An eviction is a legal process in which a court orders the removal of a tenant from a rented home or apartment based upon a request from the landlord. In order to evict a tenant, the landlord is required to have a specific and justified reason for why it is necessary to evict the tenant.
There are numerous reasons that a landlord may be required to evict a tenant from a rental home, apartment, or other type of property, including:
- If a tenant has not paid rent for a certain amount of time;
- When a tenant or guests of the tenant have caused substantial damage to the rental property;
- If a tenant has breached the terms of the rental or rental agreement. This may include activities such as smoking in a non-smoking building or keeping pets despite no-pet conditions in the lease; and
- When a tenant does not move out after their lease has expired. When this occurs, the renter is now considered a squatter.
Most eviction actions occur between a landlord and a tenant who are associated with residential rental property sites, which may include an apartment building or a home. This process may be used to remove a tenant from a commercial building as well, which can include business offices.
It is important to note, however, that the process of eviction typically involves numerous steps which have strict legal requirements for both the landlord and the tenant. Eviction requirements are governed by state laws and, therefore, will vary by jurisdiction, depending on where the eviction occurs.
It is important to note that because the eviction process is governed by state laws, each state may have its own requirements and procedures for eviction actions. In addition, eviction actions can have significant effects on both parties, such as a tenant losing their home or a landlord losing income. For these reasons, it is essential to consult with a real estate attorney for assistance.
There are some important tips to have in mind regarding evictions. These include:
- It is highly recommended that both parties appear at the court eviction hearing. Not appearing before the court when may result in serious legal consequences;
- Depending on the state, the court may require the parties to attend a mediation session prior to being heard by the court. This is to encourage the parties to attempt to cooperatively come to an agreement;
- If the tenant has good reason to defend against an eviction notice, it is in their best interest to hire a qualified attorney to argue on their behalf in court. This will help ensure a more successful outcome due to the legal procedures involved and certain evidence that the tenant may be aware that they need to gather themselves; and
- In the event that the landlord prevails, they may file a separate action in small claims court to collect back-due rent.
What are Eviction Bans?
An eviction ban prohibits landlords from commencing eviction actions against their tenants. These bans are typically only enacted during times of emergency, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
These types of bans are enacted during times of pandemics because, often, individuals who are evicted from their residences will move in with other individuals or be forced into shelters. Having multiple individuals in one residence or in close proximity furthers the spread of the disease.
There was an eviction ban in place which was announced by the CDC in September of 2020. This ban, however, expired on July 31, 2021.
In early August 2021, the CDC announced a new order which will last 60 days. However, this order only applies to counties with substantial or high transmission of the coronavirus. Currently, this includes most of the country.
Does Ohio have any Eviction Ban Laws Related to COVID-19 Issues?
Although the federal eviction protections are coming to an end, some states may provide their own protections. Currently, in Ohio, there are no holds on evictions or holds on utility shut offs.
There are, however, some programs in Ohio which may assist during this time. One is the Ohio Home Relief Grant. This program may provide assistance with mortgages, rent, or utilities from the State of Ohio through the local Community Action Agency (CAA). An individual can check with their local CAA to determine if they qualify.
The Ohio Public Utilities Commission also provides assistance with utilities. There are programs available to residential customers for:
- Electric bills;
- Natural gas bills;
- Telephone bills; and
- Water bills.
These may be available during the pandemic as well as during other times, such as times of extreme weather or medical difficulties.
What if I’m being Evicted Due in Ohio to a Coronavirus Issue? What Protections do I have?
As previously noted, currently, there are no eviction holds or holds on utility shut offs in Ohio related to the coronavirus. There is, however, currently a 60 day order preventing evictions which was announced in August by the CDC and ends on October 3, 2021.
At this time, this moratorium applies to areas at a high risk for transmission. At this time, this applies to most of the counties in Ohio.
It is important to note that although this applies in federal court, this new moratorium may not protect an individual in their local court. For example, Franklin County Municipal Court will not be stopping evictions during this time. In contrast, the Cleveland Housing Court will follow the moratorium and stop evictions while high or substantial spread of the virus is occurring.
What Other Tenant Protections and Resources in Ohio are Related to Coronavirus?
During this time, Ohio has provided funding to Community Action Agencies to provide mortgage, rent, and water or sewer assistance, as noted above. This will be provided in 88 counties.
Assistance from the CAA can be provided to pay outstanding balances going back to April 1, 2020. To be eligible for assistance, the annual household income must be at or below 100% of the federal poverty guidelines.
Should I Contact an Ohio Lawyer If I have COVID-19 Eviction Issues?
It is necessary to contact an Ohio landlord tenant lawyer for any eviction issues you may be facing related to COVID-19. An eviction includes many complex legal requirements and procedures.
Evictions can be emotional and stressful experiences for all parties. If you are a tenant, or a renter, your attorney can advise you regarding your rights and any defenses which may be available to you for the eviction.
Your attorney can also provide you with information regarding the most current laws of your state, what to expect at your hearing, and assist you with an appeal. They can also provide you with information regarding the most current status of COVID-19 related eviction bans.
If you are a landlord who has to commence an eviction action, your attorney will help you follow the proper and necessary procedures for evictions in your state. Your attorney can also provide guidance regarding your rights as a property owner.
It is very important to note that there are often free local resources that are available to assist you, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Taking advantage of those resources and having an attorney on your side will provide you with the best possible outcome for your eviction issue.