In Ohio, the eviction process can take four to six weeks. Your stuff won’t be set out on the curb tomorrow. If you’ve received a three-day notice or notice to leave, here’s how you can protect yourself.
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
The CARES Act provides for a 120-day eviction moratorium (starting March 27, 2020) for tenants living in rental housing with a federally backed mortgage loan. Under the CARES Act a "federally backed mortgage loan" is a single-family or multi-family residential mortgage backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac or insured, guaranteed, or otherwise assisted by the federal government. This is a new federal protection that may help you, even if you live in private housing. If you have received an eviction notice or court papers you should contact your local legal aid immediately.
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.
Learn more about what happens after you get formal eviction papers.
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 can 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.
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.