Landlord Tenant – Forcible Entry and Detainer Law – Ohio
TITLE  XIX COURTS — MUNICIPAL — MAYOR’S –COUNTY
Jurisdiction in forcible entry and detainer; definitions.
(A) As provided in this chapter, any judge of a county or municipal court or a court of common pleas, within the judge’s proper area of jurisdiction, may inquire about persons who make unlawful and forcible entry into lands or tenements and detain them, and about persons who make a lawful and peaceable entry into lands or tenements and hold them unlawfully and by force. If, upon such inquiry, it is found that an unlawful and forcible entry has been made and the lands or tenements are detained, or that, after a lawful entry, lands or tenements are held unlawfully and by force, a judge shall cause the plaintiff in an action under this chapter to have restitution of the lands or tenements.
(B) An action shall be brought under this chapter within two years after the cause of action accrues.
(C) As used in this chapter:
(1) “Tenant” means a person who is entitled under a rental agreement to the use or occupancy of premises, other than premises located in a manufactured home park as defined in section 3733.01 of the Revised Code, to the exclusion of others.
(2) “Landlord” means the owner, lessor, or sublessor of premises, the agent or person the landlord authorizes to manage premises or to receive rent from a tenant under a rental agreement, except, if required by the facts of the action to which the term is applied, “landlord” means a park operator.
(3) “Park operator,” “manufactured home,” “mobile home,” “manufactured home park,” and “resident” have the same meanings as in section 3733.01 of the Revised Code.
(4) “Residential premises” has the same meaning as in section 5321.01 of the Revised Code, except, if required by the facts of the action to which the term is applied, “residential premises” has the same meaning as in section 3733.01 of the Revised Code.
(5) “Rental agreement” means any agreement or lease, written or oral, that establishes or modifies the terms, conditions, rules, or any other provisions concerning the use or occupancy of premises by one of the parties to the agreement or lease, except that “rental agreement,” as used in division (A)(11) of section 1923.02 of the Revised Code and where the context requires as used in this chapter, means a rental agreement as defined in division (D) of section 5322.01 of the Revised Code.
(6) “Controlled substance” has the same meaning as in section 3719.01 of the Revised Code. Title 19, § 1923.01
Persons subject to forcible entry and detainer action.
(A) Proceedings under this chapter may be had as follows:
(1) Against tenants or manufactured home park residents holding over their terms;
(2) Against tenants or manufactured home park residents in possession under an oral tenancy, who are in default in the payment of rent as provided in division (B) of this section;
(3) In sales of real estate, on executions, orders, or other judicial process, when the judgment debtor was in possession at the time of the rendition of the judgment or decree, by virtue of which such sale was made;
(4) In sales by executors, administrators, or guardians, and on partition, when any of the parties to the complaint were in possession at the commencement of the action, after such sales, so made on execution or otherwise, have been examined by the proper court and adjudged legal;
(5) When the defendant is an occupier of lands or tenements, without color of title, and the complainant has the right of possession to them;
(6) In any other case of the unlawful and forcible detention of lands or tenements. For purposes of this division, in addition to any other type of unlawful and forcible detention of lands or tenements, such a detention may be determined to exist when both of the following apply:
(a) A tenant fails to vacate residential premises within three days after both of the following occur:
(i) His landlord has actual knowledge of or has reasonable cause to believe that the tenant, any person in the tenant’s household, or any person on the premises with the consent of the tenant previously has or presently is engaged in a violation of Chapter 2925. or 3719. of the Revised Code, or of a municipal ordinance that is substantially similar to any section in either of those chapters, which involves a controlled substance and which occurred in, is occurring in, or otherwise was or is connected with the premises, whether or not the tenant or other person has been charged with, has pleaded guilty to or been convicted of, or has been determined to be a delinquent child for an act that, if committed by an adult, would be a violation as described in this division. For purposes of this division, a landlord has “actual knowledge of or has reasonable cause to believe” that a tenant, any person in the tenant’s household, or any person on the premises with the consent of the tenant previously has or presently is engaged in a violation as described in this division if a search warrant was issued pursuant to Criminal Rule 41 or Chapter 2933. of the Revised Code; the affidavit presented to obtain the warrant named or described the tenant or person as the individual to be searched and particularly described the tenant’s premises as the place to be searched, named or described one or more controlled substances to be searched for and seized, stated substantially the offense under Chapter 2925. or 3719. of the Revised Code or the substantially similar municipal ordinance that occurred in, is occurring in, or otherwise was or is connected with the tenant’s premises, and states the factual basis for the affiant’s belief that the controlled substances are located on the tenant’s premises; the warrant was properly executed by a law enforcement officer and any controlled substance described in the affidavit was found by that officer during the search and seizure; and, subsequent to the search and seizure, the landlord was informed by that or another law enforcement officer of the fact that the tenant or person has or presently is engaged in a violation as described in this division and it occurred in, is occurring in, or otherwise was or is connected with the tenant’s premises.
