Evictions are a serious matter for tenants, and the law in Ohio includes several safeguards against unjust evictions. No matter what the circumstances of an eviction are, you are entitled to advance notice of your landlord's intentions. You are also entitled to a court hearing in which a judge will make the final decision as to whether you are evicted or not. Finally, you have the right to remain in your home until the sheriff enforces an eviction: your landlord cannot remove you, or your belongings, from your home until the sheriff arrives.
If you have a lease, your landlord cannot have you evicted unless she has grounds to do so. Grounds include failure to pay rent, serious lease violations, making untrue complaints about the property to the housing authorities, and damaging the property.
Before he can file for eviction, your landlord must provide you with written notice of his intentions. The type of notice required depends on your circumstances: If you don't have a lease and your rental agreement renews on a month-to-month basis, your landlord must give you 30 days notice if she chooses not to renew the agreement. If you are on a week-to-week rental agreement, only a seven-day notice is required.
If you are behind on the rent, the landlord must give you a written three-day notice to vacate your home. If the problem is one of cleanliness or damage to the property, the landlord must provide you with a written notice that describes the problematic conditions and that gives you 30-days to correct the problem. If the problems are not corrected, the landlord must give you a three-day notice prior to filing an eviction.
At the court hearing, you have the right to tell the judge your side of the story. You should come to court with receipts and other documentation if you believe that your landlord does not have grounds to evict you. If the landlord wins his eviction case, a second hearing will be held to determine if you owe the landlord any money. At this time you can file a counterclaim against the landlord for any money that you believe that the landlord owes you, such as your security deposit.
Your landlord cannot physically evict you from the property, even if she has won her eviction case against you. The only person who can remove you, and your belongings, from your home is the sheriff. Your landlord cannot shut off your utilities, change your locks, or take any of your possessions as a way of forcing you from your home before the sheriff actually enforces the eviction.
Some counties in Ohio offer mediation services for landlords and tenants. If your landlord is willing to agree to mediation, you may be able to work out your differences with a mediator and not have to go to court. You may not be able to keep your home, but because mediation is not a court process, there will be no eviction listed on your tenant screening report.
Lainie Petersen writes about business, real estate and personal finance, drawing on 25 years experience in publishing and education. Petersen's work appears in Money Crashers, Selling to the Masses, and in Walmart News Now, a blog for Walmart suppliers. She holds a master's degree in library science from Dominican University.