Eviction in Ohio

If you have received a three-day notice or notice to leave, you might have more timeand optionsthan you think. But you must take action to try to prevent eviction.

A note on COVID-19: On September 1, 2020, HHS and the CDC announced an order to temporarily halt evictions in the United States. The temporary halt or moratorium is effective September 4, 2020 through January 31, 2021 and applies to evictions for non-payment of rent. Get the forms you need and learn more about how to stop your eviction. 

This page was last updated on 12.27.20. 

Send this page to:

Understanding the Basics

See what you need to know to take action.

In Ohio, the eviction process can take four to six weeks. Your stuff won’t be set out on the curb tomorrow. Here's how the eviction process works in Ohio. 

If you live in subsidized housing or in a mobile home park you may have more legal rights. Learn more about what to do if you’re facing eviction from subsidized housing or from a mobile home park.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) changes

On September 1, 2020, HHS and the CDC announced an order to temporarily halt evictions in the United States. The temporary halt or moratorium is effective September 4, 2020 through January 31, 2021 and applies to evictions for non-payment of rent.

Eligibility for the moratorium

To be eligible for the moratorium you must be facing eviction for nonpayment of rent and you must declare that: 

  • You have used best efforts to to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing
  • You are income eligible. You qualify as income eligible if:
    • You expect to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return)
    • You were not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service
    • You received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) 
  • You are unable to pay your full rent or make a full housing payment due to:
    • Substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, lay-offs
    • Extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expense (greater than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) for the year)
  • You used best efforts to make timely partial rent payments as your circumstances might permit
  • You have no other available housing options and if you are evicted you would:
    • Likely become homeless
    • Need to move into a homeless shelter
    • Need to move into a new residence shared by other people who live in close quarters because you have no other available housing options

If you have had an eviction filed against you in court, you should file a declaration form with the court where your eviction case has been filed. You must also provide a copy to your landlord. If your landlord has filed against you in court, you will have received an official document called a "Summons and Complaint."

If your landlord has not filed for eviction with the court, but you are behind in rent, you should fill out the declaration form and send a copy to your landlord. Keep the original for your records. Do not file with the court if an eviction has not been filed against you.  

How to stop your court eviction

If you think you are eligible for the moratorium, and your landlord has filed an eviction against you in court, take these actions to stop your eviction: 

  • Download, fill out and sign the required declaration form. Make at least four copies. If you have already sent a declaration form to your landlord, file a copy of that declaration with the court, see the next steps for how. 
  • File the declaration form with the court where your eviction case has been filed. The clerk will time stamp the original and copies. The clerk will keep the original and give back the copies they don't need.
  • Next, you need to "serve" one of the copies on your landlord or your landlord's attorney. If you have enough time before your hearing, you can "serve" the form by sending it in the mail. If you are filing on the day of your hearing, you can hand it to your landlord or their lawyer before the hearing starts. 
  • Keep at least one time-stamped copy of your declaration form for your records.
  • Go to your eviction hearing. Please note that some courts in Ohio are automatically staying the eviction hearing until January if a tenant files the declaration. If your eviction hearing is stayed you will be notified. However, some courts are holding hearings. Make sure you attend any hearing scheduled by the court. If you want help with your eviction, you may qualify for legal aid. Use our Find Your Legal Aid tool to locate your legal aid.

At the hearing

  • Make sure you take a time-stamped copy of the declaration form with you to your hearing.
  • Wait for your eviction case to be called. 
  • When your case is called, tell the judge that you have filed your declaration.
  • Your landlord might dispute the statements in your declaration form. In case this happens, you should bring:
    • Copies of your applications for rent assistance
    • Pay stubs, bank statements or proof of receipt of a stimulus check
    • Documentation showing you lost your job, were laid off or had a cut in your hours
    • Proof, like receipts, of any rental payments you have made since your income was lost

Get help paying rent 

The state is allocating $50 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to 47 Community Action Agencies to provide rent, mortgage and water and/or sewer assistance to Ohioans in need. This assistance will help Ohioans pay outstanding balances back to April 1, 2020. Ohio households behind on their bills with an annual income at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines will be eligible for assistance. Starting November 2, 2020, Ohioans will be able to apply for assistance through their local Community Action Agency.

In some communities, rental assistance funds are running low. If possible, you should still submit an application for assistance—funding may become available in the future and even if you are denied it could support that you used “best efforts” to get rental assistance. If you can’t submit an application, keep a screenshot showing when called or print out the website page that says that the organization is no longer accepting applications.

Contact legal aid 

If you are facing eviction, legal aid may be able to help you. To apply for legal aid, look up your local legal aid's contact information here. Apply online or over the phone. 

A formal three-day notice

This is often called a "Notice to Leave the Premises." It will always include this paragraph:

"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."

If you don’t move out in three days, your landlord can file an eviction case against you in court. You want to try to avoid this. Here are some actions you can take to avoid eviction. 

A formal three-day notice means that your landlord has started the legal process to evict you. At this stage you should try to negotiate with your landlord. You could arrange for a payment agreement to pay the back rent over time. Or, if you need more time to move, negotiate a move-out date. Make sure to get any agreement in writing. 

If you can't negotiate a solution and you can move, try to move out before the landlord files for eviction. An eviction case filed against you in court could make it harder to get credit or housing later.

A court summons.

After the three days for the notice to leave expires, your landlord can file an eviction with your local court. The summons is usually sent by certified mail. After you receive the court summons you have about a month before any set-out can happen. 

The court summons will tell you when and where your eviction hearing will be. The hearing will probably be scheduled for about two weeks later. At this point you will need to decide if you are going to fight the eviction or move out. 

Fight the eviction

If you decide to fight the eviction. You should try to get a lawyer. You should see if you qualify for legal aid. To find your local legal aid, use our Find Your Legal Aid tool. 

If you haven’t found a lawyer by the time of the hearing, you should go to the hearing and ask the court for a continuance like this: 

"Your honor, I am asking for a one-week continuance so that I can try to get a lawyer to help me with this case.”

If the court agrees, they will reschedule the hearing. 

Learn more about fighting an eviction and how to get ready for a hearing.  Some municipal courts have help centers to assist tenants.  See Local Government and Community Resources below to see if there is a help center in your area.  

Move out before the hearing 

If you decide to move out before the hearing, you should go to the hearing and ask for the case to be dismissed. Here are the steps you should take: 

  • Move out of the home. First, move out of the home completely.
  • Arrive at the court early and check in. Learn more about what to expect at a hearing.
  • Go to the hearing. You must attend the hearing, even if you move out first. It is a good idea to bring your keys so you can officially give them to your landlord.
  • Ask for the case to be dismissed. At court, you could say: 
    “Your honor, I have completely moved out of the home, located at [state the address]. I have my keys which I’d like to give to my landlord now. Since I have moved out, I would like to request that my eviction case be dismissed.”

    Or, if you already returned your keys, say:
    “Your honor, I have completely moved out of the home, located at [state the address]. I gave my keys to my landlord on [state the date]. Since I have moved out and turned in my keys, I would like to request that my eviction case be dismissed.”

If the judge dismisses your case, you can answer “no” when future landlords ask if you were ever evicted. Learn more about how to speak up in court. 

Second Cause

If the summons has the words "second cause" written on it, even in small print, that means that the landlord is also suing you for money. Learn what to do if your landlord sues you for money.

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.