(ii) The landlord gives the tenant the notice required by division (C) of section 5321.17 of the Revised Code;
(b) The court determines, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the tenant, any person in the tenant’s household, or any person on the premises with the consent of the tenant previously has or presently is engaged in a violation as described in division (A)(6)(a)(i) of this section.
(7) In cases arising out of Chapter 5313. of the Revised Code. In such cases, the court has the authority to declare a forfeiture of the vendee’s rights under a land installment contract and to grant any other claims arising out of the contract.
(8) Against tenants who have breached an obligation that is imposed by section 5321.05 of the Revised Code, other than the obligation specified in division (A)(9) of that section, and that materially affects health and safety. Prior to the commencement of an action under this division, notice shall be given to the tenant and compliance secured with section 5321.11 of the Revised Code.
(9) Against tenants who have breached an obligation imposed upon them by a written rental agreement;
(10) Against manufactured home park residents who have defaulted in the payment of rent or breached the terms of a rental agreement with a manufactured home park operator;
(11) Against manufactured home park residents who have committed two material violations of the rules of the manufactured home park, of the public health council, or of applicable state and local health and safety codes and who have been notified of the violations in compliance with section 3733.13 of the Revised Code.
(12) Against occupants of self-service storage facilities, as defined in division (A) of section 5322.01 of the Revised Code, who have breached the terms of a rental agreement or violated section 5322.04 of the Revised Code.
(B) If a tenant or manufactured home park resident holding under an oral tenancy is in default in the payment of rent, he forfeits his right of occupancy, and the landlord may, at his option, terminate the tenancy by notifying the tenant, as provided in section 1923.04 of the Revised Code, to leave the premises, for the restitution of which an action may then be brought under this chapter.
(C) This chapter does not apply to a student tenant as defined by division (H) of section 5321.01 of the Revised Code when the college or university proceeds to terminate a rental agreement pursuant to section 5321.031 [5321.03.1] of the Revised Code. Title 19, § 1923.02
See provisions, § 6 of SB 258 (143 v –) following RC § 1923.01.
Judgment not a bar.
Judgments under this chapter are not a bar to a later action brought by either party. Title 19, § 1923.03
(A) Except as provided in division (B) of this section, a party desiring to commence an action under this chapter shall notify the adverse party to leave the premises, for the possession of which the action is about to be brought, three or more days before beginning the action, by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by handing a written copy of the notice to the defendant in person, or by leaving it at his usual place of abode or at the premises from which the defendant is sought to be evicted.
Every notice given under this section by a landlord to recover residential premises shall contain the following language printed or written in a conspicuous manner: “You are being asked to leave the premises. If you do not leave, an eviction action may be initiated against you. If you are in doubt regarding your legal rights and obligations as a tenant, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance.”
(B) The service of notice pursuant to section 5313.06 of the Revised Code constitutes compliance with the notice requirement of division (A) of this section. The service of the notice required by division (C) of section 5321.17 of the Revised Code constitutes compliance with the notice requirement of division (A) of this section. Title 19, §1923.04
See provisions, § 6 of SB 258 (143 v –) following RC § 1923.01.
Complaint filed and recorded.
