In Ohio, there’s a clear roadmap landlords must follow when navigating their legal rights and responsibilities. It’s not just about executing an appropriately written lease but also about ensuring that tenants live in safe, healthy conditions. A landlord’s responsibilities are defined by specific legal obligations, many of which are governed by state law even if they aren’t explicitly mentioned in a rental agreement.
The beauty of Ohio’s guidelines is that they lay a foundation for landlords to follow so that they know what is expected of them. This foundation protects tenants and ensures landlords understand their role and its boundaries. It’s a balanced approach that considers a landlord’s right to own and rent property and a tenant’s right to a safe and habitable living space.
The basics of maintaining a property
Landlords must comply with all building, housing, health and safety codes. But that’s not all. Needs for repairs can’t be ignored. A landlord must ensure that everything remains in a fit and habitable condition. And, this means everything, including electrical systems, plumbing, heating and any appliances that have been provided.
Safety goes beyond just bricks and walls
The onus is on a landlord to keep common areas safe and sanitary. Imagine walking into a building with flickering lights and a broken staircase. Not the best look, right? Also, providing trash receptacles and handling the trash removal if there are more than four units under one roof is important.
Taking care of the essentials
Running water, a consistent supply of hot water and timely heat are all on the checklist of things landlords must supply. However, there’s flexibility, too. It’s perfectly alright to require tenants to cover their utility bills. But landlords must also generally ensure that tenants have access to the basics around the clock.
Being liable for injuries on the property
If someone gets injured on the property due to negligence in maintenance or any other reason, the landlord might be on the hook. It’s essential to be proactive and ensure everything is up to code to prevent unfortunate incidents.
The state’s requirements for landlords aren’t negotiable. Landlords in Ohio can face stiff penalties if they don’t keep their rental units up to the standards set by state laws. Tenants may have the right to take legal action, including placing rent in an escrow account if landlords fail to honor their obligations, so it’s always best for landlords to comply with the law. Seeking legal guidance when landlords and tenants alike have questions about their rights and responsibilities is always an option.