A landlord seeking an eviction must serve the tenant with a three-day notice to vacate the premises. An eviction will not be ordered if the three-day notice is not properly prepared and served.
The notice may be served upon the tenant in one of the following manners:
- Certified mail, return receipt requested
- In person
- By leaving it at the tenant’s residence
- By leaving it at the subject property
Contents of Notice
By Ohio law, every notice to vacate must contain the following language, printed or written in a conspicuous manner:
You are being asked to leave the premises. If you do not leave, an eviction action may be initiated against you. If you are in doubt regarding your legal rights and obligations as a tenant, it is recommended that you see legal assistance.
Filing and Service of the Complaint
The landlord must wait three days after service of the notice before filing a court action, exclusive of the date of delivery of the notice, as well as weekends and legal holidays.
If the tenant does not leave by the day provided, the landlord may file a complaint for forcible entry and detainer. The complaint must be accompanied by a copy of the three-day notice and the required filing fee. Click here for list of civil court costs. A notice of the complaint and hearing date and time will be served upon the tenant by the Clerk of Court.
An eviction case may be filed in the Garfield Heights Municipal Court if the subject property is located in one of the municipalities served by the Court which include the following: Brecksville, Cuyahoga Heights, Garfield Heights, Independence, Maple Heights, Newburgh Heights, Valley View and Walton Hills.
Eviction hearings are generally conducted on Friday mornings before a magistrate. There are two separate hearings. The first hearing is to determine whether the tenant will be required to leave the property.
A second hearing is scheduled if money damages are requested by the landlord in the complaint. This hearing is to determine whether the landlord is entitled to receive money damages from the tenant for back rent, damage to the property, unpaid utilities, etc. The landlord must be present at each hearing in order to provide proof and to receive the relief requested. The tenant has the right to appear at both hearings to contest the eviction and/or the grant of money damages.
The first hearing will be scheduled within three weeks after the complaint is mailed to the defendant. If money damages are requested in the complaint, a second hearing will be scheduled within sixty days of the first hearing.
In the event the tenant fails to appear at the eviction hearing, a writ of restitution will be ordered requiring a bailiff to remove the tenant and the tenant’s possessions from the property if the tenant does not leave voluntarily. The landlord must pay a bailiff fee before obtaining the services of the bailiff in removing the tenant. The bailiff will schedule a date for the move-out. The landlord must arrange for and pay for a mover to remove the tenant’s property. The landlord may also arrange to have a locksmith present to change the locks.
The Magistrate will generally render a decision immediately after the hearing and give the parties a written copy of the decision. Any party objecting to the decision has fourteen days in which to file written objections, and ten days to file a response to the objections of the other party.
Eviction matters can be complex as both landlords and tenants have substantial rights and obligations under Ohio law, federal law, and the parties’ written lease. Both parties may be represented by counsel to answer and resolve any legal and/or procedural questions.