The summons shall not issue in an action under this chapter until the plaintiff files his complaint in writing with the court. The complaint shall particularly describe the premises so entered upon and detained, and set forth either an unlawful and forcible entry and detention, or an unlawful and forcible detention after a peaceable or lawful entry of the described premises. The complaint shall be copied into, and made a part of the record. Title 19, § 1923.05
Procedure when restitution sought on basis of drug offenses.
(A) Notwithstanding the time-for-service of a summons provision of division (A) of section 1923.06 of the Revised Code, if the complaint described in section 1923.05 of the Revised Code that is filed by a landlord in an action under this chapter states that the landlord seeks a judgment of restitution based on the grounds specified in divisions (A)(6)(a) and (b) of section 1923.02 of the Revised Code, then the clerk of the municipal court, county court, or court of common pleas in which the complaint is filed shall cause both of the following to occur:
(1) The service and return of the summons in the action in accordance with the Rules of Civil Procedure, which service shall be made, if possible, within three working days after the filing of the complaint;
(2) The action to be set for trial on the thirtieth working day after the date that the tenant is served with a copy of the summons in accordance with division (A)(1) of this section.
(B) The tenant in an action under this chapter as described in division (A) of this section is not required to file an answer to the complaint of the landlord, and may present any defenses that he may possess at the trial of the action in accordance with section 1923.061 [1923.06.1] of the Revised Code.
(C) No continuances of an action under this chapter as described in division (A) of this section shall be permitted under section 1923.08 of the Revised Code, and if the tenant in the action does not appear at the trial and the summons in the action was properly served in accordance with division (A)(1) of this section, then the court shall try the action in accordance with section 1923.07 of the Revised Code.
(D) All provisions of this chapter that are not inconsistent with this section shall apply to an action under this chapter as described in division (A) of this section. Title 19, [§ 1923.05.1] § 1923.051
See provisions, § 6 of SB 258 (143 v –) following RC § 1923.01.
Summons; service of process.
(A) Any summons in an action, including a claim for possession, pursuant to this chapter shall be issued, be in the form specified, and be served and returned as provided in this section. Such service shall be at least seven days before the day set for trial.
(B) Every summons issued under this section to recover residential premises shall contain the following language printed in a conspicuous manner: “A complaint to evict you has been filed with this court. No person shall be evicted unless the person’s right to possession has ended and no person shall be evicted in retaliation for the exercise of the person’s lawful rights. If you are depositing rent with the clerk of this court you shall continue to deposit such rent until the time of the court hearing. The failure to continue to deposit such rent may result in your eviction. You may request a trial by jury. You have the right to seek legal assistance. If you cannot afford a lawyer, you may contact your local legal aid or legal service office. If none is available, you may contact your local bar association.”
(C) The clerk of the court in which a complaint to evict is filed shall mail any summons by ordinary mail, along with a copy of the complaint, document, or other process to be served, to the defendant at the address set forth in the caption of the summons and to any address set forth in any written instructions furnished to the clerk. The mailing shall be evidenced by a certificate of mailing which the clerk shall complete and file.
In addition to this ordinary mail service, the clerk also shall cause service of that process to be completed under division (D) or (E) of this section or both, depending upon which of those two methods of service is requested by the plaintiff upon filing the complaint to evict.
(1) If requested, the clerk shall deliver sufficient copies of the summons, complaint, document, or other process to be served to, and service shall be made by, one of the following persons:
(a) The sheriff of the county in which the premises are located when the process issues from a court of common pleas or county court;
(b) The bailiff of the court for service when process issues from a municipal court;
(c) Any person who is eighteen years of age or older, who is not a party, and who has been designated by order of the court to make service of process when process issues from any of the courts referred to in divisions (D)(1)(a) and (b) of this section.
(2) The person serving process shall effect service at the premises that are the subject of the forcible entry and detainer action by one of the following means:
(a) By locating the person to be served at the premises to tender a copy of the process and accompanying documents to that person;
(b) By leaving a copy of the summons, complaint, document, or other process with a person of suitable age and discretion found at the premises if the person to be served cannot be found at the time the person making service attempts to serve the summons pursuant to division (D)(2)(a) of this section;
(c) By posting a copy in a conspicuous place on the subject premises if service cannot be made pursuant to divisions (D)(2)(a) and (b) of this section.
