Property Management Blog

Ohio Rental Laws for Landlords | Columbus Property Management Education

Mitch Deminski - Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Every state basically has landlord and tenant laws that you should be familiar with, even if you have a property manager. They cover 95 percent of what the obligations are from each party; the tenant and the landlord. In central Ohio, there are a few specific rental laws that need to be addressed with owners. 

Ohio Rental Laws: Property Registration

You’re required to register your property with Franklin County, or the county in which your property is located. The owner has to do this; a Columbus property management company cannot do it for you. The process is as simple as going online and doing it on their website. It takes five minutes and there’s no charge. This requirement is the result of the crash in 2008 and 2009. The city couldn’t get in touch with owners to clean up their properties, and a lot of owners were out of state. If you don’t register, there’s going to be a fine. The city simply needs to know who to contact if the grass is overgrown or a pile of tires and trash turns up in the yard.

Rental Laws in Ohio: Rent in Escrow

Another one of the rental property laws that surprise some landlords concerns the tenant’s ability to put the rent in escrow. If you have fewer than three properties in central Ohio, tenants are not supposed to put rent in escrow. You still go through mediation and sit in front of a judge to release money and get it out of escrow. However, if the owner has fewer than three properties, tenants cannot put rent in escrow.

Ohio Rental Laws: Water

It’s not a law, but there is a water department policy that affects landlords and investors. The city of Columbus has an AAA bond rating for water, and they intend to keep it. That means to a landlord is responsible for the water bill, even though the water is in the tenant’s name and they are required to pay the bill every month. Tenants can actually build up six or seven months of nonpayment, and the landlord or owner will be stuck with the bill. You are ultimately responsible for the water bill, and your next tenant can’t get it turned on unless you pay. This is unfair, but they want to make sure bills get paid. So it’s on you as the landlord.

If you have any questions about landlord legal responsibilities or laws on rental property, please contact us at Solutions for Real Estate.