A landlord may file an eviction against a tenant for many reasons such as the tenant failed to pay rent, breached the lease agreement, violated other provisions of Ohio Revised Code 5321 or other Ohio law. This process happens quickly. The landlord must serve a tenant with a 3-day notice to vacate prior to filing the eviction action. In Franklin County, the eviction hearing will be scheduled in Municipal Court in 2-3 weeks from the day the eviction complaint is filed.
At the eviction hearing, a magistrate will determine whether the landlord properly posted the 3-day notice prior and waited the applicable time period before filing the complaint, whether the tenant was in violation of an oral or written lease term, and whether the tenant was still in possession of the premises. If the tenant has no legal defense, then an eviction judgment and an order giving the premises back to the landlord will usually be granted immediately. In many cases, a landlord’s failure to make routine repairs to the property is not a defense to an eviction for non-payment of rent unless the tenant properly followed the escrow procedures set by the court.
If the magistrate grants the eviction, the landlord can apply for a writ of restitution or a “red tag”. Once this red tag is posted at the property, the tenant will then have 5 days to vacate the premises. If the tenant fails to vacate the premises within the 5 days, the landlord must then file for a set out and contact the bailiff to schedule the set out which will typically be scheduled 2-3 days after contacting the bailiff.
An eviction case is often composed of two separate processes. The first is the “eviction hearing” at which the magistrate will determine if the landlord is permitted by law to evict the tenant. The magistrate will not determine any award for damages to either party at the first hearing though. After the eviction part of the case is concluded, the landlord may pursue claims for money damages, such as unpaid rent, late fees, repairs beyond normal wear and tear, unpaid utility bills, or the like. If tenant timely contest these damages, a separate hearing or trial to determine the validity of the claims and any amounts owed will be scheduled. If the tenant does not respond in writing to money damages claim in a timely manner, then landlord may file for default judgment against the tenant. If default judgment is awarded, the landlord can proceed with collection processes such as wage or bank account garnishments, liens on property, or the like.