Eviction Process - Cleveland, OH

8 Replies

Hey all, I am a new landlord of a duplex, since October 2014. My downstairs tenant has stopped paying rent this month. Rent is due on the 1st, and there was no grace period in the lease. The lease was drawn up by the former owner of the house and I kept things month-to-month. The tenant has said that she can't pay rent and is on hard times but is waiting on a check to pay rent. I told her that I would give her through the weekend and alas, still no rent.  It should be noted that the unit is under rented and the tenant has been there for 6 years at the same rent. In one breath I hate to get rid of a tenant with that kind of history, although I don't know first hand what the payment history has been like.

At this point I think eviction may be the best choice. Is anyone familiar with the process in Cleveland? The courts and people answering the phones there have not been helpful to this point. What I know if I need to serve a 3 day notice requesting the tenant leave the premises. Following that i need to order a Forcible Entry and Detainer form. Can I order this form online? What is the most convenient way to obtain this form and submit it to court. Following submission of this form I believe 21 days later the tenant receives the court date and things move forward from there. I think the tenant will likely choose to move out on his own will during that time. Provided he does not and the court case follows, what is the procedure there? Am I able to file a Second cause hearing for past due rent, damages to the property, moving fees associated with eviction, and possible time lost from work due to attending these hearings? What types of limitations are involved in this second cause? Will a judgement in the plaintiffs favor cause the tenant's wages to be garnished in order to make payment?


Finally, does this eviction automatically go on the tenants credit history, or would that be a different filing?

Thanks in advance

Hi John,

My dad performed an eviction in Lakewood (not sure if that's where you're specifically talking about) but he went into the court room and they seemed to be more helpful than you ran into.  

That said, once he had the court date set - the judge was very accommodating to us - just make sure you come prepared with paper copies (and take pictures with your smartphone after you post) of the 3 day postings.  

In terms of the credit history - I'm not sure whether the evictions 'ding' the credit, however I know that once you have an eviction against you - it becomes public knowledge.  Thus, if you're using a tenant screening tool, it will search public court records and the then prospective landlord would see the eviction and make their decision.  

Have you seen any of the tools (or attended the class) that the city of Lakewood provides (onelakewood.com).  They have a great manual for landlords/tenants available for free.  If you rent in Lakewood, you can also register for their on-going class.

Best of luck!

Thanks for the information Adam. My building is located in Cleveland though and the laws are a bit different from what I've been told. I have heard that Lakewood has one of the best eviction processes in the county. 

I was finally able to get a hold of someone at the Clerk of Courts office that was able to provide knowledge of the actions required. 

@John T.

Evictions will either end up in a separate evictions database (assuming whoever you use for tenant screening is hooked up to it), and usually will hit credit in the judgment section.

Only Caveat is if final judgment is not rendered (cash for keys type deals) - those don't show up.

Ask @James Wise about all things Cleveland 

@John T.

Sympathize with your plight. Check out the following City of Cleveland web site for some specific FAQs regarding evictions:

http://www.clevelandhousingcourt.org/hc_fq_b.html

Basically it says, file and issue 3 day notice, 3 weeks from filing date you have a court session, if eviction granted - tenant gets 7 / 10 days to vacate. So the entire process will take up to 5 weeks from when you file.

I always find it interesting how different jurisdictions, even adjacent ones, can have radically different procedures and process so it is always necessary to make sure you are certain which jurisdiction you are under.

Good luck,

Oren

@John T.

Do you own this home alone in your personal name or with partners?

Do you own this home in an LLC?

Unless it's owned solely by you in your personal name you will be REQUIRED to use an attorney. I recommend you use an attorney anyway as this is not the part of your business that you want to go the do it yourself route.

@John T.

I handle evictions in Cleveland quite frequently. Here's how the process works. Prior to initiating an eviction for non-payment of rent, you must post a 3 day notice. There are specific statutory requirements that this form must comply with. The Cleveland Housing Court has one available on their website that (presumably) meets these requirements. It is available here:

http://www.clevelandhousingcourt.org/forms/Civil/3...

During that 3 day period, the tenant is provided with the opportunity to cure the default by paying off the back rent and late fees in full. You may, if you choose, accept partial payments. This, however, is not advised because acceptance of even a partial payment will prevent you from following through on the eviction.

One the 3 day period has expired, you may then file your eviction complaint (called forcible entry and detainer) with the Cleveland Municipal Court. Filing fees are $110 + $7 for each additional defendant. Your complaint will include two counts, the first for restitution of the premises (possession) and the second for  money damages. Cleveland requires that you include a copy of the 3 day notice, county forms proving ownership of the property, and Ohio Secretary of State filings indicating good standing for any corporate entity that's a party to this complaint, as attachments to your complaint. The court will schedule the first cause hearing for 3 weeks from the date of filing. Since you can't ascertain the full amount of unpaid rent and / or damages to the unit until the tenant has vacated, the second cause hearing is scheduled approximately 4 weeks after the first cause hearing.

At the hearing you'll have the opportunity to discuss and mediate with your tenant if you choose. This is often done to schedule an agreed upon move out date. Of course, you're not under any obligation to mediate and can proceed with the hearing. The hearing is a short process in front of the magistrate where your attorney will ask you questions to establish your interest in the property and the tenant's breach of lease / non-payment of rent, and you will ask the magistrate for possession of the unit. Should you be granted judgment, the writ of restitution will issue immediately and it can be issued from the clerk's office for a $15 fee. With that, you can schedule a court supervised move out date. 

On the move out date, you will be responsible for providing movers who will transport the tenant's property from the unit to the tree lawn. The bailiffs will be present at the property to remove the tenant (with force, if necessary).

That's the process from beginning to end. The tenants usually (but not always) leave sometime before the court supervised move out date. Should you need assistance with this matter feel free to contact me, my contact information is in the signature block.

Thanks everyone for the guidance. In this case, my home is in my name. I live in one half of the house. So I will represent myself. Is there any trickery to this process?