Legal Question in Consumer Law in Ohio

I am a landlord who has a tenant who is on a month to month tenancy, after two years. The yearly lease converted to a monthly tenancy over a year ago. She has violated the original lease document and I have sent additional changes and addendums to her and tried to reason by text but she refuses to comply and has complained that I am harassing her. She pays her rent on time, expect for on one occasion. She leaves the property, in Ohio, for extended periods of time during the winter, 4 months, and refuses to see that anyone check to make sure the house is being maintained properly. I have asked her who checks in the past and she has ignored my requests. She claims it is illegal for us to check the house and after I spoke to my insurance provider they suggested it be looked in on a regular basis, possibly have a log book signed to guarantee someone is actually checking the property, to ensure any possible claim would be covered, but tenant claims it is illegal, that Ohio has extended absence, and we are not permitted to see the house is maintained properly. Insurance policies can be deemed void and not pay coverage when the home is unoccupied for prolonged periods of time. There was a power outage, due to a broken tree branch, and it went undiscovered for several days and meat thawed out in her freezer, and she wanted me to pay her $600. It is in the lease agreement that I am not responsible for her personal property. The furnace was also damaged due to be being set at such a low temperature for a long period of time, and I paid that $500 repair myself. I am also concerned about vandalism and pipes bursting. She leaves no lights on in the house, and does not take care of the yard, which are her responsibilities. The house looks "unlived in" at times and my husband and I have started doing yard maintenance that is her responsibility. Can I terminate her monthly rental agreement or can she say it is illegal for me to do so, after I have sent her addendums regarding the above things twice, both coming back unsigned. I have also tried to reason with her by text message and she claims that I am harassing her and everything I'm doing is illegal. She contacted the police department today, and I was told to leave her alone. I have tried to be supportive and patient with her but it has ended up getting me into trouble and I'm only trying to look out for the best interest of my property. Can I end the monthly rental agreement, without issues? Do I need to start eviction? I am frustrated and don't know what the proper next step is. Something must be done because I am beginning to fear for what she may do to the property because she is MAD as a hornet and I'm at my wits end! Thank-!

Asked on 6/21/17, 9:45 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

John Sauter Cloppert, Latanick, Sauter & Washburn

Generally speaking, a landlord can terminate a month-to-month tenancy by giving 30 days notice. After the 30 days, if she's not moved out, you need to post an eviction notice. There are lots of technical requirements in terms of what must be posted, where, and when, so its advisable to hire an attorney to draw up the paperwork and make sure the law is followed. Paying an attorney $300 or so is a lot better than continuing to pay for repairs to the property due to her failure to keep the property in habitable shape. Good luck!

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Answered on 6/21/17, 1:11 pm

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