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What Every Landlord Should Know… Landlord-Tenant Issues Ruben E. Pope III Cleveland Housing Court Magistrate
Synopsis of Course Landlords Duties and Responsibilities Tenants Duties and Responsibilities Eviction Procedures Screening Tenants Nuisance Rules and Regulations Criminal Rules
Are you sure you want to be a Landlord?
Definition of a Landlord A person or organization that owns and leases apartments to others. With this contract the one party, which has superior title to the property, i.e. The Landlord, grants possession and use of it for a limited period to the other party, i.e. The Tenant. The landlord may not be the actual owner of the property, but keeping in some way the right to lease.
What Every Landlord Should Know Rental applications Background checks Felony checks Prior Evictions Helpful Hints
Rental Application Necessity of the application What the application should include Names Dates of birth Social Security numbers Previous residences
The Rental Application Specific Application Questions Have you ever been arrested on a felony? Have you ever been convicted of a felony? Have you ever been filed upon for eviction? Have you ever been evicted? Have you ever been convicted of a DUI or disorderly conduct? Have you ever been convicted of a drug-related crime?
Landlord Duties R.C.§5321.04 The Landlord must: Make repairs to keep the building fit and livable; Keep the premises safe and sanitary by obeying local Housing and Safety Codes; Keep the hallways, stairs and other common areas safe and clean; Keep all electrical, plumbing, heating and ventilation systems and fixtures in good working order;
Landlord Duties R.C.§5321.04 Keep appliances, supplied by the Landlord, in safe working order; Supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water and heat*; Supply garbage cans and arrange for pick-up, if there are four or more units in the building; Must enter a tenants unit only at a reasonable time after giving 24-hour notice;
Tenant Duties R.C.§5321.05 The Tenant must: Pay the rent on time; Keep the premises safe and sanitary; Dispose of rubbish and garbage in a proper manner; Keep the plumbing fixtures as clean as their condition permits; Use electrical and plumbing fixtures properly; Not damage the premises;
Tenant Duties R.C.§5321.05 Maintain landlord-supplied appliances in good working order; Conduct themselves and require their guests to conduct themselves in a manner that doesnt disturb the neighbors; Must permit the landlord to enter the dwelling after reasonable notice; Notify the Landlord when there is a problem or if something doesnt work and its the Landlords duty to fix it.
Rent Deposits R.C.§5321.07 What happens when a Landlord fails to maintain his/her Property?
Rent Deposits R.C.§5321.07 Tenant must: Notify the Landlord of the problem in writing Allow a reasonable time for the Landlord to fix the problem. Be current with the rent
Rent Deposits R.C.§5321.07 If the Landlord does not fix the problem, the Tenant may: Deposit rent with the Clerk of Courts Apply to the Court for an order to: reduce the monthly rent use the money deposited to fix the property Terminate the rental agreement
Rent Deposits R.C.§5321.09 Landlord remedies to a Tenants Rent Depositing Apply to the Clerk of Courts on the grounds that the problem has been remedied. (Tenant must sign over the money)
Rent Deposits R.C.§5321.09 Apply to the Court for the release of the funds on the ground that : The tenant did not provide proper notice No violation ever existed
Termination of Agreement R.C.§5321.11 What happens if the Tenant fails to fulfill his/her obligations?
Termination of Agreement R.C.§5321.11 Landlord must: Notify the Tenant of the problem in writing Notify the Tenant that the agreement will terminate as of a specific date (not less than 30 days)
Eviction Procedure R.C.§1923 Landlord must serve a notice to vacate the premises at least three (3) days before filing a Complaint in Court
Eviction Procedure R.C.§1923 The notice must contain the following language in a conspicuous manner: You are being asked to leave the premises. If you do not leave, an eviction action may be initiated against you. If you are in doubt regarding your legal rights and obligations as a tenant, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance.
Eviction Procedure R.C.§1923 File a Complaint with the Court Must prove case by a preponderance of the Evidence through: Testimony (Self/Witness) Records (Receipt Book, Lease, etc.)
Eviction Procedure R.C.§1923 Tenant may present any and all defenses at the hearing
Security Deposits R.C.§5321.16 Security Deposits, Interest and Forfeiture Procedures
Definition R.C.§5321.01(E) Any Deposit of money or property to secure performance by the Tenant under a Rental Agreement
R.C.§5321.16(A) INTEREST DUE IF: Amount paid is in excess of the greater of: $50.00 One Months Rent and Tenant in Possession for more than six months Must be computed and paid annually
ORC §5321.16(B) Upon Termination of tenancy Security Deposit may be: Applied to any Back Rent owed Applied to any Damages done to the Property
Security Deposits Landlord Must (should?): Provide written notice: Itemization of any deduction from Security Deposit Within thirty days after Termination of tenancy and Delivery of Possession of Property
Security Deposits The Tenant must (should?) provide the landlord with written notice of a : Forwarding Address New Address Failure to provide disqualifies the Tenant from receiving double damages and Attorney Fees
R.C.§5321.16(C) Landlord fails to provide written notice Tenant may recover Monies and Property due Damages in the amount equal to the amount wrongfully withheld (Double Damages) Reasonable Attorney Fees
Leading Cases Vardeman v. Llewellyn (1985) 17 Ohio St. 3d 24, 476 N. E. 2d 1038, 17 O. B. R. 20 Smith v Padgett (1987) 32 Ohio St. 3d 344, 513 N. E. 2d 737
Vardeman v Llewellyn (1985) 17 Ohio St. 3d 24 The amount wrongfully withheld includes only the amount owing in excess of the deductions that could have been taken.
Smith v. Padgett (1987) 32 Ohio St. 3d 344 Landlord who wrongfully withholds a portion of a Tenants Security Deposit is liable for damages equal to twice the amount wrongfully withheld and reasonable Attorney Fees even if an itemized list is provided.
Terms Barred From Leases No lease change modifying R.C.5321 No warrant of attorney No agreement to pay attorneys fees No exculpation clause No escape from R.C.5321.04 Landlord Duties No unconscionable agreements No Self-Help
Typical Landlord Problems Surprise! The rest of the family moves in The destructive tenant The non-paying tenant The tenant who gets hurt The tenant who abandons property
Typical Landlord Problems Surprise! The rest of the family arrives
Typical Landlord Problems The Destructive Tenant
Typical Landlord Problems The Non-Paying Tenant
Typical Landlord Problems The tenant who gets hurt
Typical Landlord Problems The tenant who abandons property
Questions & Answers www.clevelandhousingcourt.org
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