Tenant Resources


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a.      Municipal Codes

b.      Summit County Environmental Health Code

c.      Researching Code Violations

d.      Requesting an Inspection by the Health Department

e.      Filing a complaint with the Health Department

f.       Researching Landlord Registration

g.      Summit County Criminal Justice Information System

h.      Summit County Auditor

i.       Clerk of Courts:  Eviction, Escrow, and Security Deposit

j.       Setting up your Utilities

k.      Tenant-Landlord Mediation Resources

l.       Legal Assistance

m.    Ohio Landlord-Tenant Law

a.    Municipal Codes
Municipal Codes explain the rules that area residents are obligated to follow.  They can include information such as when a landlord is responsible for utilities and trash pick-up, how much floor space is required per occupant (occupancy standards), and what health and safety standards are required in your area.

The City of Akron’s Municipal Codes
Click the link above to view Akron’s Municipal Codes.  You will find important housing information for Akron residents under “Title 15: Land Usage”, “Chapter 150: Environmental Health and Housing Code.” 

The City of Kent’s Municipal Codes
Click the link above to be directed to Kent’s Codified Ordinances – Part 13: Building Code). See Title 7 of that document for the details of Kent’s Environmental Health & Housing Maintenance Code.

Norton/Barberton Municipal Codes
Contact the Barberton Health District directly to obtain information on their local codes. 

 

b.    Summit County Environmental Health Code
The jurisdiction of the Summit County Health District includes ten townships, nine villages and the cities of Cuyahoga Falls, Fairlawn, Green, Hudson, Macedonia, Munroe Falls, New Franklin, Stow, Tallmadge and Twinsburg.  The communities of Akron and Barberton/Norton are each served by their respective city health departments.

The Environmental Health Codes explain the rules that area residents are obligated to follow.  They can include information such as when a landlord is responsible for utilities and trash pick-up, how much floor space is required per occupant (occupancy standards), and what health and safety standards are required in your area.

Summit County Environmental Health Codes
Click the link above to view Summit County’s Environmental Health Codes.  You will find important housing information for residents of the townships, villages, or cities listed above under codes 1600 and up. 

 

c.    Researching Code Violations

Contact your local or County Health Department to inquire about any citations that may have been issued against your current or potential landlord.  Having some of the following information with you may be helpful when you make your request:

1.      Landlord’s full name or company name, if any

2.      Address of property

3.      Addresses of any other properties known to be owned by landlord (helpful to identify landlord if you do not know their name)

4.      Landlord’s phone number or mailing address, if known

 

d.    Requesting an Inspection by the Health Department

Call your local City or County Health Department.  You may wish to request an inspection for issues that affect the health and/or safety of tenants.  These may include concerns about things such as:

n      Structurally unstable foundation, steps, porches, floors, walls, ceilings, etc. 

n      No running water, or hot water

-                     No heat, or not enough heat

-                     infestation by rodents or pests

-                     Electrical concerns

-                     Smoke Detectors

-                     Trash Service

e.    Filing a complaint with the Health Department

Call the Health Department or visit their website to obtain hours of operation.  You can request a complaint form be mailed to you or appear in person to file the complaint at the Health Department.  You may also be able to request a home inspection.  Appearing in person may get your complaint into their system more quickly. 

Akron            Summit County            Kent            Norton/Barberton

 

f.       Researching Landlord Registration

Check with your local Health Department regarding registration requirements for landlords.  The Health Department should be able to inform you as to whether your landlord or your potential landlord has registered their property with them. 

Having some of the following information with you may be helpful when you make your request:

1.      Landlord’s full name or company name, if any

2.      Address of property

3.      Addresses of any other properties known to be owned by landlord (helpful to identify landlord if you do not know their name)

4.      Landlord’s phone number or mailing address, if known

Akron            Summit County            Kent            Norton/Barberton


Click the link below for information about Akron’s Landlord Registry.
Akron Landlord Registry

 

g.    Summit County Criminal Justice Information System:  Landlord Eviction history, bankruptcy filings, etc.

Summit County Criminal Justice Information System

 

h.    Summit County Auditor: Landlord holdings, property tax information, payment history, and mailing address.

