Ohio eviction experiences/thoughts

29 Replies

Anyone have experience with an eviction in Ohio?  I've got a tenant who, after trying making excuses for not having rent, finally admitted he couldn't come up with the money.  My manager told him to be out this past weekend.  The tenant said his girlfriend would cover the next couple month's rent, however, when my manager called her she said she wouldn't have any money until the end of the month.  I know where this is headed...he's going to squat as long as he possibly can for free.  My manager is starting the eviction process, with which I'm unfamiliar, especially timeframe; I'm wondering if it might be worth paying the guy off...i.e. give him a couple hundred of his deposit back if he vacates this week and leaves the place in decent condition.  Any thoughts?

I suspect I would try the cash for keys route first. If he goes for it make sure you don’t pay until his stuff is gone and he has signed a paper saying he is leaving. I would also recommend continuing the eviction process until he is actually out and only giving him 3-5 days to be out.

So you plan to reward negative behavior and then this guy going to be a headache for another landlord? 

Do the right thing. Evict, get it on his record so then the next time he goes to rent the new landlord searches his name up sees an eviction and say not renting to you because you can't pay rent.

@Federico Gutierrez - I'm not PLANNING on anything yet; that's why I'm asking advice and thoughts.  All I'm trying to do it limit our losses.  If the eviction process is going to tie this up for quite awhile, I'm losing $$.  All I was asking for was a little guidance or thoughts. 

I would not go the cash for keys route. Move forward with the eviction. It's about a 30-45 day process. Takes about 3 weeks to get a trial date. Definitely hire an attorney. It's $165 well spent and you know it was done right. I'm in Northeast OH so if you need a recommendation for a real estate attorney let me know. Good Luck! 

It's all about what your time is worth. If this is the type of tenant who makes excuses for non payment of rent for a few months and even has a plan to buy himself a few more months by involving his gf, then do you think this is also the type of guy who will show up to the eviction trial? You will pay attorney fees (if you don't have in-house) and then most likely servicer fees to get the notice to him, all for him not to show up. It will all still get processed and maybe even a warrant for his arrest for skipping trail, but what are you actually getting for all this time spent?

Things to consider; how much in rental income are you losing each month/day he is in the unit? Versus the time/money spent with eviction as well as is this the type of person that will trash the unit or leave all of his junk there for you to clean out/pay to clean out? I have had this happen where we posted the eviction notice and they left before the 3-5 days with all of their junk still in the house. Was a big effort to get that house back on the market. Still filed the eviction so ppl like @Federico Gutierrez is still getting it on record for the next guy (which we're all on here to help each other, this way included) but had to deal with a heavy fall out. Where $300 to move out would of got me a rental closer to re-market. 

Overall, have tighter rent payment standards where you are filing for (or at least telling the tenant you are) eviction after the 10th day of non-payment. That way you're not already in a few month hole to start this consideration. 

Please evict... it's going to cost you either way, the difference is going to be negligible in the end.  If they're going to trash your unit they'll do it anyway.


The eviction stops the drama, excuses, lies, and delays.  If the guy has lied to you already, guess what - he'll do it again.  If you evict then there's a determined finish and you'll know when you're getting back your property.  Who cares if they don't show up in court - at least they get a date with the sheriff and you can start turning the unit.  Sometimes they leave before and you get it back even earlier.  30-45 days is not bad to get it resolved.  If he's in deep enough you can pursue him for monies he owes, including damage to the property.  You just have to be able to find him after he goes.   

Out of principle I can't accept the premise of giving a deadbeat more of my money just for them to get out.  I'll gladly make him pay for the decisions long term on his record and it'll show up when one of the rest of us get an app from him. 

Our experience has been that once the 3 day notice is posted tenants get serious. Before that not so much. Most know that if they have an eviction on their record they will have problems renting. We post and then negotiate. If they come up with the money they can stay. If not we file with our attorney for eviction.

Originally posted by @Tobey Porter :

Anyone have experience with an eviction in Ohio?  I've got a tenant who, after trying making excuses for not having rent, finally admitted he couldn't come up with the money.  My manager told him to be out this past weekend.  The tenant said his girlfriend would cover the next couple month's rent, however, when my manager called her she said she wouldn't have any money until the end of the month.  I know where this is headed...he's going to squat as long as he possibly can for free.  My manager is starting the eviction process, with which I'm unfamiliar, especially timeframe; I'm wondering if it might be worth paying the guy off...i.e. give him a couple hundred of his deposit back if he vacates this week and leaves the place in decent condition.  Any thoughts?

