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I have fallen behind on my rent. Can my landlord change the locks or cut off my utilities to make me move?

No. It is unlawful for a landlord to change the locks, terminate a utility service, take a tenant’s property, or do anything else to make the rental unit uninhabitable in order to force a tenant to move. This is sometimes called “constructive eviction.” It is also unlawful for your landlord to set your personal property out without a court order. This is sometimes called a “self-help eviction.”

If a tenant has missed a rent payment, violated the lease agreement or failed to meet their duties under the Ohio Landlord-Tenant Law, the landlord must serve the tenant a notice to vacate, then file an eviction action in the local court. The tenant may appear in court at the hearing, and present any defenses or explanation they wish. The court will decide whether the tenant will be evicted. The landlord then must follow court procedure for a court-ordered move out. It is unlawful for a landlord to attempt an eviction outside of the court system.

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