In Ohio and countrywide, landlords need to adhere to federal, state, city laws and their own property rules when leasing to tenants. The landlord's responsibility is to create and preserve a safe and welcoming environment in exchange for rent. From the tenants' perspective, there are non-negotiable rights with which both parties need to be familiar.

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Do I need to have a rental agreement in place?

Based on Landlord and Tenant law in Ohio, Ohio Revised Code section 5321, a lease agreement needs to be in place, either written or oral.

It must include:

  1. Property owner’s name
  2. Property owner’s address

It may include:

  1. Terms regarding rent amount
  2. Duration of the agreement
  3. Any other provisions governing the rights and obligations of both landlord and tenant.

What are the security deposit laws in Ohio?

  • You are not required to collect a security deposit.
  • If you collect a security deposit, you are not obligated to provide a receipt.
  • If the deposit is over $50 or one month’s rent, the one greater, you must place it in an account that accrues interest - five percent interest a year. It’s the landlord's responsibility to pay the tenant’s interest annually.
  • You must return the deposit within 30 days of the tenants' move out.
  • There is no limit to the amount of a security deposit, but most are between 1-2 months of rent.

What are the termination and eviction laws?

You must provide the tenant with at least a three-day written notice for eviction. If the eviction is due to a material breach of the lease, the tenant's right is at least 30 days to fix the issue to be evicted.


  • For a 12 months lease, a fixed-term lease, the lease agreement terminates at the end of the term, but the landlord and tenant can include a clause that automatically renews at the end of the term, unless otherwise stated.
  • For short-term leases, month-to-month - a periodic lease, the lease automatically renews unless the landlord or tenant states otherwise. Both parties must provide the other a month's notice before termination.

You may evict a tenant for:

  • Not paying rent
  • Drugs on-premises
  • Intentional damage to the facility
  • Lease breach
  • Allowing a sex offender to stay at the apartment less than 1000 feet from a school

Rent and payment laws

Can I charge late fees for rent payments?

  • You, the landlord, can charge a late fee a day after the rent is due.
  • Late fees cannot accrue interest, and multiple late fees cannot be applied to one missed rent payment.
  • Landlords can charge up to 5% of the monthly rent, up to a $25 limit.

Does Ohio allow rent control?

  • The only Ohio rent regulation is the case of month-to-month agreements, where landlords need to give a 30-day notice before increasing the rent. Landlords cannot raise the rent during the lease term.


  • The landlord can decide if pets are allowed or not. If a tenant requires a service animal, the landlord must make accommodations for it.

Can I access the property at any time?

  • You must notify a tenant 24 hours before accessing the apartment for inspection, repairs, improvements, and prospective purchaser showings. You may enter with the tenants' approval.

Do I need to rekey (change locks) between tenants?

  • No. There are no laws requiring rekeying, but it is recommended.

The tenant’s rights

Is there anything I can’t require my tenants to do?

  • Landlords cannot require tenants to include or sign a waiver for the tenant's right to go to court for any debt owed
  • Require tenants to pay the landlord's legal fees for any dispute based on the lease agreement
  • Include a waiver for the landlord's release of the property's safety and sanitation.

What do I need to disclose to my tenants?

  • In Ohio, If the property was built before 1978, you must let your tenant know the presence of lead-based paint or paint hazards before the lease signature.
  • A landlord must identify anyone else who is authorized to act on their behalf regarding the tenant-landlord interaction.
  • In the lease agreement, the landlord needs to state the full and exact term of the lease

Protect your property with landlord insurance

Landlord insurance may cover multiple scenarios and can be tailored for your property needs:

  • Liability coverage if a tenant becomes injured on your property
  • Property damage
  • Loss of rental income

Can I buy Honeycomb landlord insurance in Ohio?

Yes. Honeycomb provides prompt and fully customizable landlord insurance in Ohio.

It covers

  • Landlord property protection for damage repair from fire, lightning, wind, hail, vandalism, electric or gas failures, or tenant-caused issues.
  • Landlord liability protection helps pay landlord expenses if found responsible when someone becomes injured on your property, if you are responsible for another property’s damage, and legal defense costs and court decisions.