are often characterized by the court as normal wear and tear. This situation may be prevented by realistically evaluating each deduction, providing proof of damage as well as including repair receipts and pictures.

My tenant has moved out, what do I do with their security deposit?
A landlord who has received written notice of the tenant’s forwarding address must return the security deposit or an itemized list of proper deductions within 30 days of the termination of the lease, and the tenant’s return of possession to the landlord, or be liable for double damages and attorney’s fees. Please also be aware that the landlord must pay the tenant interest on any amount of the security deposit in excess of one month’s rent.

How can I end an Ohio lease agreement?
In regards to a fixed term rental agreement, notice would apply to the terms specified within the lease. With regards to a periodic tenancy, however long the tenancy is, that is how much notice one party wishing to terminate the lease must give the other. For instance, a month to month lease requires 30 days notice of intent to terminate. The notice period does not begin until the start of the next rental period.

Are there circumstances where I am required to release a tenant from a lease agreement?
A landlord may be forced to release a tenant from a contractual agreement when the dwelling unit or premise is damaged and/or destroyed by fire or casualty not caused by the tenant, deeming the rental property unlivable or If the tenant is called to active military duty. Additionally, a tenant may seek release from a rental agreement with the court when a landlord does not abide by the state’s landlord obligations.

Can I require my tenants to obtain renter's insurance?
Landlords may require tenants to obtain rental insurance, and can make the failure to do so a breach of the lease agreement.

What are the landlord’s legal rights in the event of the death of a tenant?
The tenant’s estate steps into the shoes of the tenant and must pay the rent and fulfill the obligations of the lease agreement.

My tenant has not paid rent; how much notice do I have to give a tenant in order to evict them? If the landlord wishes to file an eviction, a 3 day notice to vacate must either be given to the tenant or posted on the door of the premises. The day of posting does not count, nor does any day in which the court is not open. Thus a notice posted on Friday will allow an eviction to be filed with the Court upon the following Thursday provided that neither Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday happen to be holidays upon which the court is not open.

How long does the eviction process take?
As with any legal matter, exact timing is almost impossible as it depends on many factors. Overall, with no complications, the eviction process usually takes approximately 4-5 weeks.

Can I force my tenant to pay for attorney fees?
Ohio law does not allow for the landlord to obtain attorneys fees pursuant to a lease agreement. However, if the tenant violates Ohio Revised Code Section 5321.05, then the law does provide for attorneys fees payable by the tenant to the landlord.

How do I tell if my tenant has “skipped” out of the apartment?
Often times it’s best to look for the obvious, such as removal of personal goods, whether or not the tenant has come back to the premises at any time during a one week period, and simply no food in the refrigerator. It’s extremely important to document all of the “proof” gathered in order to determine abandonment. When in doubt, if payment of rent has not been made, the landlord may always file for eviction.

What can I do if my tenant files for bankruptcy?
The procedures a landlord should take will be determined by bankruptcy court laws. A Landlord usually will proceed with a relief from the “stay” deeming the tenant responsible for rent incurred during the pendency of bankruptcy proceedings. This is a complicated procedure and warrants at least a consult with an attorney.

Do I have the right to enforce no smoking in my rental property?
A landlord may establish a “No Smoking” policy by providing so in the Lease.

Do I have to give the tenant notice before I enter the rental property?
The landlord must give the tenant reasonable notice (presumed to be 24 hours) of intent to enter for the purposes of inspection or repair. R.C. 5321.04(A)(8)

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is intended as a general discussion of legal issues concerning landlord tenant law. Information provided is not legal advice or a legal opinion, and it is recommended that the reader seek independent counsel for any specific issue.


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