(3) Within five days after receiving the summons, complaint, document, or other process from the clerk for service, the person making service shall return the process to the clerk. The person shall indicate on the process which method described in division (D)(2) of this section was used to serve the summons. The clerk shall make the appropriate entry on the appearance docket.
(E) If requested, the clerk shall mail by certified mail, return receipt requested, a copy of the summons, complaint, document, or other process to be served to the address set forth in the caption of the summons and to any address set forth in any written instructions furnished to the clerk.
(F) Service of process shall be deemed complete on the date that any of the following has occurred:
(1) Service is made pursuant to division (D)(2)(a) or (b) of this section.
(2) Both ordinary mail service under division (C) and service by posting pursuant to division (D)(2)(c) of this section have been made.
(3) For service performed pursuant to division (E) of this section, on the date of mailing, if on the date of the hearing either of the following applies:
(a) The certified mail has not been returned for any reason other than refused or unclaimed.
(b) The certified mail has not been endorsed, and the ordinary mail has not been returned.
(1) The claim for restitution of the premises shall be scheduled for hearing in accordance with local court rules, but in no event sooner than the seventh day from the date service is complete.
(2) Answer day for any other claims filed with the claim for possession shall be twenty-eight days from the date service is deemed complete under this section. Title 19, § 1923.06
Defenses and counterclaims.
(A) Any defense in an action under this chapter may be asserted at trial.
(B) In an action for possession of residential premises based upon nonpayment of the rent or in an action for rent when the tenant or manufactured home park resident is in possession, the tenant or resident may counterclaim for any amount he may recover under the rental agreement or under Chapter 3733. or 5321. of the Revised Code. In that event, the court from time to time may order the tenant or resident to pay into court all or part of the past due rent and rent becoming due during the pendency of the action. After trial and judgment, the party to whom a net judgment is owed shall be paid first from the money paid into court, and any balance shall be satisfied as any other judgment. If no rent remains due after application of this division, judgment shall be entered for the tenant or resident in the action for possession. If the tenant or resident has paid into court an amount greater than that necessary to satisfy a judgment obtained by the landlord, the balance shall be returned by the court to the tenant or resident. Title 19, [§ 1923.06.1] § 1923.061
Proceedings if defendant fails to appear.
If the defendant does not appear in action under this chapter and the summons was properly served, the court shall try the cause as though the defendant were present. Title 19, § 1923.07
Continuance and bond.
No continuance in an action under this chapter shall be granted for a period longer than eight days, unless the plaintiff applies for the continuance and the defendant consents to it, or unless the defendant applies for the continuance and gives a bond to the plaintiff, with good and sufficient surety, that is approved by the court and conditioned for the payment of rent that may accrue, if judgment is rendered against the defendant. Title 19, § 1923.08
Joinder of causes of action.
A trial in an action for forcible entry and detainer for residential premises, or for a storage space at a self-service storage facility, as defined in division (A) of section 5322.01 of the Revised Code, pursuant to this chapter may also include a trial on claims of the plaintiff for past due rent and other damages under a rental agreement, unless for good cause shown the court continues the trial on those claims. For purposes of this section, good cause includes the request of the defendant to file an answer or counterclaim to the claims of the plaintiff or for discovery, in which case the proceedings shall be the same in all respects as in other civil cases. If, at the time of the trial, the defendant has filed an answer or counterclaim, the trial may proceed on the claims of the plaintiff and the defendant. Title 19, [§ 1923.08.1] § 1923.081
Suit tried by county court judge.
If an action under this chapter is not continued, the place of trial is not changed, and neither party demands a jury on the return day of the summons, a judge of the court shall try the cause. After hearing the evidence, if he concludes that the complaint is not true, he shall enter judgment against the plaintiff for costs. If he finds the complaint to be true, he shall render a general judgment against the defendant, in favor of the plaintiff, for restitution of the premises and costs of suit. If the judge finds the complaint true in part, he shall render a judgment for restitution of such part only, and the cost shall be taxed as he deems just.
