Security Deposit


Security Deposit – The Ohio Landlord-Tenant Law permits the landlord to collect a security deposit to cover the costs of:

  • Unpaid rents or charges, and
  • Repair of tenant caused damages in access of normal wear and tear to the property.

The landlord is required to return the security deposit to the tenant within 30 days of the time that the tenant gives up occupancy (i.e. moves out and returns in the keys) and terminates the rental agreement. The tenant is required to provide the landlord with a forwarding address in writing.

   If the landlord makes a deduction from the security deposit, the landlord is required to provide the tenant with a written itemized accounting of the money that is withheld.

   If after 30 days the landlord has not returned the deposit or the itemized accounting, or if the tenant disagrees with the landlords’ decision to withhold some or all of the security deposit, then the tenant may sue for double the amount which the tenant believes was wrongfully withheld. If the tenant’s claim is for less that $3,000.00, the tenant may file in the Small Claims Court in the city where the property is located.

   A security deposit is given by the tenant to the landlord to “secure” the tenants’ performance under the tenancy. A pet, key, garage deposit or last month’s rent paid in advance may all be part of the security deposit. If the total deposit is greater than one month’s rent, the landlord owes 5% interest per year on the amount in excess of one month’s rent. 


Other Deposits and Charges – A deposit to hold the unit, an application fee or a credit check is not covered by any state law. Before giving any money, obtain a written statement of the charge and the conditions for a refund.
Don’t assume anything and never give money without obtaining a receipt. 

Fair Housing – Landlords may not discriminate against tenants on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, family status (having children under age 18) or disability.

    Each community has a fair housing organization that can investigate discrimination complaints. Check your phone book or the Ohio Civil Rights Commission.


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