Legal-Ease: Security deposits for houses, apartments require landlord specificity

Lee R. Schroeder is an Ohio licensed attorney with Schroeder Law LLC in Ottawa. He limits his practice to business, real estate, estate planning and agriculture issues in northwest Ohio. He can be reached at or at (419) 523-5523. This article is not intended to serve as legal advice, and specific advice should be sought from the licensed attorney of your choice based upon the specific facts and circumstances that you face.

Ohio rental laws are very strict, and generally very protective of tenants. This is the reason security deposits are often required.

A landlord can legally request a security deposit of any size. However, if the tenant stays for more than six months, interest must be paid on any amount that is higher than one month’s rent.

When a tenant leaves, they must provide a forwarding address and the landlord must return the security deposit (or a detailed list of repairs) within 30 days.

There are many loopholes and difficulties in this area, so landlords are encouraged to be very clear with the terms of a security deposit.

The relationship between landlords and tenants in properties where people live is very highly regulated in Ohio. Ohio law is generally fair to landlords but very protective of tenants. In that context, landlords frequently require security deposits from their tenants in order to have a certain amount of cash available to repair any damage to the property that took place while the tenant was living in or on the property.

A landlord is permitted to request/demand a security deposit of any size from a tenant. However, if the landlord keeps the deposit for at least six months, the tenant must be paid interest on any part of the security deposit that exceeds one month’s rent (if the rent is at least $50 per month). Because of this requirement to pay interest, many landlords attempt to characterize the amount of a security deposit that exceeds the first month’s rent as being a non-refundable “application fee.”

Read Lee’s full article regarding security deposits in the Lima News here: Legal-Ease: Security deposits for houses, apartments require landlord specificity

Source:, Legal-Ease: Security deposits for houses, apartments require landlord specificity, by Lee R. Schroeder, February 13, 2014.

Posted in Rental Law and tagged , , , .