Summit County Property Tax Information

i.       Clerk of Courts: Eviction, Escrow, and Security Deposit.

Eviction:

1.      If your landlord or property manager serves you with an eviction notice, that notice must contain specific language and be properly served to you in order to be accepted by the court. 

2.      If you have not already done so, you may wish to contact your landlord or property manager to discuss the reason for the eviction notice and attempt to resolve the problem so that they do not proceed with an action against you. 

3.      You may also choose to move out, if possible, so that you are out of the property within 3 business days and try to avoid court action against you. 

4.      A 3-DAY NOTICE IS NOT A COURT ORDER FOR YOU TO MOVE.  If you choose to remain in the property and an eviction action is filed against you, you may wish to find an attorney to assist you with your case.  Links to Legal Resources are provided for you below on this page.  You should seek assistance as soon as possible to allow time for an attorney to be assigned to your case and/or review the facts of your case.  There may be two “causes of action” against you.  They are (1) to determine whether or not to return possession of the rental property to the landlord and (2) to determine damages (money), if any, that you might owe your landlord.  You may wish to prepare a list of rental payments and any other fee payments (late fees, utilities, etc.) you made along with copies of your receipts for those payments or copies of your bank statements showing that your checks to your landlord were cashed. 

5.      Evictions are filed with the Clerk of Courts.  If you have questions about the process and what actions you may take during or in preparation for your hearing, you may contact the Clerk, an attorney, or our office for assistance and additional information. 

6.      Additional information on the eviction process is available through the Cleveland Tenant’s Organization.  Please note that the eviction rules are the same throughout the state of Ohio; however, the information on the Cleveland Tenant’s Organization’s website provides phone numbers specifically for Cleveland residents.  If you need a referral to other local resources where you live, please contact our office at 330-376-6191 or call your local Information and Referral Service (Dial 211 from a land line telephone to be connected in most areas.).

Rent Escrow:

·        If a landlord or property manager does not maintain your unit in a safe and habitable (livable) condition and if you did not cause or create the unsafe or unhealthy conditions, you may serve your landlord with a “Notice to Correct Conditions” Under the Ohio Revised Code, if the landlord receives your notice and does not fix the conditions and if you are current on paying your rent, you may:

o       Put your rent into escrow with the Clerk of Courts

o       Ask the court to issue an order to your landlord that the landlord make the repairs

o       Terminate your lease agreement

·        Please be sure to contact the Clerk of Courts or our office for detailed instructions if you are in doubt about whether you qualify to put your rent into escrow.  Please review the Escrow Checklist to determine whether or not you are eligible to put your rent into escrow. 

·        If you place your rent into escrow, the Clerk will notify your landlord that they have the rent money that you owe for your rental property and that they will withhold it until the landlord makes the necessary repairs.  The landlord must apply to the Clerk to get your rent money after making the repairs.

Getting your Security Deposit Back When you Move Out

·        If you move out of your rental property to another place you should remove your belongings from the rental property, return your keys to the landlord in person or by certified mail or certificate of mail (these forms of mail will provide you with a record), and notify the landlord of your forwarding address. 

o       You may use this sample letter to notify your landlord that you will be moving and are requesting the refund of your security deposit. 

o       You may use this sample letter to request your landlord return your security deposit if you believe that it has been wrongfully withheld from you. 

·        The Ohio Revised Code states that if you have taken the steps under the first bullet above, you were entitled to refund of some or all of your Security Deposit, and your Security Deposit is not returned to you within 30 days, you could take your landlord to small claims court.  Your landlord could be responsible for paying you up to two times the amount he/she was supposed to refund to you, but didn’t. 

·        Your landlord may refund part of your Security Deposit and keep part of it to pay for damages you caused to the unit/house you were renting.  If so, the landlord should provide you with an itemized list of the damages you caused and the fee for making each of the repairs to return the property to its original state.  The landlord may not withhold any part of your Security Deposit for damage caused by normal wear and tear.  The Normal Wear & Tear worksheet provides common examples of what a landlord may and may not withhold money for. 

Contacting your Clerk of Courts:
If you have any questions regarding a small claims issue, eviction court, placing your rent into escrow, copies of court records, or the court process, your local Clerk of Courts can assist you.  Review Cuyahoga Falls Clerk of Court’s website for more information on what a Clerk can and cannot do.  Click your city or county name below to be directed to your local Clerk of Courts. 

