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The basics of eviction

A landlord may bring an eviction action against a tenant when the tenant has:

  • failed to pay rent on time
  • occupied the unit after the termination or expiration of the rental agreement.
To bring an eviction action, the landlord must first serve a 3-day notice to vacate the premises in person, by mail, or at the premises. If the tenant does not move within the 3-day period, then the landlord must file an action in Forcible Entry and Detainer at the court in the city where the property is located. The Court will schedule a hearing and the tenant will receive a summons and complaint at least 5 days before the hearing.
At the hearing, the landlord and tenant will present evidence in support and defense of the eviction action. A tenant may offer a defense of bad conditions and counterclaim at the eviction hearing. If an eviction is ordered, the landlord will make arrangements with the Court to have the tenant's belongings removed from the unit if the tenant does not move.
Local procedures vary, check with your court or an attorney for specific information about eviction.

Eviction: Second Cause of Action
At the time of eviction, the landlord may also file a "second cause of action" to recover money damages. The tenant may answer the claim for money within 28 days of receiving the complaint in the mail. If a tenant fails to answer the complaint, the Court may issue a default judgement in the landlord's favor without holding a hearing. A default judgement will stop the tenant from later objecting to a landlord's claim.

Whether or not a tenant's right to occupy a residential unit has ended, a landlord may not:

  • Shut off utilities
  • Change the locks to force the tenant from the unit
  • Seize the tenant's possessions to recover unpaid rent

If being evicted and landlord retaliation is suspected, the tenant may: use the retaliation of the landlord as a defense in an eviction; bring a civil lawsuit against the landlord when a landlord uses a self-help eviction or acts of retaliation; sue for damages and attorney fees; terminate the rental agreement or lease contract.


The information provided should be used only as a resource and not substituted as legal advice.
You are welcome and encouraged to bookmark or print out this resource for future reference.

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Compiled from these sources
Cleveland Tenants Organization
30 Superior Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115
(216) 621-0540

Off Campus Student Services
342 Ohio Union
1739 N. High Street
Columbus, OH 43210
Phone (614)292-0100
Fax (614)292-4786

The Center for Student Advocacy
8 North Court Street, Suite 413
Athens, Ohio 45701
(740) 594-8093
Fax: (740) 592-1495
e-mail: csa@frognet.net


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