Its worth it to try and buy him out, but my experience is that it takes right around a month, from posting 3 day notice to getting the red-tag (which is the official "we are about to throw your stuff on the curb" notice the deputy sticks on the door) .. The tenant can get legal aid or otherwise request a delay or two, but maybe an extra couple weeks. You must be careful to use the exact correct 3 day notice and notice process. Its weird and specific.

If he doesn't leave after losing the eviction and getting the red tag/setout notice, you arrange for a certain number of strong dudes with boxes and tarps, and you call the eviction deputies during an extremely specific timeframe (something crazy like between 8:10am and 8:35am, not kidding), and they will give you a date/time, possibly that same day. Your moving dudes need to be ready to go. The baliff will not wait for your guys to show up nor help move, hes just there to keep the peace. Everything will be put on the curb. If its raining you need to put tarps or plastic around/on everything. 

Then when he's out, if you originally filed for the "2 part cause of action" you go back to court a 2nd time for the damages. Good luck collecting if you don't know where the tenant works/banks though. 

If you rent in an LLC, you must use an attorney, but if the tenant shows up and argues, someone needs to be there to attest about proper notice serving and other details. If you signed the lease with your own name, you can represent yourself. My understanding is that judges don't care about sob stories or "this apartment had all these problems" .. Did you pay? No? OK, you gotta go.

Also, once the eviction starts, do not accept ANY money unless you want to cancel the eviction. 

Just like @Tobey Porter   is dealing with, I have a situation in Cleveland Ohio...  @Federico Gutierrez   @Nicky Reader    @Brian R.   @Tom Gessells   @Jack Smith   @BJ Everson   @Carly Bailey    You folks are in Ohio so I'd be curious as to what your opinion is on this because I have a couple of tenants that are not paying rent. These are inherited tenants that had been on a verbal agreement with the previous landlord for about 4 years and now appear to be trying to get out of paying their rent. They initially claimed they paid it to the previous owner, then they changed the story and claimed the previous owner said they would not have to pay the March rent. Now they are changing their story again.

I just bought a 3 unit in Cleveland Ohio that closed on March 6, 2018. One tenant (Tenant A.) is perfectly fine, the other two (I'll call them tenant's B and C, they also happen to be the grand kids of the seller and ) have been a little trouble. One has rent due on the 9th of each month and the other on the 15th of each month. They definitely knew the property was being sold beforehand. 

Before the transaction could close my lender made it perfectly clear that each tenant needed to sign a 12 month lease because before this everything was a verbal agreement with the previous landlord. The only written documentation was in the closing documents where the previous owner hand wrote what the rent amount was for each unit, and what day of the month it was due.

Tenants B and C also happen to be paying about 30% under market rate so the previous landlord (Grandma) must have been trying to help them out.

The original contract my property manager tried to get them to sign clearly stated this was a12 month lease beginning March 9th and March 15th. Tenant A was OK with this.......Tenants B and C were not and refused. I also included an Estoppel in there for the tenants to fill out but they conveniently did not fill this out.

My Lender finally said that a MONTH to MONTH lease will be OK, but they need to sign before closing otherwise the closing will not happen. Unfortunately when I edited the word document to change it to month to month terms I left the START DATE of the lease blank. Naturally tenants B and C put a start date of April 9th and April 15th respectively which has them thinking they don't owe me anything until that date.  

My property manager went over there the day after closing on March 7th and left info on their door about the March payments. No response. 

Property manager went back over again a week later and they said, they had paid the rent to Grandma (The previous landlord). 

We communicate with Grandma, and of course Grandma says that her own grand kids are lying.

We tell the tenants what Grandma said and then they change the story to Grandma told us we don't have to pay rent in March.

We communicate with Grandma and of course Grandma says again that they are lying and that she specifically told them they were to pay the new owner for March.

Then the tenants ask for a copy of their lease and they point out to my property manager that "This lease that we signed says that the lease starts April 9th/April 15th, so we don't owe you anything until then." 

