The Basics of Ohio's Security Deposit Law

Security deposit limits and 4 reasons you can take deductions

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Landlords in the state of Ohio are allowed to charge their tenants a security deposit in addition to the monthly rent collected. The laws included in the landlord-tenant act explain what a landlord can and cannot do when dealing with security deposits. Here are five of the most basic questions about security deposits in Ohio.

1. How Much Can a Landlord Collect as a Security Deposit in Ohio?

2. 4 Reasons a Landlord Can Keep a Tenant's Security Deposit in Ohio

3. 2 Times Security Deposits Must Earn Interest

4. 30 Days to Return Security Deposit

5. Transferring the Security Deposit in Ohio When You Sell Your Property

How much can a landlord collect as a security deposit in Ohio?

In the state of Ohio, there is no statewide limit on how much a landlord can charge a tenant as a security deposit.

4 reasons a landlord can keep a tenant’s security deposit in Ohio

In the state of Ohio, you may be able to keep all or a portion of a tenant’s security deposit for the following reasons:

2 times security deposits must earn interest in Ohio

In the state of Ohio, there are specific requirements for storing certain security deposits. Deposits that are:

  • Greater than $50 or one month’s rent, whichever is greater,
    • and
  • Part of a lease agreement that is six months or longer

Must earn interest on the amount in excess of the $50, or one month’s rent, at a rate of five percent per year. The landlord is required to pay this interest to the tenant on an annual basis.

You have 30 days to the return security deposit in Ohio

30 Days:

In Ohio, landlords must return a tenant’s security deposit within 30 days of tenant move-out.

Written Itemized List:

If the landlord has made any deductions from the tenant’s security deposit, the landlord must include a written itemized list which spells out all deductions and the amounts charged. Landlords must be specific and thorough when listing the deductions.

For example, if a landlord deducts money from the security deposit for “cleaning,” this may not hold up in court. Even though the landlord could have meant, “cleaning for damages caused in excess of normal wear and tear,” if this is not specifically stated in the written itemized list, it would be interpreted as money withheld for basic cleaning costs, which is not an allowable deduction from the security deposit.

Forwarding Address:

In addition, the tenant must provide the landlord, in writing, with a forwarding address where the security deposit can be sent. If the tenant fails to provide the landlord with a forwarding address, the landlord will not be penalized for failing to return the deposit within the 30-day window.

If however, the tenant has supplied the landlord with a proper forwarding address in writing, and the landlord fails to return the tenant’s security deposit within the 30 day window, along with a written list of itemized deductions, if deductions have been taken, the tenant is entitled to the money owed to them, plus damages in an amount equal to the money wrongfully withheld plus any attorney’s fees.

Transferring the security deposit when you sell your property in Ohio

If a landlord in Ohio sells his or her property, he or she must either:

  1. Return the security deposit to the tenant and notify the new owner that the security deposit has been returned to the tenant
    1. Or
  2. Transfer the security deposit to the new owner and notify the tenant in writing that the new owner is now in possession of their security deposit.

What is Ohio’s security deposit law?

For the actual text governing the security deposit law in the state of Ohio, please consult Ohio Revised Code Annotated §5321.16.