Whether you are renting an apartment in a large complex or a single-family home, Ohio state laws protect you as a tenant. Both landlords and tenants are responsible for understanding their rights and responsibilities under these statutes.
Knowing your rights as a tenant means that you can seek legal protection when someone violates these rights. Be aware of these four key provisions.
- Return of security deposit
The landlord must return the tenant’s security deposit at the end of the lease term. However, the landlord can make deductions from the deposit amount for unpaid rent or late fees, damages or outstanding utility bills. The landlord must itemize these deductions and provide them to the tenant in writing.
Ohio does not place a cap on the required security deposit amount. However, tenants can earn interest on the security deposit when it is held for the landlord for longer than six months.
- Right to habitability
The landlord is responsible for making repairs as needed so the property remains habitable. Heating, hot water and plumbing systems must be in good working order and the property must adhere to all local safety and health codes. Tenants may withhold rent if the property is not habitable and the landlord refuses to make repairs.
- Protection from housing discrimination
Ohio landlords may not discriminate against current or prospective tenants based on sex, religion, race, nationality, color, family status or disability. This means that the landlord cannot refuse to rent a property or establish different lease terms such as higher rent or a larger security deposit based on these factors.
- Protection from retaliation
It is against the law for the landlord to retaliate against the tenant for reporting issues with the lease or property to the appropriate authorities. Prohibited forms of retaliation include refusing to make maintenance or repairs, engaging in harassment or intimidation and raising rent, among others.