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Renting is a legal contract between a landlord and a tenant for the use of property, such as an apartment unit or a basement suite. The landlord is usually the person who owns the property, and the tenant is the person who rents it. In legal terms, renting is called tenancy.

The Garfield Heights Municipal Court protects the rights of landlords and tenants, and holds both sides accountable if they fail to meet their obligations to each other.

This section will help you understand the basics of renting a home, and what you can do when rental agreements break down.

This section will examine some important points about rental agreements, as well as the basic rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants. For example, landlords have the responsibility to make all repairs necessary to keep the rental premises in a livable condition. Similarly, renters have the responsibility to pay the rent on time and to keep the premises safe and sanitary. This section will also cover withholding rent, evictions, and how to prepare for court if your rental dispute goes to trial.

Free Legal Help For Renters (and rent and utility assistance)

The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland’s Housing Justice Alliance works to ensure fairness for low-income people who face housing instability.  Legal Aid - serving Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake and Lorain counties – provides free legal representation for tenants facing eviction.

Everyone is familiar with the Miranda rights thanks to television crime shows - “You have the right to an attorney.” Our constitution ensures access to no-cost legal counsel when someone is accused of a serious crime and cannot afford an attorney. Yet many do not realize there is no such constitutional right to legal counsel in housing cases — even if the cases lead to homelessness.

Legal Aid, a private nonprofit, works to help as many people as possible with eviction cases.  Now, thanks to COVID-19 federal funding via Cuyahoga County, there are more resources available for more people to get legal representation from Legal Aid.  For our community, Legal Aid is working together with United Way to do outreach and provide help to people facing eviction.

Are you facing an eviction?  Do you need legal help?  Contact Legal Aid!

Call:                            216-861-5835

Monday, Wednesday & Fridays: 9:00a.m. – 4:00p.m.

Tuesdays & Thursdays: 9:00a.m. – 2:00p.m.

Go Online:       

                                    available 24/7

Just have a quick question?  Legal Aid can also help people with quick housing questions via its Tenant Information Line.  Learn more at or call 216-861-5955.

Why is Legal Help Important?  Not only will Legal Aid provide you with free legal help, it will connect you to services for rent and utility assistance.

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