Housing

Filing an application for rent escrow

You can use an Ohio law to force your landlord to make repairs. It's called rent escrow. Here are the steps and information you need to get started.

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Understanding the Basics

See what you need to know to take action.

If your landlord is not making required repairs you can use an Ohio law to protect yourself and your home. It’s called rent escrow. What it means is that you pay your rent to the court, instead of your landlord, until the repairs are made.

To qualify for rent escrow, you need to do these things first:

  • Write a letter to your landlord detailing the repairs that are needed. Use this template to send a formal letter requesting repairs, if you haven’t yet.
  • Wait a reasonable amount of time. Usually, you need to give your landlord up to 30 days to make the repair. But it could be less if the problem is serious, like no heat in the middle of winter.
  • Be current in rent. If you are not current in rent, you must get current in rent before you start the court rent escrow process. 

If you meet all three requirements, you are ready to file your rent escrow application.

How to file a rent escrow application

  • Call your municipal court. Tell them that you'd like to fill out a rent escrow application. Ask about:
    • Their process. It could be different, depending on where you live.
    • What you need to bring. Usually it will be a copy of the letter you sent and your rent.
    • What forms of payment they accept for rent. Courts usually accept cash and money orders. 
  • Fill out the rent escrow application. Go to the municipal court two to three business days before your rent is due. Fill out the rent escrow application and pay your rent to the court. The court will let your landlord know that your rent is now being held in escrow.
  • Keep paying your rent to the court. You must pay your rent on time and in full each month to continue using Ohio's rent escrow law.

What happens next?

If the court schedules mediation, go to your mediation appointment at the scheduled day and time. Mediation is a chance for you and your landlord to sit down, talk and come to an agreement without going in front of a judge. Learn more about how mediation works and how to prepare for a mediation.

If your landlord makes the repairs, you can go to the court and sign a release form. This will allow the court to release your rent money to your landlord. 

If your landlord has not made repairs within 30 days, you can file a motion to take your landlord to court. Learn more about what to expect at a rent escrow hearing.

Forms and Letters

Find forms and letters that you can fill out yourself.

Local Government and Community Resources

Find courts and helpful resources in your community.