When landlords file an eviction lawsuit against a tenant, they can also sue the tenant for money they say the tenant owes. If they sue for money related to eviction, this is called a “2nd Cause”. This is handled completely separate from the "First Cause" (whether you can be evicted from your home).
If you do not think you owe the landlord money or disagree with the amount, you MUST file an Answer with the Clerk of Courts within 28 days after you receive the plaintiff’s complaint. Find a blank Answer form here.
If you do not file an Answer, your landlord could get a Default Judgment against you. This means that the court will give them a judgment allowing them to collect whatever money they say you owe.
1. The money claims are a second, optional part of the eviction lawsuit the landlord may file against you.
2. You have 28 days to respond after you get served with the lawsuit.
3. If you don’t respond, the court may give the landlord a judgment that allows them to collect any money they say you owe.
4. You can tell the court why you don’t owe the money, and what money you believe the landlord owes you.
You can support your case about how much money you owe to the landlord, by preparing evidence and testimony, including the following:
You can file a counterclaim.
If you believe the landlord owes you money, you can also add a Counterclaim to your Answer. This will tell the court what you think the landlord owes you.
A Counterclaim must list each of your “claims” or reasons you believe the landlord legally owes you money. Your claims must be proven in court.
Here are some typical eviction counterclaims that the tenant can request money for:
Visit or call the Help Center at 513-946-5650 to get legal information or to make a free 40 minute appointment with a lawyer. They cannot represent you in court. For more information, visit room 113 of the Hamilton County Courthouse or visit https://www.cincyhelpcenter.org
Call Legal Aid Society of Cincinnati at 513-241-9400, or go to https://www.lascinti.org/. You may qualify for a free lawyer. If eligible, Legal Aid could represent you in court.
Visit https://cincybar.org or call 513-381-8359 for a referral. You can ask them about the Modest Means Program. This may let you get a private lawyer for a more affordable price.
Request a translator or disability accommodation at your court hearing.
Call the Hamilton County Municipal Court at 513-946-5200 to make your request.