Ohio Tenant Screening

Last Updated: January 20, 2015


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Although there are conflicting narratives regarding the origin of the nickname, Ohio is historically known as the Buckeye State (relating to the Ohio buckeye tree) and Ohioans are also known as Buckeyes.

How to Screen a Tenant in the State of Ohio

DISCLAIMER: We do our best to keep this information accurate and up-to-date, but we cannot guarantee either. The most recent law changes may not be reflected here. We do not intend this information to be legal advice, nor are we qualified to advise you regarding legal matters. We highly recommend consulting a lawyer qualified to discuss landlord-tenant law to advise you. We do not specifically endorse any of the websites linked from these pages, nor are we in any way affiliated with the agencies or individuals who have published them. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of information posted on these sites. If you find a problem on this page, please contact us so that we can get it fixed.

Step 1: Know Your Rights & Responsibilities

The Laws

Landlords and property managers are subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act [PDF] (FCRA) during the tenant screening process. Additionally, Ohio has laws that affect the tenant screening process. You can find the current Ohio landlord-tenant Codes. If you are finding the formalities of the state code daunting, you might want to check out these friendlier sites:

Recent Law News

Meth Law Questioned: The legislation was proposed at last weeks council meeting. As written, property owners whose homes are used to manufacture methamphetamine or similar drugs would be liable for the cost of the investigation and cleanup of the property.

Step 2: Required Forms & Disclosures

Tip: before you rent for the first time, consider hiring a lawyer to review all of the documents you will use during the application and rental process to ensure that you are protected to the fullest extent of the law.

Before Screening:

  1. Rental Application [PDF] (this must be completed in full by the applicant prior to screening)
  2. Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act [PDF]
  3. Consumer Report Disclosure [PDF]

After Screening:

If you are ACCEPTING an applicant:

  1. Move-In Checklist [PDF]
  2. Mold: Ohio law and the laws of various municipalities in Ohio do not specifically regulate the prevention, recognition, evaluation or control of mold. However, there are laws that may apply to losses suffered due to mold, including general workplace health and safety laws, landlord-tenant law, contract law, insurance law and tort law. In addition, statutes and regulations governing certain real estate transactions impose specific disclosure and investigation duties on sellers, buyers and realtors. OSBA Mold Info
  3. Lease Agreement (written), containing or attaching the following information:
    1. Owner/Agent Identity - this should include name and address, and if the owner/agent is out-of-state it must include contact information for a resident of the COUNTY in which the rental is located that can act as an agent for the purposes of serving notices and process.
    2. Security Deposit - this must include the amount of the deposit and the conditions under which some or all of the deposit may be withheld. It must also include the name and banking institution holding the deposit.
    3. Non-refundable Fees - explicitly describe any non-refundable fees, and state clearly that they are non-refundable.
  4. Fire Protection & Safety Information: You must disclose the available fire protection and safety information specific to the unit you are renting, including smoking policy, evacuation plans, and who to notify in case of emergency.
  5. Owner Or Agent Identity: In Ohio, every written rental agreement must contain the name and address of the owner and the name and address of the owners agent, if any. If the owner or the owners agent is a corporation, partnership, limited partnership, association, trust, or other entity, the address must be the principal place of business in the county in which the residential property is situated. If there is no place of business in such county, then its principal place of business in this state must be disclosed, including the name of the person in charge thereof. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. 5321.18)

If you are DECLINING an applicant:

  1. Adverse Action Notice [PDF]

Step 3: Order a Tenant Screening Report

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