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Landlords’ Legal Responsibilities in Ohio
Running a rental property business in Ohio requires a lot of legal responsibilities and ignorance of the laws can cost the landlord copious amounts of money as they will need to hire an attorney to defend them against the tenants’ complaints. To stay out of legal problems, landlords in Ohio need to observe a number of state laws.
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Before the landlord notifies the public about a vacant space, it is important that they understand fair housing laws and how to talk to and select their tenants without discrimination. The manner in which they advertise their space, questions they ask in the rental application or when interviewing possible tenants and how they deal with the tenants when they rent the space should be in accordance with the law. Failure to do this may result in expensive lawsuits. Ohio landlords are legally free to reject a rental application on the basis of bad credit history, negative reference from their previous landlord and other factors that make them a risk. However, this does not mean that the landlord can discriminate against the tenants due to their race, sex, origin, and family status, physical or mental disability. Discrimination ascribed to the above-mentioned tenets would be tantamount to violating the Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 (Yinger, 1998).
It comes without question that landlords would want their tenants to pay rent on time without a fight. Therefore, when a tenant fails to pay their rent and face eviction, the landlord has to be sure to follow the law. Ohio’s state law stipulates that a tenant is given three days before the landlord can move to court and file for eviction. To avoid legal problems, the landlord should meet state security deposit limits and know when the deposit must be returned to the tenant, which is thirty days after moving out for the state of Ohio. These security deposits and other deposit restrictions are a major cause of disputes between landlords and tenants (Russell, 2008).
In addition, the landlord should prepare a legal written lease or rental agreement. The rental agreement that the landlord and their tenants sign indicates the contractual basis of their relationship and contains important details like how long the tenants can occupy the premises and how much that will cost them. This contract also sets out all the rules and laws that the landlord and tenants must follow. The landlord must provide a 24-hour notice before showing up at the rental property for either repairs or sowing a prospective tenant. They should respect the tenants’ privacy and a clause in the agreement should indicate that the landlord has the right of entry (Russell, 2008).
In conclusion, landlords and tenants in the state of Ohio ought to familiarize themselves with both federal and state fair housing laws to avoid expensive legal suits that result from violating these laws.
- Russell, C. (2008). Fair Housing. Dearborn: Real Estate Education Company.
- Yinger, J. (1998). Closed Doors Opportunities Lost: the continuing cost of housing discrimination. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.