In a certified letter that we know they have now received, it lays out in great detail that the property closed March 6th so they now owe us rent for March, irregardless of the "start date" on the lease. It also clearly states that the previous landlord has made it clear to us that not only did she not get any March rent from them, but that she actually told them they would need to pay the March rent to the new property management people. 

My property manager is scheduled to go over there again in 2 days and this time he has a meeting scheduled with them because the tenants now want to "go over some things they would like repaired" and hopefully collect the rent. I find it confusing as to what needs to be repaired because I paid for a  home inspector and there were very, very minor things that he recommended, but there was actually nothing "defective". 

My questions are as follows;

1. If they don't have the rent money when my property manager goes there to meet them can we in turn give them a 3 day notice?

2. If we give them a 3 day notice and this goes to court, what will the judge say when the tenants show this signed document that says their lease didn't start until April 9th/15th? 

3. As an FYI my property manager is recommending we do the three day notice on Wednesday if the tenants don't have the money. Personally, I believe they are trying to pull one over on me and get out of paying March rent so I'm with him on that about the three day notice. My concern is that a tenant friendly judge may say to us that "This lease says their agreement with you is to commence on April 9th/April 15th, which means their rent was not due to you until April." It's literally because of this alone that I'm thinking I should give them the three day notice on Wednesday instead of "waiting until the lease starts". 

My agent has also told me that no matter what that start date on that lease says, if the tenants did not pay the previous landlord the rent that was due on March 9th/15th, then they owe the new owner (me) the rent that was due on March 9th/15th and that they are literally living for free at this point. he also said he thinks that if this goes to court then THEY the tenants will have the burden of proof put on them as to who they paid the March rent to, not me....because I as the new homeowner and still have not collected any rent from them. He says that it's actually better to do this now BEFORE the lease "goes into effect".

What are your thoughts?     

  

That is a hell of a situation. At this point if tenants aren't willing to sign new leases or are month to month then the power is on you to get them out. Remember, they aren't doing you any favors staying in the place. Sounds like new tenants is what you need and it will be great if all your financing stays in place for this this to happen. So I would remove all or at least make that clear and see what they do. 

@BJ Everson

Actually the deal already closed on March 6th because all the bank wanted to see was that there were (now) written leases. The issue now is that two of the tenants appear to be trying to get out of paying the rent that was due on March 9th and March 15th so we are trying to collect the March rent from them. 

post three day notice and hire an attorney. No need to make things harder than they need to be. It’s a very straight forward process. 

Generally speaking Cleveland courts (each municipality is a bit different) are Landlord friendly, particularly about non-payment of rent. Overall the process takes 4 - 6 weeks from the date you file for eviction; remember to follow the local laws / regs (your PM should know this inside-out).

Give them the 3 day notice ASAP as that starts the process and tell them that you will file for eviction as soon as legally allowed. It will take 2 - 3 weeks after you file to get in front of the judge. You may also want to tell them how this will impact their future ability to rent and possibly their credit history (tenant screening). To them it may be a lark (what can we get away with) but they are not thinking about the longer term consequences (typical).

If they don't pay up and it actually goes to court, your PM can show / testify that no funds were pro-rated and transferred from the previous owner for March rent as well as that no payment has been made. It will then be up to them to show that they did in fact pay.

What are they going to do - put Gandma on the stand to commit perjury. Commit perjury themselves and say that they didn't live there for March?

They will be given 7-10 days to get out.

A suck-y way to start out on a new property but such is life. If they are starting out this way, you probably don't want them as your tenants anyway as they will just be more problems down the road.

Post the three day notice and start the eviction process. Sounds like these tenants will continue to be a problem for you. I have a good real estate attorney who handles all our evictions if you need a recommendation. 

Originally posted by @Tobey Porter :

Anyone have experience with an eviction in Ohio?  I've got a tenant who, after trying making excuses for not having rent, finally admitted he couldn't come up with the money.  My manager told him to be out this past weekend.  The tenant said his girlfriend would cover the next couple month's rent, however, when my manager called her she said she wouldn't have any money until the end of the month.  I know where this is headed...he's going to squat as long as he possibly can for free.  My manager is starting the eviction process, with which I'm unfamiliar, especially timeframe; I'm wondering if it might be worth paying the guy off...i.e. give him a couple hundred of his deposit back if he vacates this week and leaves the place in decent condition.  Any thoughts?

