Ohio. 12 mos. lease, this is my 8th mos. This mos(may) will be the 3rd time I will have to pay a $50 late fee that per my contract is charged after the 7th. She has asked me to leave.My contract does not give a date when late rent will no longer be accepted, it simply states after the 7th $50. Posted a 3 day notice on sat.(which should expire midnight tonight), and she went to my house yesterday and entered the premises to see if I had left because she could not reach me by phone or email(she had no problem leaving a note yesterday stating she entered the house) she came by during work hours...she stated she couldnt see in the windows because the blinds were closed and no car in the driveway..of course there wasnt a car in the driveway, i was working. If she was in question as to whether or not I was still there(because my phone&internet;are off), she should have left a note AFTER the legal 3 days had expired..not entered the property. She needs to go through court proceedings before she can enter the house correct? I know she trespassed&also;insinuated in her note the 3 days had passed(if she counted wknds). Can she evict if I pay rent+late fee next week.
1 Answer from Attorneys
In Ohio, if the tenant can show the court that there has been a pattern of late rent payments which the landlord has accepted without protest in the past, such that the tenant has come to rely upon that course of conduct being accepted, the landlord is not allowed to suddenly pull the rug out from underneath the tenant's feet when the tenant is next late.
In order to overcome this course of conduct contrary to the lease (the late payments being accepted without protest), the landlord would have had to write the tenant a letter of strict compliance, telling the tenant that paying the rent late in the past was all fine and good, but from now on, the rent needs to be on time as per the lease. Then, if the tenant is late, then the tenant can be evicted.
Paradoxically, the more the tenant has been late on the rent, the better it is for the tenant. You have only been late a few times, but it may be enough for the defense to the eviction to work. You should offer to pay the rent plus the late fee as soon as possible and arrange to have a witness there so that the witness can tell the court that you offered the rent and the landlord refused it.
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