My rights as a landlord? In Ohio

10 Replies

Hello BP friends,

I have some questions regarding what I am legally allowed to do with a difficult tenant and working through the process of moving them out so that we can sell the house.  Thanks in advance...

My tenant's lease ended and while there is no month-to-month language in it, we have just continued to let them live there under that understanding.  We now would like to sell and she is saying that we cannot come in the house until she gets back from vacation (two weeks from now, July 19th).  We just want to come in and clean so that the house will show well.  

We would also like to give her a written notice that she has 30 days to move out, but she is not in the state to receive the letter.  How does that work out? Can we just text her a picture of the letter? email?

Lastly, we have it written in the lease that she is not allowed to have a trampoline, and when she asked to get one we said no.  Well, she bought one and set it up in the backyard anyways and we would like to take it down.  Any breach of contract issues I can utilize?

Sorry it was such a long post, any help would be much appreciated.  Feel free to ask for clarity on any facts.

Best,

Ryan

@Ryan S.   Doesn't your lease have wording about reasonable access, along with the ability to show? The cleaning part ... I would not even touch that possible can of worms. That is asking for trouble. 

"Except in the case of emergency or if it is impracticable to do so, give the tenant reasonable notice of the landlord's intent to enter and enter only at reasonable times. Twenty-four hours is presumed to be a reasonable notice in the absence of evidence to the contrary."

Although you should have read this before ever leasing a property to someone, look at Chapter 5321: LANDLORDS AND TENANTS. The above quote is from that, btw.

Thanks Walt,

I did indeed read the Ohio revised code.  I guess I am just a little confused about giving written notice with the tenant being out of town.  Do I need to wait until she returns later in the month to serve her the 30-day notice to vacate?

Also, with the trampoline.  Any chance I would be able to take it down and box it up in the garage?

@Ryan S.  

I live in Florida, and every state is different. 

1. Since the lease has ended you just created a Tenancy at will relationship with the tenant. In other words, month to month lease, which will be terminated by the sale of the property. 

2. Landlord and Tenant Act allows the owner to access to the unit, as long is for the protection or preservation of the premises, and a given a 12 hours notice prior to enter to the unit. You don't have the right to show the property to possible buyers without notice to and agreement of the tenants.

3. Send the 30 days notice certified mail, so you proof that you send it, or ask the Tenant to provide you a forwarding address. 

4. Tenant was aware about not having a trampoline. In Florida, a landlord can give the tenant seven days to correct the problem or to vacate the premises. If the tenant does not comply, you can proceed with a complaint for eviction.

I highly recommend to check your Landlord and Tenant Act with your state before anything. 

@Ryan S.  

It sounds like getting in isn't what you need. You do NOT want to touch her belongings, or clean, unless there is an immediate hazard. If you need to get in, post a 24 notice to enter on her front door, and if you are feeling generous, give her a courtesy notification via email. However, since she is already non-cooperative, I would not enter without a pressing need. It opens you up to accusations of stuff missing, damaged, etc.

Give her the 30 day notice to leave. Post it on her front door, and take a picture.

Thank you everyone for the sound advice.  I really appreciate the help.

Send the certified mail notice and also post on her door and take a picture of it. You can email too because if she replies you have proof she saw it. 

I would also send a separate notice on the trampoline. Our insurance would be higher for a trampoline (at our home).  would not consider it on a rental. Not sure where the trampoline falls as far as removing you would need to talk to a lawyer about that, could be that it is something you can  say either you do it by x date or I will or it might be something that you just want to document your non-agreement for liability reasons.

As far as getting into the house unless you have an urgent issue I would not enter. our lease says if vacant for more then x days we will check on it. If you had a lease saying this you could enter but not really do anything besides check it so there is not really a point.

 You might consider if you want to show while she is there hiring a cleaner and paying for it.   Just  a thought. I haven't done this but with a company doing the cleaning she might be receptive. I have never cleaned a tenants place while they are occupying it except to straighten up/sweep up after a repair.  It is just too personal..

I'm no lawyer and certainly have no specific knowledge of Ohio statutes.  However, if it were me, I would be tempted to bite the bullet and wait until the tenant gets back in town.  Then follow the required notification process (I'm guessing that you will need to give 30 days notice and possibly the termination might need to fall on the end of a month (or maybe the original day of month of move-in).  In other words, you may have to wait until end of August to get the property vacant?

It's possible that you can e-mail the termination notice, or post it on the door, but to be honest, that strikes me as a somewhat underhanded approach.  Think about it - how would you feel if you received a termination notice in the middle of your vacation meaning that you may only have 2 weeks to find a new place and move once you get back?  Yes, you may be able to force this, but you already have indications that the tenant will be combative and you may find yourself in a court with a judge who thinks throwing people out on the street while they are out of town on vacation is not a super-nice thing to do.

As it is, I assume that the tenants are still paying rent, so you are not really losing much by waiting?  Unless you have some desperate need to sell quickly, I'd take the more measured approach to get the property ready to sell.

Every state is different, but in general, and here in Nebraska, you do not need the tenants permission to enter the property.  You just have to give them a days notice that you are going to enter.

Also, when delivering notices, they are considered delivered when you put them in the mail.  I would send it certified mail so you have a record of when it was mailed.

Definitely get smart on the Ohio landlord and tenant act.  It has all these answers in it.

Good luck, no legal advice.

Have you thought about selling it with tenant in place? Some investors like tenants in, if they have been long term and good renters (pay on time and no trampoline). She may just be worried she is going to lose her rental and that has caused her to be less than cooperative.

The trampoline doesn't bode well for her, but she may be willing to remove it in order to stay there.

This is not legal advice

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