Cities:

Akron                                      Barberton                               Boston Heights

Boston Twp.                           Clinton                                    Copley

Coventry                                 Cuyahoga Falls                     Green

Hudson                                   Macedonia                             Munroe Falls

New Franklin                          Northfield                                Northfield Center

Norton                                     Peninsula                               Reminderville

Sagamore Hills                     Silver Lake                             Stow

Tallmadge                              Twinsburg Twp.                     Twinsburg

Counties:

Medina County                      Portage County                     Stark County

Summit County

 

Legal resources and sample Forms for Tenants from FHCS:

Steps to protect your family from Lead Hazards

 

SAMPLE LETTER - PROTEST OF AN ILLEGAL ENTRY

 

SAMPLE LETTER – TERMINATING THE LEASE/RENTAL AGREEMENT

 

SAMPLE LETTER – CONDITIONS ON THE PREMISES NEED REMEDIAL ATTENTION

 

Withheld security deposit

 

 

j.       Setting up your utilities

Before signing a lease, tenants should make sure that you have a clear understanding and documentation in writing in the lease.  You may look at the unit or the building to see that there are separate meters.  If you do not have your own meter, you may wish to ask how you will be billed for your portion of the utilities. 

Water – City of Akron Public Utilities Bureau

www.ci.akron.oh.us/pubutl.html

 

The water bill stays in LL’s name.  If unit has its own meter which tenant has sole control over, LL may have bill sent directly to unit for tenant to pay.  Landlords or condominium associations may divide total bill for building or structure by number of units to determine each unit’s portion of the bill.  State law prohibits landlords or condominium associations from making a profit on billing tenants for utilities. 

Gas – Dominion East Ohio

www.dom.com

 

o       If you are a new customer’s there is no set-up fee

o       Call with the address of the property you are moving into

o       Landlord’s Name

o       Personal information (Legal Name) no nick names

o       Social Security # (used to verify if there has been previous service, balances, etc.)

o       A good Phone #

o       Place of employment

o       No credit check is required

 

Electric – First Energy or Ohio Edison or your local carrier

www.ohioedison.com

 

o       Need name and address of person applying for service

o       If the person has never had service a SS # is required

o       A credit check and identity check is done through the Credit Bureau (Experian)

§         Depending on the credit score will determine if a deposit is required

§         Identity verification

o       Deposit is determined by the average usage of the current resident or new location and 1/3 of that amount….ex: average use is $50 the deposit would be $66 ($50 + 1/3 of $50)

o        If person is eligible for utility assistance through HEAP the security deposit could be waived.  Customer would have to go to the local heap agency for eligibility requirements.

Connections fees – no connection fees

Reconnection fees – no reconnection fees to start service

Disconnection fee – there is a $20 fee

 

k.    Tenant-Landlord Mediation Resources

Fair Housing Contact Service
FHCS does not have a formal mediation process in place; however, the agency is able to provide informal assistance with your written permission to attempt to resolve a dispute between you (renter) and your landlord or property manager.

l.       Legal Assistance

Akron Bar Association

www.akronbar.org

 

The Akron Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service is a non-profit public service.  Contact with our service puts you in touch with a pre-screened lawyer with whom you may schedule a ˝ hour appointment for a $30.00 fee (instead of the lawyer's normal hourly fee).  This fee is waived for personal bankruptcy, SSI, workers compensation and personal injury.  Fees for additional services beyond the consultation are arranged between you and the lawyer.  Often the consultation is all that is needed

 

What of I just have a quick question and don’t want a ˝ hour consultation?


The Ask-An-Attorney Program is offered the second and fourth Fridays of each month from 9:00-11:00 a.m.  Call the Akron Bar Association at 330-253-5007 to speak to the attorney on duty that morning.  He or she will answer your question or advise you if you need to have a thirty minute consultation for your legal problem.  "Ask-An-Attorney" is also offered on Friday mornings from 8:20 a.m. on WAKR Radio (1590 AM).  Call 330-869-9800 to speak with the volunteer lawyer.

