Work Out a Settlement
Find a way to work out an agreement between landlord and tenant to solve your dispute

Make a settlement agreement that can work for both sides.

Are you open to finding a solution with your landlord or tenant outside of court? You can make a settlement agreement that helps both the landlord and tenant reach their goals.

Anytime before, during, or after an eviction lawsuit, the landlord and tenant can work out their problems outside the court. They can make a settlement agreement together.

Settlement Agreement: 4 key things to know

1. It can stop the lawsuit and the eviction process.

2. The tenant and the landlord can agree to what terms are in the agreement.

3. Make sure to get it in writing, and to keep any receipts.

4. Come to court to show it to judge, and then make sure the case is dismissed (over).

A settlement agreement can help both the landlord and the tenant

How a settlement can help the landlord

If you can come to an agreement with the tenant, you could:

  • Avoid the costs of going to court,
  • Keep your property occupied, and
  • Help establish a payment plan that will make you whole if any back-rent is owed.

How a settlement can help the tenant

If you can come to an agreement with the landlord, you could:

  • Stay in your home with a new arrangement,
  • Have more time to move and make plans for your transition, or
  • Find a payment plan that will help you get back on track with rent payments to stay in your home.

What will a settlement agreement give me, in terms of time or money?

There are no legal rules for how much money or time the landlord or the tenant can ask for. You should think about what you want and what you think the other side would agree to.

Any settlement should be written down, signed by both sides, and shown to the judge at the eviction trial.

What the Landlord might ask for in a Settlement Agreement

  • Getting paid for rent owed, and late fees for unpaid rent,
  • Getting paid for utility charges,
  • Reimbursements for damage costs to the home, or
  • Reimbursements for legal fees for having a lawyer to deal with the problems.

What the Tenant might ask for in a Settlement Agreement

  • Staying in the Home,
  • Getting more time to move out, or
  • Creating a payment plan to get current on rent and other costs.

What are important tips for working out a settlement?

If you are a tenant or landlord, what are some things to do to make a settlement agreement with the other side?

1. Reach out: You can contact the other side at any time, to see if they are open to talking about a settlement agreement. A tenant can reach out to their landlord, property manager, or their attorney.

2. Get it in Writing: Be sure to get any agreement made between you and the other side in writing. This will make sure that it can be enforced.

3. Get Receipts: Get written receipts of everything you pay to the other side as part of the agreement. This will be evidence of paying what you agreed to.

4. Still Come to Court: Even if you have worked it out, both the landlord and the tenant should still come to court. 

  • If you receive papers from the court saying the case has been dismissed, then you don’t have to come to court. 
  • Otherwise, you should still come to court — even if the other side tells you that the eviction will be dismissed. Still come to make sure the judge knows there is a settlement agreement.
  • Bring the written settlement agreement and receipts to your hearing.

Find Legal Help

Get legal information or speak with a free lawyer at the court’s Help Center 

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

Find a Lawyer to Represent You in Court 

Call Legal Aid Society of Cincinnati at 513-241-9400, or go to You may qualify for a free lawyer. If eligible, Legal Aid could represent you in court.

Hire a private lawyer

Visit 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.

© 2019 Hamilton County Municipal Help Center