Marengo, OH asked in Real Estate Law, Environmental, Health Care Law and Landlord - Tenant for Ohio

Q: Renting in Ohio, landlord did not disclose mouse infestation and mold before leasing. Can I break my lease early?

Been dealing with mouse infestation since moving in to house in November 2019. Landlord admits to issues x 12 years with pest control and bait stations around the house to keep "in-check" however we continue to catch mice in regular traps and have droppings in drawers and on the floor. I have to keep my clean silverware in a Tupperware container and wash everything before we use it. When we first moved in we smelled an awful smell when turning the stove or oven on and couldn't figure out what it was. In April we figured out how to open the stove top (flat glass top) and a mouse had bit the wires and was still connected to it with droppings and insulation inside the oven). She gave $100 off the rent and has yet to replace the stove to this day, wires are only electrical taped. Also black mold in the garage that the landlord admits to knowing about and doesn't feel the need to do anything because it is not a living area. Rent to Escrow does not apply to her, she has one rental.

1 Lawyer Answer
Taylor P Waters
Taylor P Waters
  • Worthington, OH
  • Licensed in Ohio

A: Likely, yes. As part of the landlord tenant act, landlords must do the following: (1) Comply with the requirements of all applicable building, housing, health, and safety codes that materially affect health and safety; (2) Make all repairs and do whatever is reasonably necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition; (3) Keep all common areas of the premises in a safe and sanitary condition; (4) Maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, and air conditioning fixtures and appliances, and elevators, supplied or required to be supplied by the landlord. 5321.04 (A).

You must give notice in writing to the landlord, specifying the acts, omissions, or code violations that constitute noncompliance, send the notice to where you usually send your rent. If after the landlord receives the notice and fails to fix the problems within a reasonable time, you may within 30 days do one of the following: (1) Deposit all rent that is due and thereafter becomes due the landlord with the clerk of the municipal or county court having jurisdiction in the territory in which the residential premises are located; (2) Apply to the court for an order directing the landlord to remedy the condition. As part of the application, the tenant may deposit rent pursuant to division (B)(1) of this section, may apply for an order reducing the periodic rent due the landlord until the landlord remedies the condition, and may apply for an order to use the rent deposited to remedy the condition. In any order issued pursuant to this division, the court may require the tenant to deposit rent with the clerk of court as provided in division (B)(1) of this section; or (3) Terminate the rental agreement.

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