Answer and Counterclaim: Second cause eviction

If your eviction summons says “second cause” on it, your landlord is suing you for money. You must file an "answer." Otherwise, the court might give your landlord the right to collect money from you. File an answer with a counterclaim if you think your landlord owes you money. Be prepared to state why.

You have 28 days from the day you receive the summons to file an answer and counterclaim. An answer is a written response to your landlord’s claim that you owe them money. You can use the template below to create your answer and counterclaim.

Your answer must be filed at the Clerk of Court’s office. You also have to send a copy to the landlord or the landlord’s lawyer, if they have one.

A note on COVID-19: On March 27, 2020, the Supreme Court of Ohio issued an order that "tolls" the time requirements for filings and other court deadlines. As the Court explains,"tolling serves to effectively freeze time from...March 9, 2020 until the expiration of the order. " For example, if you had a answer filing deadline on March 19th (10 days after March 9th), your new deadline is now 10 days after the Court's order expires. The order will expire either on 1) the date the Governor lifts the state of emergency; or 2) July 30, 2020, whichever comes first.  

However, a local court can still require you to file within the original deadlines. That means that you need to check the court docket for your case to see if the court has placed an order on your case requiring filing within the initial deadline. To find the online docket for your case go to the court or clerk's website. You can find contact and website information for your local courts on this page, under "Local Government and Community Resources."

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