With that in mind, here are some of the most important legal responsibilities for landlords in Ohio.
Provide Habitable Housing
Under the doctrine of implied warranty of habitability, landlords are legally responsible for keeping rental properties habitable. The implied warranty of habitability is present in nearly every state, regardless of how much tenants pay for rent.
Tenants are entitled to basic maintenance that keeps the property in a habitable state. For instance, the property should have a roof to protect against the weather. If your rental property needs repairs, be sure to contact a roofing contractor in Ohio as soon as possible to avoid potential lawsuits. In addition, the property should have walls and floors that aren’t at risk of collapsing, and should be free of mold and asbestos.
Tenants facing inhabitable conditions have the ability to refuse rent payments, deduct the cost of repairs from rent, initiate a lawsuit, or break the lease without incurring legal liability.
Know State Rent Laws
Ohio has state-specific laws that outline how to deal with tenants who haven’t paid rent. While all landlords expect tenants to pay rent on time, it’s important to follow the state-specific rules and procedures.
Ohio state law regulates issues related to rent, including how much time a tenant has to pay rent or move before a landlord has the option of filing for eviction. However, there’s no state law limitation governing how much landlords can charge for late fees or grace periods.
Prepare a Written Lease Agreement
When preparing a written lease agreements, landlords must comply with state statutes governing landlord-tenant law. Although most issues are regulated by statutes, others are not restricted. For instance, a notice to terminate tenancy under a month-to-month lease requires a 30-day notice, while a notice of termination with 24 hours’ notice is not regulated by statute. Keep in mind that state laws and statutes are always changing, so it’s important to conduct research before preparing a written lease.
In Ohio, all tenants are entitled to quiet enjoyment of their rental. While a landlord possesses the legal right to enter a unit for specific reasons, the landlord must provide the tenant with a minimum of 24 hours’ notice before entry. Also, landlords can only enter the unit at reasonable times, generally considered to be during normal business hours.
Landlords can enter the rental unit to inspect the property, make necessary repairs, or to provide agreed services. They can also enter to deliver packages to tenants that are too large for the mailbox, or to show the unit to prospective tenants. In emergencies, such as flooding, a landlord is not required to provide 24 hours’ notice.
All tenants are entitled to fair housing under Federal Fair Housing laws. In addition to federal laws, Ohio also has a state Fair Housing law. Under Federal Fair Housing laws, landlords are restricted from discriminating based on color, disability, familial status, national origin, race, religion, or sex. Ohio’s housing laws also protect against discrimination based on ancestry and military status.
All in all, Ohio landlords should take steps to ensure that their practices are in compliance with state and federal housing regulations. Enlisting the help of a housing attorney and using free property management software are great ways stay out of potential legal trouble, avoid legal fees, and maintain credibility as a landlord.
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