So the day comes when you, the property owner, have had enough. Tired of calling, tired of leaving notes, tired of getting promises to pay next Friday. Its time to bite the bullet and realize they will never catch up and you need to move on.
So how do you do it? Either with an attorney or on your own the process is similar in Ohio.
Step 1: 3 Day Notice or Notice to Quit
Tenants have to be served with this official notice, that can be purchased or downloaded. Make sure to get the official language or it will not be recognized in Ohio. Then you must count the days to put on your form and post the notice on their door, hand to them, or mail.
TIPS: 3 days does not include days the court is closed, weekends, holidays, and counting starts on posting or receipt by tenant. If you post, take a picture and always keep a copy of the form. Make sure you put each occupant who lives in the unit on the notice.
Step 2: Filing at the office of the clerk
If they are still in the property on the 4th official day, you can file for eviction, as long as they have not paid and you have not taken any rent since the posting.
This is the complicated part, and you should get help by an attorney or property manager. County officials will not help as they are not allowed. Once you do your first eviction the rest are easier. There will be possibly two causes of action to file, one for the evicting them out of the unit, and one for any money they owe you. You will need to pay for the eviction and bring a copy of the compalint for each occupant as well as lease copies. Ask for bailiff service with regular mail followup so as to have your best chance of service. If they do not get the papers by the bailiff, the case will be postponed or dismissed.
Step 3: Court Date and Appearance
When you have your date, appear early, with all your forms. Cases are normally called by order of signing in to the bailiff, and there could be a lot of cases! When you are called, answer only what is asked, don't get into other issues or fight the tenants if they appear. Its about paying rent at this point. You will be generally asked the following questions:
- Did you post the Notice to Vacate?
- Was the tenant behind in rent at that point?
- Is the tenant still there?
- Is the tenant still behind?
If the answer is still yes to all, then you will normally win. Then back to the clerk to file the "writ of restitution". More money, more paperwork.
Step 4: Red Tag
Once you file for the writ, the bailiff will tag the door for final notice, normally giving 5 days to leave. Most tenants leave now as they know its over, so check the house and watch for movers. If they move you can rekey and take possession, but only if its empty or they indicate they are out. DO NOT REKEY unless you are sure!
Step 5: Set-Out
What if they don't go? Back to the courthouse, pay the setout fee, and schedule a set-out with the bailiff. You will need about 4-5 people to do the move in 2 hours, as thats all the time you usually get, and bring boxes and bags. In most areas their possessions get set to the curb, but some locations make you store it-check with your county.
So this is the easy version, and I suggest an attorney who specializes in evictions, but this is the basic process.