In Ohio (and most states), landlords are prohibited from evicting residential tenants by "self help," such as by changing the locks on the rental unit or shutting off the tenant's utilities. To evict a residential tenant, the landlord must go through a judicial eviction, usually referred to as a "forcible entry and detainer" or "F.E.D." action. Before the eviction can begin, the landlord is required to give a three-day notice to the tenant to vacate the property. I've posted part of the statute below. Lately I've received a few questions about what constitutes the three days.
Under the general provisions section of the Ohio Revised Code relating to computation of time, the three-day period does not include the day of service, but it does include the last of the three days. In other words, three days must pass after the day of service, and then on the fourth day, you can proceed with eviction. However, if the last of the three days falls on a Sunday or a legal holiday, then you need to add a day.
Here's part of the section from the Revised Code requiring the three-day notice:
[A] party desiring to commence an [eviction action] shall notify the adverse party to leave the premises, for the possession of which the action is about to be brought, three or more days before beginning the action, by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by handing a written copy of the notice to the defendant in person, or by leaving it at the defendant's usual place of abode or at the premises from which the defendant is sought to be evicted.
Every notice given under this section by a landlord to recover residential premises shall contain the following language printed or written in a conspicuous manner: "You are being asked to leave the premises. If you do not leave, an eviction action may be initiated against you. If you are in doubt regarding your legal rights and obligations as a tenant, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance."
Bear in mind that local rules also come into play, and they often vary from court to court. What works in Cincinnati will not necessarily work the exact same way in Cleveland, for example. Your best bet is to check with an attorney who is familiar with the local rules in your area. I certainly wouldn't want to have to arrive at court for the eviction hearing only to find that I have to start all over because the notice was invalid!
Please remember that these posts are for informational purposes only and should not be considered or relied on as legal advice. If you are ever in doubt about your rights under the law, you should consult an attorney familiar with the law in your area.
Ben Bauer is a Cincinnati-based attorney who writes about things in law and life that he finds interesting.