 

Community Legal Aid

www.communitylegalaid.org

What is Community Legal Aid?

Community Legal Aid (CLA) is a non-profit corporation governed by local lawyers, members of the client community and others concerned about equal access to justice.  CLA specializes in poverty law.  They are devoted to providing free, high-quality civil legal services to eligible clients.  CLA is an organization that helps the poor and elderly achieve and maintain self-sufficiency through legal representation and the provision of information, advice and self-help tools.  CLA also provides information about laws and the legal system to those who work with the poor and elderly so that they may better serve their clients.

What kind of problems should I call about?

·         Consumer law cases including contract disputes, creditor problems, bankruptcies, etc.

·         Family law cases including domestic violence, divorce, custody, visitation, etc.

·         Housing law cases including evictions and rental problems for both private and subsidized housing; homeownership issues including foreclosure and other home loan problems, etc.

·         Health law cases including Medicaid, Medicare and private health insurance issues

·         Administrative law cases including OWF, food stamps, child care supplements, SSI, Social Security and unemployment compensation, etc.

·         Probate matters including guardianship defense, wills, living wills, small estates, powers of attorney, etc.

Medina County

http://www.co.medina.oh.us/fairhousing/home.htm

 

The Medina County Commissioners and the Cities of Brunswick, Medina, and Wadsworth formed a Fair Housing Consortium to acknowledge the county's commitment to the policy of fair and equal access to housing for all residents of the county.  Residents are encouraged to acquaint themselves with their rights and protections under the law, regardless of their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, familial status or disability.

 

 

Ohio Legal Rights Services

http://olrs.ohio.gov/ASP/HomePage.asp

 

Ohio Legal Rights Services (OLRS) is the state protection and advocacy system for Ohioans with disabilities.  OLRS serves people who are developmentally disabled, mentally ill, or have another significant physical or mental impairment that interferes with a substantial life activity, such as mobility or learning, and who are eligible under OLRS' program requirements. Some OLRS programs have additional eligibility requirements, such as receiving social security or vocational rehabilitation services.

Every state is required to have a Protection and Advocacy (P & A) system for people with disabilities. If you have a disability but do not live in Ohio, you can find your state's P & A system on the National Disability Rights Network Web site.

There are particular problem areas and cases that OLRS will not accept. Because of program and funding limits, OLRS does not generally take cases: that other agencies routinely accept; where the court appoints counsel or the client is already represented by an attorney; involving malpractice suits or of a general legal nature when the problem is not directly related to the person's disability. OLRS does not provide representation in criminal matters.

When OLRS is not able to take your case, OLRS may be able to provide referrals.

 

Portage County

www.co.portage.oh.us

www.co.portage.oh.us/communites

 

Stark County Bar Association

www.starkctybar.com

 

As a public service, the Stark County Bar Association serves as a bridge between the public and the legal community by assisting persons who have legal questions, or need legal advice but do not know where to turn for a lawyer. Referrals are made based on legal specialties or geography.

The Stark County Bar Association offers a one half-hour consultation with an attorney for a fee of $15.00, which will be due at the time of your consultation. The Lawyer Referral Service refers callers to private, regular-fee attorneys only. During your consultation, the attorney will estimate the time and fees required to resolve your legal problem. If you believe the attorney meets your needs, subsequent fees for such services are agreed upon by the attorney and you. You are under no obligation to retain the attorney.

The Lawyer Referral Service does not make arrangements for reduced fees or free legal services. These cases are handled by Community Legal Aid Services, Inc. Call 330-456-8361 for more information.

 m.    Ohio Landlord-Tenant Law

Information on the Ohio Revised Code on the Landlord-Tenant Law can be found by clicking here.  You will find helpful information on Tenants’ and Landlords’ rights and responsibilities under Ohio law. 

 

Ohio Landlord Tenant Laws ( Revised Handout )

Quiet Enjoyment Tenant Letter

Escrow Checklist

Letter to Correct Conditions

Illegal Entry Sample Letter

Normal Wear and Tear

Notice to Move-Out

Move in, Move out Checklist

 

441 Wolf Ledges Parkway, Suite 200, Akron OH, 44311
Office: (330) 376-6191    Fax: (330) 376-8391

Email FHCS