If a landlord fails to comply with § 5321.04 of the Ohio Revised Code, “Obligations of Landlord”, or fails to fulfill any obligation imposed upon him by the rental agreement, and if the conditions of the residential premises are such that the tenant reasonably believes that a landlord has failed to fulfill any such obligation, or if a governmental agency has found that the premises are not in compliance with building, housing, health, or safety codes that apply to any condition of the premises that could materially affect the health and safety of an occupant, the tenant may take the following steps to deposit their rent in escrow.
The tenant must give notice in writing to the landlord, specifying the wrongful acts, omissions or code violations that constitute noncompliance. The notice shall be dated and sent to the person or place where rent is normally paid and state that if repairs are not made, rent will be deposited with the court.
If the landlord fails to remedy the condition within a reasonable time considering the severity of the condition and the time necessary to remedy it, or within thirty (30) days, whichever is sooner, and if the tenant is current in rent payments due under the rental agreement, the tenant may deposit all rent that is due and thereafter becomes due the landlord with the clerk of the municipal or county court having jurisdiction in the territory in which the residential premises are located, plus 1% of the rent due, which shall be taxed as court costs. A copy of the written notice must be filed with the clerk when the application to deposit rent is filed.
The clerk in turn will send a “Notice to Landlord” notifying them of the rent escrow action. The landlord will need to file a motion to release rent or a motion for hearing on the rent escrow. The matter will be set for hearing before the Judge. All parties will be notified in writing of the hearing date and time. Until then, all rent must be paid by the due date to the clerk.
Applications to deposit rent are available at the Clerk’s Office.