There is No Such Thing as Free Rent

rentThe Ohio Court of Appeals held earlier this month that a Tenant’s failure to pay rent after being given notice of the Landlord’s decision to terminate his month to month tenancy qualifies as an independent reason to immediately begin an eviction proceeding.

In Denney v. Carrol (2015 Ohio 1693), the landlord provided the tenant with the statutory 30 day notice to terminate a month to month lease on September 30, 2014. After receiving the notice the Tenant decided not to tender his rent on the first of October. The landlord then provided a 3 day notice and started the eviction proceeding.

The trial court erroneously ruled that they lacked jurisdiction to hear the eviction case until the 30 day period outlined in the original termination notice had ran. However, the Court of Appeals held that when a tenant fails to pay rent it triggers ORC 1923 and all that is required is a 3 day notice for the court to gain jurisdiction.

This case should serve as a reminder to Tenants that there is no such thing as a free month of rent. Unless expressly allowed by the tenant’s landlord or lease, a tenant should not assume that their security deposit will be used as their last month’s rent. Further, if tenant finds himself/herself in the unfortunate situation that their landlord has neglected their duties under the lease, they need to follow the Court’s procedure for paying rent into the court.

Anytime rent goes unpaid, the landlord will always have the option to start an eviction proceeding against a tenant.

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