General Legal Information

Any statements pertaining to the law contained on this website are intended solely to provide broad, general information, not legal advice. Readers should seek advice from a licensed attorney with regard to any specific legal issues.


Rent Deposit: an Option to get Your Landlord to Make Repairs

If you are a tenant, your landlord is required to make certain necessary repairs to your rental unit, including:

• Repairs to keep the property in a livable condition;
• Repairs to meet housing and building codes that affect your health and safety; and
• Repairs required by your lease.

In Ohio, a tenant can pay rent to a court, instead of the landlord, after a landlord has refused to make necessary repairs within a reasonable amount of time. This is called “rent deposit” or “rent escrow.” However, the tenant must be very careful to follow certain rules in order to deposit rent to the court properly.

Before a tenant can deposit rent into the court, the tenant generally must:

• Be current on rent;
• Give the landlord written notice of the repairs needed by sending the notice to the person or place where the rent is normally paid (the tenant should keep a copy of this notice); and
• Give the landlord a reasonable time (usually 30 days, unless it’s an emergency) to make the repairs.

If the landlord doesn’t make the repairs during this reasonable time, the tenant generally may deposit the next month’s rent with the Clerk of Court of the municipal court for the tenant’s community. Each month, the tenant must continue to deposit the rent with the Clerk of Court by the date the rent is due according to the tenant’s lease. The Clerk of Court may have additional rules for depositing the rent, which the tenant must follow. The rent will remain on deposit with the court until the tenant and the landlord agree on how and when it should be released, or the court decides to release it.

Some non profit groups help tenants with the rent deposit process, at no charge to the tenant:

• In Ohio (all counties): Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO), (888) 485-7999.
• In Cuyahoga County: Rental Information Center of the Cleveland Tenants Organization, (216) 432-0609.
• In Lake County: Fair Housing Resource Center, Inc., (440) 392-0147.

Also, some courts help tenants with the rent deposit process. For example, Cleveland Housing Court specialists can explain the rent deposit process to tenants. The specialists are located on the 13th Floor of the Justice Center, 1200 Ontario Street, Cleveland, OH 44113, and are available for drop-in visits, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Cleveland Housing Court phone number is (216) 664-4295.

This article was written by the Legal Aid Housing Practice Group and appeared in The Alert: Volume 33, Issue 3.

This newsletter is meant to give you general information and not to give you specific legal advice.  This information cannot take the place of advice from a lawyer.  Each case is different and needs individual legal advice.  You should contact a lawyer if you need representation or if you have questions.


What Happens to Your Personal Property If You’ve Been Evicted?
By Sara Bird

Ohio law prohibits your landlord from taking or disposing of your property after an eviction, unless the court specifically gives the landlord permission to do so. Landlords also cannot take your belongings for the purpose of recovering unpaid rent unless the landlord gets a court order. If your landlord takes your property without a court order and will not release it to you until you have paid back owed rent, you have the right to sue your landlord under Ohio law, specifically Revised Code ยงยง 5321.15(B) and (C).

If you make these claims, your landlord may argue that you “abandoned” your property, which would give the landlord the right to take it. Your landlord must prove that you:
(1) gave up all rights to your personal property and
(2) demonstrated your intent to never again reclaim your property.

Ohio law does not specify what a landlord is required to do with property left behind by a tenant who was evicted. However, in order to avoid liability for damages, your landlord should not dispose of any personal property left behind after an eviction and should instead store it and make it available to you. Landlords may charge you a reasonable cost for moving and storing the property.

If you were evicted and left behind personal property that you want, your former landlord may not require you to pay back rent owed in order to get your belongings back unless the landlord has a court order. Remember you may have to pay for the moving and storage of your property.


This newsletter is meant to give you general information and not to give you specific legal advice.  This information cannot take the place of advice from a lawyer.  Each case is different and needs individual legal advice.  You should contact a lawyer if you need representation or if you have questions.



If you need legal assistance,
You can contact Legal Aid any weekday for help.

New intakes are processed via phone:
888-817-3777 (toll free)
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Tuesday, Thursday: 9a.m. – 2 p.m.

If you prefer an in-person intake application, those are handled:
Tuesday, Thursday: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
At any of our four Northeast Ohio offices (Cleveland, Elyria, Jefferson & Painsville).

Visit www.lasclev.org for more information!

Listed below are The Legal Aid Society’s upcoming neighborhood clinics. 

CIVIL MATTERS ONLY (NOT CRIMINAL)

SATURDAY, JANUARY 20
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Cleveland Public Library
Carnegie West Branch
1900 Fulton Road

SATURDAY, JANUARY 27
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Chagrin Falls Park
Community Center
Chagrin Falls

SATURDAY, JANUARY 27
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
West Side Catholic Center
3135 Lorain Avenue

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 7
2:30 PM – 4:00 PM
U.S. Veterans ONLY
Call 216-391-0264 for an appointment

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 10
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Cleveland Public Library
Memorial - Nottingham Branch
17109 Lakeshore Blvd.

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 13
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Oberlin Depot - Oberlin Community Services
240 South Main Street, Oberlin
Call 440-774-6579 for an appointment

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 14
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Catholic Charities Ashtabula
4200 Park Avenue, Third Floor, Ashtabula
Call 440-992-2121 for an appointment

SUNDAY, MARCH 4
9:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Green Road Synagogue
2437 South Green Road
Beachwood

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7
2:30 PM – 4:00 PM
U.S. Veterans ONLY
Call 216-391-0264 for an appointment

SATURDAY, MARCH 10
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Cleveland Public Library
Rice Branch Branch
11535 Shaker Blvd.

TUESDAY, MARCH 13
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Oberlin Depot - Oberlin Community Services
240 South Main Street, Oberlin
Call 440-774-6579 for an appointment

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Catholic Charities Ashtabula
4200 Park Avenue, Third Floor, Ashtabula
Call 440-992-2121 for an appointment


At these clinics, attorneys are available for free brief advice on legal matters relating to shelter, safety, consumer issues, and legal issues related to health, education, work, income and immigration.

In addition to providing help via neighborhood clinics – people in need can contact Legal Aid anytime for help – see details at: http://lasclev.org/contact/


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