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Ohio Security Deposit Laws

The laws and responsibilities of tenants and landlords are found primarily in state law, including what may be included in a contract and regulations regarding security deposits. Some states have limits on how much a landlord may require for a security deposit. Ohio doesn't have a limit, but does require payment of five percent annual interest on most deposits (landlords in Ohio and other states with similar laws typically put these funds in interest-bearing accounts).

Ohio landlords also are required to return their tenant's deposit (minus any legitimate deductions) in a timely manner after the lease ends. It's always in your best interest as a tenant to take note of any existing damage before the lease term begins, in case there's a dispute later.

Learn about Ohio's security deposit laws in the following sections.

Ohio Security Deposit Laws: The Basics

If you're a tenant in Ohio, you'll want to understand your rights and responsibilities, regardless of whether you speak "legalese." Local ordinances (city and county) also may govern certain rules for landlords and tenants. The following summary of Ohio's security deposit laws will help you cut through the legal jargon and understand your rights as a tenant.

Code Sections

Ohio Revised Code, Section 5321.16

Security Deposit Limits

There's no limit on the amount a landlord may require for a security deposit.

However, any security deposit of $50 or one month's rent (whichever is greater) shall bear 5 percent annual interest if the tenant is in the property for at least 6 months. This interest shall be paid annually to the tenant.

Return of the Security Deposit

Landlord is required to return the tenant's security deposit within 30 days, minus any deductions.

Tenant shall provide the landlord with a forwarding or new address where the landlord may send written notice of the itemized deductions from the deposit and any amount due. Failure to provide an address forfeits the tenant's right to legal action for a landlord's nonpayment of the deposit balance.

Deduction From Security Deposit

Deductions (which must be itemized in a written notice to the tenant) from the security deposit may include:

  • Past due rent;
  • Cleaning fees; and
  • Damages (including any monetary losses resulting from noncompliance with the rental agreement or certain statutory requirements).

Security Deposit Disputes

If the landlord fails to return the tenant's past due balance within 30 days or fails to provide an itemized list of deductions, the tenant may recover their losses in a civil claim.

The tenant in such an action may claim damages in an amount equal to that which was wrongfully withheld, plus reasonable attorney fees.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

  • Ohio Law - Information about Ohio statutes, including those pertaining to criminal, family, employment, and injury law.
  • Official State Codes - Links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and DC.

Ohio Security Deposit Laws: Related Resources

Get Legal Help With Your Ohio Security Deposit Concerns

Scraping together enough cash to pay first and last month's rent, in addition to the security deposit, can make renting a new place stressful. But when a landlord fails to return your deposit on time or deducts more than what's fair, it can break the bank. Protect your rights as a tenant today by reaching out to an experienced Ohio landlord-tenant law attorney near you.

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