A lease agreement in Ohio is a legally binding contract used to define the rights and obligations of the landlord (lessor) and the tenant (lessee).
The main reasons landlord and tenant choose to make a written lease agreement are to protect their rights and to be able to start legal action for noncompliance with the contract terms. Therefore, the landlord wants to protect their right to claim the rent, while the tenant wants to protect their right to access and use the leased property without being disturbed.
The first step before the lease agreement drafting even starts is for the prospective tenant to submit the rental application.
The rental application contains all the information about the tenant, their credit report, and references from previous landlords. The landlord then reviews the application and, if everything's in order, starts the lease agreement drafting process.
Ohio Lease Agreement Required Disclosures
Every lease agreement in Ohio must contain a few disclosures that are declared mandatory by federal and state law, such as:
Lead-based paint disclosure. As required by federal law, the landlord must inform the tenant if there is a lead-based paint hazard at the property. This disclosure is declared mandatory for any property built before 1978 or with a known presence of lead-based paint.
Owner information disclosure. The person signing the lease agreement as the landlord must provide the name and address of the leased property owner. This information must be included in the lease agreement so the tenant can send notices and make requests. Ohio Rev Code § 5321.18 (2021)
Ohio Lease Agreement Optional Disclosures
The landlord and the tenant often choose to include some additional disclosures in the lease agreement, more precisely:
Asbestos disclosure. This disclosure shall be included for any property built before 1981 or if there is a known presence of asbestos at the property. The landlord shall also inform the tenant about safe ways of using the property without disturbing the asbestos fibers.
Move-in checklist. This disclosure contains the list of the items at their property and any damages present before the tenant moves in. It prevents any damage disputes when the tenant moves out.
Smoking disclosure. The landlord can allow or prohibit smoking at the leased property or inform the tenant about the designated areas where smoking is allowed.
Consequences of Non-Disclosure
If the health and safety risks aren't disclosed in the lease agreement, the landlord could be held legally responsible. The tenant can file a civil lawsuit against the landlord for any damages caused by the non-disclosed hazards.
The landlord can also face criminal charges or pay misdemeanor penalties. If the landlord fails to include the lead-based paint disclosure in the lease agreement, they can be penalized up to $19,507. (24 CFR § 30.65)
Ohio Lease Agreement Security Deposits
Security Deposit Maximum
The state of Ohio doesn’t provide any limit on the security deposit amount.
However, the state law provides that the bank or the landlord must pay the 5% interest on the security deposit if:
Security Deposit Maximum
The security deposit is more than $50 or one month’s rent.
The tenant stays at the leased property for longer than 6 months.
Security Deposit Return
The landlord must return the security deposit or any remaining amount to the tenant within 30 days of the lease agreement's termination.
The landlord can make deductions from the security deposit for any unpaid rent or damages caused by the tenant. However, all deductions must be listed by the landlord and sent together with the remaining deposit.
For any security deposit amount wrongfully held, the landlord must pay additional attorney fees to the tenant.
When is Rent Due in Ohio? (Grace Period)
The state of Ohio doesn’t provide a grace period for the rent payment. So, the date that the rent is due is the one that the landlord and the tenant agree on in the lease.
If the tenant doesn’t pay the rent by the due date, the landlord can start charging a late fee. The landlord can also start the eviction procedure after sending the tenant a 3-day notice to pay or quit.
Ohio Rent Late Fees
There is no late fee limitation set in the Ohio state legislature. However, a few court decisions set the guidelines for late fees in Ohio.
In Neubauer v. Patzkowsky (1992), the court took the stance that the late fee cannot be accessed in cases of oral contracts between the landlord and the tenant.
The state court has also established that the late fee should be “reasonable in proportion to the rental rate” (Calabria v. Green, (1995) and later determined in Wadsworth v. Starcher, (1998) that the late fee of $100 is considered reasonable.
Ohio NSF Checks
The landlord can charge the check amount plus an NSF fee if the rent payment check is returned. (§ 1319.16(A))
The NSF fee cannot be more than $30 or 10% of the check amount, whichever is greater.
Ohio Landlord’s Right to Enter
The Ohio state law provides that the landlord can access the leased unit only after providing a 24-hour notice to the tenant.
It also provided that the landlord could access the property only at reasonable times without providing the details of the reasonable time. In practice, however, the reasonable time for a landlord visit is between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Ohio Lease Agreement FAQ
Yes, the Ohio lease agreement is a legally binding document.
For a written lease agreement to be valid and legally binding, both contracting parties must sign it. If one of the parties didn’t sign the lease agreement, it might still be valid if the parties continue fulfilling their obligations under the lease agreement.
The lease agreement for a property in Ohio should follow the outline below:
Names, addresses, and other details about the contractual parties
Information about the leased unit
Rent amount and rent payment due date
Security deposit disclosure
Late and non-refundable fees disclosure
Other mandatory disclosures provided by federal and state law
Rights and duties of the contractual parties
Terms for lease agreement termination
Date and place of the contract signature
Signatures of contractual parties
The best way to get an Ohio lease agreement that is in accordance with all the federal and state laws and regulations is to download one of the Ohio lease agreement templates available on our website.
Depending on the lease duration and type, you can choose from various lease agreements.
After you sign the lease agreement, you should thoroughly inspect the property and sign the move-in form.
By inspecting the leased property, you make sure no items or furnishings are damaged or need cleaning.
If everything is in order, the landlord and the tenant sign the check-in form, which contains a description of all the items and the property's general condition. The landlord and the tenant then compare this form to the property's condition after the lease is over.