You must follow the law if you want to evict a tenant. Landlords cannot force tenants to leave a home, unless they have an eviction order from the court. To get an eviction order, you must follow the legal process correctly.
You can settle your problems outside of court with a settlement agreement. Landlords can solve problems with tenants outside of court. They can work things out by making a settlement agreement that helps both sides reach their goals.
This map shows how an eviction might happen in Hamilton County, Ohio.
Please note that you may stop the eviction process before or after the lawsuit has been filed.
You can stop the eviction process by:
The national Eviction Moratorium halts evictions for nonpayment of rent until March 31, 2021 if the tenant meets certain requirements and gives the landlord a signed declaration.
How can a landlord evict a tenant? This guide gives more detail on how landlords can pursue an eviction and money claims against a tenant.
If you need further help, go to the Get Help page for more assistance.
Before filing an eviction lawsuit against a tenant, you must provide your tenant(s) with a proper Notice to Leave. The notices are based on the reason for filing the eviction.
The Landlord must make sure the Tenant gets this notice. It is usually served by leaving the notice at the property, in a conspicuous place, like taped to the front door.
Nonpayment of rent requires a 3-day notice. Example: When rent is due on the 1st and late after the 5th, the landlord could give a 3-day notice on the 6th if rent is not paid, telling the tenant to leave by the 9th. The landlord could then file an eviction on the 10th.
Terminating a month-to-month tenancy requires at least a 30-day notice followed by a 3 –day notice. The 30-day notice must be given a full 30-days before the “periodic tenancy date,” usually meaning the day rent is due. So the landlord often needs to give more than 30 days. Example: Rent is due on the 1st. On November 12th, the landlord gives the tenant a notice terminating the month-to-month tenancy telling the tenant they need to leave by December 31st (at least 30 days before the next time rent is due). If the tenant did not move, the landlord could give a 3-day notice on January 1st for overstaying and file an eviction a full 3 days later, on January 5th.
Breaches of a written lease require either a 30-day notice followed by a 3-day notice if the breach is covered under the tenant’s obligations under law that affects health and safety. In this situation, the tenant has a right to fix the violation. If the breach is not covered under the tenant’s obligations, then the landlord can give a 3-day notice.
You may be able to work out a payment plan or settlement agreement with the tenant, without going to trial.
In order to start an eviction lawsuit in Ohio, you need to file a complaint in court and ensure the tenant is served with notice of the lawsuit.
If the tenant has not fixed the situation or left the property within the deadline of the notice, then the landlord can file a Complaint with the Hamilton County Municipal Court, along with a copy of the Notice to Vacate that was given to the tenant.
On the complaint, you can ask for the 2 following things:
1. For an eviction order to remove the tenant from the home (called First Cause by the court).
2. For an order to recover money the tenant owes you, including back rent, late charges, utility bills, and potential damages (called Second Cause by the court).
The landlord and tenant may work the problems out before the Eviction Trial. They can come to an agreement about the issues in the lawsuit: money owed, staying in or leaving the home, or time left there.
Read more about working out a settlement agreement here. The landlord and tenant should still come to the court for the Eviction Trial, even if they made an agreement. They can present the agreement to the judge.
The court will hold a trial on whether you can evict the tenant or not. (Any claims on money owed will be held at a later hearing.) The court may side with you and issue an eviction order, that you can give to the bailiff to set the tenant out.
The first trial (or hearing) deals with the actual eviction of the tenant. At this trial, the court will hear your side and the tenant’s defenses or counterclaims. The court will decide whether to give you an eviction order to remove the tenant or not.
If you work it out with the tenant, then you can tell the judge that you have reached a settlement. This can stop the hearing and end the court process.
If the court decides for the tenant at the eviction trial, you are not allowed to remove them from the home.
If the court decides for you (the landlord) at the eviction trial, then you can get an eviction order to have the bailiff present while the tenant is removed from the home
If the court has sided with the landlord at the Eviction Trial, then the landlord must wait the specified time (like 0, 3, or 7 days) to schedule an eviction.
The landlord cannot evict the tenant themselves. They can bring the order to the Bailiff to schedule a set out.
If the tenant does not respond, you can ask the court for a default judgment to collect the money.
If you are suing the tenant for money-related issues (a Second Cause), then there will be a second part to the court process. The tenant has 28 days after being served with the complaint to file an Answer with the court, regarding the money you’re seeking.
--> If the tenant does not file an Answer in 28 days, you can file for a Default Judgment. The court may grant you this because the defendant has not responded in time. You can use this judgment to try to collect money from the tenant.
--> If the tenant does file an Answer, then a second trial will be set by the court.
At this second trial, the court will hear both sides on what money is owed by whom. They will make a judgment about who can collect money, and how much.
Once the tenant files an Answer on the money claims, the Court will schedule a hearing. At this hearing, the Court will ask the tenant and landlord to present evidence and testimony about what money each side owes -- for rent, home damages, living conditions, security deposits, damaged furniture, or other costs.
The court will decide who owes what money, and will issue a judgment for this to be paid.
If the court decides for you (the landlord) at the money trial, then you can get a judgment that will allow you to collect money from the tenant.
If the court decides for the tenant at the money trial, then they may either not have to pay you any of the money, or they may get a judgment that will allow the tenant to collect money that you owe them.
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
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.