 I do about 100 evictions in Cleveland per year. They are pretty straight forward. You & your manager are spending too much time on back & fourth with this tenant. Set a specific day of the month that you will begin the eviction process on. Any tenant who doesn't pay by that day should be evicted. Once the process is started there should be no going back.

Process is simple.

Post a 3 Day on the door then file with the court when the 3 Day period to pay is over. After that it takes about 4-6 weeks to have them out. On move out day you have to hire a court approved moving company to come out & remove everything from their property. Everything gets placed on the curb. Whatever isn't stolen or taken by the tenants you have to have the moving company come back at 5pm to pick up. They store for 30 days then throw away or sell it.

Screw paying anything to that tenant. I've done an eviction in Lakewood, Ohio. First time, no attorney and completely by myself. The turnaround time from 3 day notice to the shariff removing them was 3 weeks. Don't let them run a game on you. 

Key things to note: 

- Make sure you send the 3 day notice via certified mail

- Make sure you take the signed copy of the lease to court

- Make sure to provide any messages, phone call records, voicemails to the magistrate as proof that they said they wouldn't or couldn't pay. 

If you go in there with your barrels loaded and make a clear case that the contract was violated, it won't matter what the tenant says, they'll get booted. Having the shariff rip them out of there is easy too. Don't get bullied in YOUR building. 

As a side note, when your tenant violates the contract, make a decision and take action. It's no longer a negotiation and the more you pretend it is, the more they're going to run a gambit on you. You're the boss, you're the CEO, you wear the pants and you're where the buck stops. Don't let some tenant dictate to you how the rent is going to come in or how they're going to live in your building. 

Originally posted by @Brian Garlington :

@BJ Everson

Actually the deal already closed on March 6th because all the bank wanted to see was that there were (now) written leases. The issue now is that two of the tenants appear to be trying to get out of paying the rent that was due on March 9th and March 15th so we are trying to collect the March rent from them. 

Man thats a hell of a situation with your inherited tenants. I hope everything works out for you! Grandma did no one any favors in this case.  Good luck with everything! I am curious as to how this pans out. 

Sometimes all it takes to "shake the money tree" is a three day notice posted on the door. That is the first step in the eviction process in Ohio. Very specific language and fonts are required on the notice so make sure you use one that meets the requirement. I"ve pasted the relevant code section below. Ohio requires 3 BUSINESS days AFTER the posting of the notice before you can file the eviction. In Akron it costs $170.00 to file. 

http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/5321

@Justin Stamper     @Jill F.     Thanks for your thoughts....my PM is putting the three day notice on tommorow.  A lot of he said she said,....but my agent thinks that they may have been "shady" with "Grandma" a few times in the past which is one of the reasons she sold the property.....the fact that they are also paying about 30% under market rate also makes me believe she was trying to help them out....but to no avail. As others have posted, it appears that the burden of proof will be on them if this goes to court as to whether or not they paid Grandma any rent in March. 

@Jack Smith       There may be some confusion here on your part my friend. Previously the seller acted as their own PM. I brought in my own PM and I wrote up the estoppel agreement as well as the lease agreement for the new tenants to sign, not my PM. We gave the estoppel and the new lease contracts to the Seller so they could get the tenants to sign before closing. The tenants initially refused to sign the lease because they apparently liked having an oral agreement and not anything in writing that may hold them accountable with Grandma. They eventually signed the lease, but changed the start date on the lease to April and of course they conveniently did not sign the estoppel.

@Justin Stamper   @Jill F.   @Anthony R.   @Carly Bailey   @Oren K.   @Matt Motil   @BJ Everson

We gave them their 3 day notice this past Wednesday. My PM went to their places (they are adjacent to each other) and had a conversation with them and they tried to give him the run around again about the rent,...then he called me while he was there and put me on speakerphone,...they tried the same nonsense with me verbally and kept changing their story. I told them we would be giving them a 3 day notice if they didn't have all of the March rent to my PM before he left the property. This prompted one of them to make the unwise statement; while my PM was standing there as a witness, "I'm not going to pay you any March rent, period."  The other other couple said, "Well we're looking to move out in April anyway so why do we need to pay any rent at all?".    I also told them they would be receiving a 3 day in a few minutes from my PM as well. 

As of this writing they have not paid still so we'll be filing for the eviction this coming Monday.

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