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Mark K. McCown: Eviction depends on what is in contract

Dear Lawyer Mark: I have been renting out a house I inherited to a friend of mine.

She lost her job, and I wanted to help her out because she couldn’t afford her old place.

I told her if she would fix up the house and keep it neat, she could stay there until she got back on her feet.

When I told her that, she told me she should have a job within a few months and could start paying me rent then.

Well now, it’s been over six months and she still doesn’t have a job.

I can’t afford the property taxes that are due without her paying rent, and told her she had to finally start or I would have to evict her.

She told me I couldn’t evict her because she did work, and now she won’t speak to me.

What can I do? — Taken Advantage Of

Dear Taken: Yes, you can evict her, but you need to follow certain procedures.

A person can be evicted from property if they are in breach of a written rental agreement, haven’t paid rent, or even if the property owner just wants the property back, but the procedures can be different depending on the reason.

If there is a written agreement that the tenant is breaking, or if there is an agreed upon monthly rental amount that the tenant has stopped paying, the landlord must give a three-day notice to the tenant before filing an eviction, and should file a copy of the notice with the eviction.

If there is no written agreement and no agreed upon amount that hasn’t been paid, as in your case, then the landlord must give a 30 day notice to vacate the premises, and then also a three-day notice prior to filing the eviction.

Again, the notices should be filed with the eviction.

The eviction can be filed in one of two courts: either the municipal court having jurisdiction, or the common pleas court.

Most landlords file in municipal court, as it is cheaper and typically faster than the common pleas court.

When an eviction is filed, the landlord must state in the complaint that the tenant has been served with the appropriate notices to leave, but is refusing to give the premises back to the landlord.

The court will serve the tenant a copy of the complaint, and typically schedule a hearing within two–four weeks.

At the hearing, the magistrate or judge will determine whether or not the landlord is entitled to force out the tenant.

If the case is heard by a magistrate, the tenant is given a couple of weeks to move out.

If a judge hears the case, the tenant may be given time, or could be ordered out immediately.

If as part of the lawsuit the landlord requested judgment for back rent owed, or for damages to the property, the court will schedule a future hearing to take evidence as to the amounts owed.

Though for the Week: “The service we render others is the rent we pay for our room on earth.” Wilfred Grenfell

It’s The Law is written by attorney Mark K. McCown in response to legal questions received by him. If you have a question, please forward it to Mark K. McCown, 311 Park Avenue, Ironton, Ohio 45638, or e-mail it to him at LawyerMark@yahoo.com. The right to condense and/or edit all questions is reserved.