Q: I'm a landlord in Ohio. My tenant has told me last month that he didn't want to abide by lease terms due to covid19.
He is supposed to have a lease through June 30th and the lease spells out that the security deposit shall not be used as last months rent. He wants to use security deposit for May rent and move out a month early, because he found a house that he's buying. He also stated his wife lost her job due to covid and his hours are down, but given that he isn't going to be experiencing homelessness and chose to buy a house, I am not as sympathetic. What are my rights in Ohio now as a landlord? Can I evict?
A: OH court activity is suspended in Ohio. You can file an eviction complaint with the court, but an eviction hearing might not take place for a couple months. If tenant moves out sooner, that won't help you. But an eviction filing is a permanent court record that can make it difficult to rent from a landlord who checks. A landlord can also make an adverse entry on tenant's credit report, lowering the credit score and making it difficult to rent from a landlord who checks credit. So you might use that as leverage with the tenant. If tenant does not pay May rent, you can sue, but it is probably not cost-effective. With the virus lockdown, tenants and landlord are both facing financial difficulties, and there really is no effective way to address that.
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