Trial by jury.
If a jury is demanded by either party in an action under this chapter, until the impaneling of the jury, the proceedings shall be in all respects as in other cases. The jury shall be sworn to try and determine whether the complaint, naming the plaintiff, about to be presented to them, is true according to the evidence. If the jury finds that the complaint is true, it shall render a general verdict against the defendant. If the jury finds that the complaint is not true, it shall render a general verdict in favor of the defendant. If the jury finds that the complaint is true in part, it shall render a verdict setting forth the facts that it finds are true. Title 19, § 1923.10
Fee of jury.
In actions under this chapter before a county court, a party demanding a jury shall first deposit money with the court sufficient to pay the jury fee. Title 19, [§ 1923.10.1] § 1923.101
Entry and judgment.
The court shall enter the verdict rendered by a jury under section 1923.10 of the Revised Code upon the docket, and render judgment in the action as if the facts, authorizing the finding of such verdict, had been found by the court itself. Title 19, § 1923.11
Repealed, 141 v H 158, § 2 [RS § 6610; S&S 415; S&C 794; 63 v 148, § 136; GC § 10459; 116 v 104(125), § 2; Bureau of Code Revision, 10-1-53; 127 v 1039(1088)]. Eff 3-17-87.
This section concerned exceptions to opinions of judge of county court in certain actions.
When a judgment of restitution is entered by a court in an action under this chapter, at the request of the plaintiff or his agent or attorney, that court shall issue a writ of execution on the judgment, in the following form, as near as practicable:
The state of Ohio, . . . . . . . county: To any constable or police officer of . . . . . . township, city, or village; or to the sheriff of . . . . . . . . . . county; or to any authorized bailiff of the . . . . . . . . . . . .: (Name of court)
Whereas, in a certain action for the forcible entry and detention (or the forcible detention, as the case may be), of the following described premises, to wit: . . . . . ., lately tried before this court, wherein . . . . . . . . was plaintiff, and . . . . . was defendant, . . . . . . . judgment was rendered on the . . . . day of . . . . . ., . . . . . ., that the plaintiff have restitution of those premises; and also that he recover costs in the sum of . . . . . . . You therefore are hereby commanded to cause the defendant to be forthwith removed from those premises, and the plaintiff to have restitution of them; also, that you levy of the goods and chattels of the defendant, and make the costs previously mentioned and all accruing costs, and of this writ make legal service and due return.
Witness my hand, this . . . . day of . . ., A.D. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Judge, . . . (Name of court). Title 19, § 1923.13
Writ of execution enforced.
Except as otherwise provided in this section, within ten days after receiving the writ of execution described in section 1923.13 of the Revised Code, the sheriff, police officer, constable, or bailiff shall execute it by restoring the plaintiff to the possession of the premises, and shall levy and collect the costs and make return, as upon other executions. If an appeal from the judgment of restitution is filed and if, following the filing of the appeal, a stay of execution is obtained and any required bond is filed with the court of common pleas, municipal court, or county court, the judge of that court immediately shall issue his order to the sheriff, police officer, constable, or bailiff commanding him to delay all further proceedings upon the execution. If the premises have been restored to the plaintiff, the sheriff, police officer, constable, or bailiff shall forthwith place the defendant in possession of them, and return the writ with his proceedings and the costs taxed thereon. Title 19, § 1923.14
Inspection of premises; correcting conditions.
During any proceeding involving residential premises under this chapter, the court may order an appropriate governmental agency to inspect the residential premises. If the agency determines and the court finds conditions which constitute a violation of section 3733.10 or 5321.04 of the Revised Code, and if the premises have been vacated or are to be restored to the landlord, the court may issue an order forbidding the re-rental of the property until such conditions are corrected. If the agency determines and the court finds such conditions, and if the court finds that the tenant or manufactured home park resident may remain in possession, the court may order such conditions corrected. If such conditions have been caused by the tenant or resident, the court may award damages to the landlord equal to the reasonable cost of correcting such conditions. Title 19, § 1923.15