Getting your landlord to make repairs

If your heat, refrigerator or other essential parts of your home break, your landlord must fix them. Learn more about what to do if your landlord isn't making repairs and how to apply for rent escrow.

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Understanding the Basics

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It's your landlord's responsibility to make necessary repairs to your home, like fixing a broken furnace or refrigerator. Here’s a list of repairs that your landlord has to make.

If you need home repairs

As soon as you notice that there is an issue, you should: 

  • Tell your landlord. Contact your landlord by phone, text, email or however your landlord prefers. Explain what repair you need.
  • Continue paying rent. You must continue paying rent. If you stop paying rent, your landlord could evict you.

If your landlord does not make the repairs you asked for:

  • Write a letter. Use this form to write a letter to your landlord requesting the repairs. Mail it to the address where you pay your rent. 
  • Contact code enforcement. If there is a code enforcement office in your area, ask for a home inspection. If the inspector finds a code violation, they will order your landlord to make repairs. Keep a copy of the inspector’s report for your records.

If your landlord refuses to make repairs

If your landlord refuses to make repairs, Ohio law can help force your landlord to make repairs. The law is called rent escrow.

To qualify for rent escrow, you must:

  • Have written a letter to your landlord.
  • Wait a reasonable amount of time. Your landlord has up to 30 days to make requested repairs. Emergency repairs (like no heat in the winter) must be finished faster.
  • Be current on rent payments. You must pay all of the rent you owe before you can start rent escrow.

How to file a rent escrow application

To file a rent escrow application:

  • Call or check your municipal court's website. Look or ask for the court's rent escrow application. Make sure you find out what types of payment the court accepts (like cash or money order).
  • Complete the application. Go to the municipal court 2 to 3 business days before rent is due. Complete the rent escrow application and pay your rent to the court. The court will tell your landlord that rent is in escrow.
  • Keep paying rent to the court. Pay your full rent to the court on time each month until your repair is complete.

After you file the rent escrow application

If your landlord makes the repairs, go to the court and sign a release form. The release form allows the court to give your rent money to the landlord.

If you and your landlord disagree about the repairs, the court may schedule mediation. Go to your mediation appointment at the scheduled day and time. Read more about what to expect at mediation. 

After 30 days, if your landlord still does not make repairs, you can ask the court to order repairs or another resolution. Learn more about how to file a motion to order repairs and what to expect at a rent escrow hearing.

Forms and Letters

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Local Government and Community Resources

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