You may have heard people in Ohio talk about how you can withhold paying your rent if your landlord is doing something wrong. This is kind of true, but it is not as simple as not paying your rent. There is a legal process required. The Franklin County Municipal Court explains it is through the rent escrow program that you may be able to withhold your rent legally, but there are conditions.

To begin with, you can only use the escrow program to withhold your rent if your landlord is not making repairs required by law. Before you can use escrow, you need to communicate with your landlord. You must give him or her a written notice that explains the repairs needed and that the repairs must be done within 30 days or in the case of an emergency, within five days. In addition, the notice must explain that you will put the money in escrow if repairs are not made. Make sure you sign and date it and keep a copy. You should give it to your landlord through certified mail or in person with a witness.

You can also contact the code enforcement agency or health department if you feel the issues with your rental pose a health or safety issue or violate local codes. These agencies will do an inspection and write a report that you may also retain as proof of the issue.

You must wait the whole 30 days after you give notice before you can seek the court’s assistance and use the escrow program. At that time, you can go to the Rent Escrow Department and put the rent in escrow. You will file an application at that time explaining the situation which a copy of will go to your landlord.

You must follow these steps and ensure you pay any rent due in the meantime to be able to take advantage of the escrow program. This information is for education and is not legal advice.