Your Rights

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Things You Can Do Before Renting in a Manufactured Home Community

  • Check with the local health department for the record of the annual inspection of
          the facilities.
  • Talk to other residents about the community.
  • Ask for a copy of the lease and their Rules and Regulations to review before agreeing to
          rent in the community.
  • Ask questions about everything.

Moving into a Manufactured Home Community

  • Make a list of the conditions of the home and appliances in all the rooms and the outside of the home.
  • Make a list of repairs needed and give the list to the operator.

         Always keep a paper trail——-Take Pictures.

  • Be sure you have copies of the lease and community rules.

Leases/Rental Agreements – – – Ohio Law Calls a Lease a Rental 

    Agreement (Oral agreements are not recommended!).

    Operators are required to offer written leases to every owner before they move  into the community.  At the present time, there is no requirement for written leases for tenants.

     All rules and fees must be disclosed in writing and cannot be changed without thirty days notice.  (A new lease may contain changes).

    You are only required to acknowledge the rules and fees that are in writing.Every lease should contain the following:

  • A description of the property.
  • The rent, fees and charges, any late payment of rent charges.
  • Duration of the lease.
  • Rules of the community.
  • Notice requirements to terminate the lease

 What to Watch for in Leases and Rules

  • Length of the lease (owners must be offered an annual lease prior to moving in and a new lease when one expires).
    A clause that places the blame on you for any dispute with the operator or releases the operator from responsibility for injuries to you or your guests.
  • A provision in which you give up your right to a trial.
  • An agreement to pay the operator’s legal fees.
  • Anything that permits the operator to take unfair advantage of you, such as requiring that he/she automatically keeps your security deposit.
  • A provision that allows the operator to seize your personal property for non-payment of rent.
  • Provisions that allow the operator to cut off your utilities, padlock the home, or raise your rent if you complain to a government agency about the community, the operator, or if you try organizing a residents’ association.
  • Provision that forces the tenant to continue to pay rent on a home that is destroyed by fire, tornado or other disaster.
  • Be sure you understand the Lease and the Rules.
  • WARNING:  Even though these unlawful clauses may not be legally binding, you may be forced to go to court to protect your rights.  It is better to try to remove them before you sign a lease.

 

Terminating a Rental Agreement – Either a landlord or tenant may terminate a month-to-month agreement by giving a full 30 days notice to the other party. The 30 days begin on the next rental due date and runs with the rental period.

  A written rental agreement (lease) normally specifies the method of termination or renewal. If termination or renewal is not specified, then the agreement ends on the date in the agreement.

  A landlord may give a tenant a notice that the tenant is not complying with a requirement imposed on the tenant by the Ohio Landlord-Tenant Law which materially affects health and safety and advising the tenant that the rental agreement will end in 30 days. If the tenant corrects the condition, then the rental agreement will be terminated.

  A tenant  may give a landlord a notice to comply with a duty imposed by the Ohio Landlord-Tenant law which materially affects the health and safety and requesting correction within 30 days. If the landlord fails to correct the condition, then the tenant may end the rental agreement.

  If a tenant breaks a lease by moving when the lease is up, or if a tenant has
had a lease terminated because the tenant is in violation of the law, the tenant
may be held liable under the agreement until the unit is rented again.

Rent Increases and Late Charges – Under a month-to-month agreement, the landlord must give 30 days notice before increasing the rent. In the case of a written lease, the landlord may not Increase the rent during the term of the lease. There is no rent control in Ohio.

  Because the Ohio Landlord Tenant Law does not cover late charges, late charges may be included in a rental agreement, but they may not be “unconscionable” (unfair). Recent court decisions suggest that late fees should be reasonably related to the actual damages that a landlord suffers because of late payment of rent.

Rent Deposit (Escrow) Requirements – The tenant must be current in his/her rent before depositing rent with the Clerk of Courts. The tenant may not deposit rent in “bad faith” or for a condition which the tenant caused. The tenant may not just hold onto the rent.

  Rent deposits must be made on or before the normal rent due date. Tenants should check with their local Clerk of Courts to find the exact procedures used in their court.

  If a tenant receives a written notice from the landlord at the beginning of the tenancy which states that the landlord owns 3 or fewer units, then the tenant is barred from taking legal action under the Ohio Landlord Tenant Law.

  If the landlord fails to disclose his/her name and address and the name and address of his/her agents, then the landlord gives up right to a notice before the tenant takes legal action.

Retaliation Prohibited – The Ohio Landlord forbids a landlord from retaliating against a tenant by increasing the rent, decreasing services, evicting or threatening to evict because the tenant has:

1). Complained to a public official.
2). Complained to the landlord.
3). Joined with other tenants to bargain collectively over the terms and
      conditions of the rental agreement.

  A landlord who engages in retaliation may be held liable for actual damages
to the tenant and for reasonable attorneys’  fees.

Evictions – A landlord may bring an eviction action against a tenant when the tenant has: 1). Failed to pay rent on time. 2). Occupied the unit after the termination or expiration of the rental agreement.

  To bring an eviction action, the landlord must first serve a 3-day notice to vacate the premises in person, by mail or at the premises. If the tenant does not move within the 3-day period, then the landlord must file an action (Forcible Entry and Detainer) at the court in the city where the property is located. The court will schedule a hearing and the tenant will receive a summons and complaint at least 10 days before the hearing.

  At the hearing, the landlord and tenant will present evidence in support and defense of the eviction action. A tenant may raise the issue of bad conditions as a defense or a counterclaim at the eviction hearing. If an eviction is ordered, the landlord will make arrangements with the court to have the tenant’s belongings removed from the unit if the tenant does not move.

  Local procedures may vary. Check with your municipal court or an attorney.

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