Ohio Tenant Screening
Last Updated: January 20, 2015
Although there are conflicting narratives regarding the origin of the nickname, Ohio is historically known as the Buckeye State (relating to the Ohio buckeye tree) and Ohioans are also known as Buckeyes.
How to Screen a Tenant in the State of Ohio
DISCLAIMER: We do our best to keep this information accurate and up-to-date, but we cannot guarantee either. The most recent law changes may not be reflected here. We do not intend this information to be legal advice, nor are we qualified to advise you regarding legal matters. We highly recommend consulting a lawyer qualified to discuss landlord-tenant law to advise you. We do not specifically endorse any of the websites linked from these pages, nor are we in any way affiliated with the agencies or individuals who have published them. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of information posted on these sites. If you find a problem on this page, please contact us so that we can get it fixed.
Step 1: Know Your Rights & Responsibilities
Landlords and property managers are subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act [PDF] (FCRA) during the tenant screening process. Additionally, Ohio has laws that affect the tenant screening process. You can find the current Ohio landlord-tenant Codes. If you are finding the formalities of the state code daunting, you might want to check out these friendlier sites:
Recent Law News
Meth Law Questioned: The legislation was proposed at last weeks council meeting. As written, property owners whose homes are used to manufacture methamphetamine or similar drugs would be liable for the cost of the investigation and cleanup of the property.
Step 2: Required Forms & Disclosures
Tip: before you rent for the first time, consider hiring a lawyer to review all of the documents you will use during the application and rental process to ensure that you are protected to the fullest extent of the law.
- Rental Application [PDF] (this must be completed in full by the applicant prior to screening)
- Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act [PDF]
- Consumer Report Disclosure [PDF]
If you are ACCEPTING an applicant:
- Move-In Checklist [PDF]
- Mold: Ohio law and the laws of various municipalities in Ohio do not specifically regulate the prevention, recognition, evaluation or control of mold. However, there are laws that may apply to losses suffered due to mold, including general workplace health and safety laws, landlord-tenant law, contract law, insurance law and tort law. In addition, statutes and regulations governing certain real estate transactions impose specific disclosure and investigation duties on sellers, buyers and realtors. OSBA Mold Info
- Lease Agreement (written), containing or attaching the following information:
- Owner/Agent Identity – this should include name and address, and if the owner/agent is out-of-state it must include contact information for a resident of the COUNTY in which the rental is located that can act as an agent for the purposes of serving notices and process.
- Security Deposit – this must include the amount of the deposit and the conditions under which some or all of the deposit may be withheld. It must also include the name and banking institution holding the deposit.
- Non-refundable Fees – explicitly describe any non-refundable fees, and state clearly that they are non-refundable.
- Fire Protection & Safety Information: You must disclose the available fire protection and safety information specific to the unit you are renting, including smoking policy, evacuation plans, and who to notify in case of emergency.
- Owner Or Agent Identity: In Ohio, every written rental agreement must contain the name and address of the owner and the name and address of the owners agent, if any. If the owner or the owners agent is a corporation, partnership, limited partnership, association, trust, or other entity, the address must be the principal place of business in the county in which the residential property is situated. If there is no place of business in such county, then its principal place of business in this state must be disclosed, including the name of the person in charge thereof. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. 5321.18)
If you are DECLINING an applicant:
- Adverse Action Notice [PDF]
Step 3: Order a Tenant Screening Report
What You’ll Need
- A completed rental application signed by the applicant.
- Some details about your applicant:
- Email address
- Date of birth
- Social Security number
- Previous address
- Bank account number (optional)
- Bank routing number (optional)
What Will Be Covered
- Package Options
- Background Report Coverage for Ohio:
- Criminal, OFAC/Patriot Act & Sex Offender Records – A nationwide search is always performed. These jurisdictions specifically are available in Ohio: Adams Common Pleas Court, Adams County Court, Adams County Sheriffs Office, Allen Court Of Common Pleas, Allen Lima Municipal Court, Ashland Common Pleas Court, Athens Common Pleas Court, Athens Municipal Court, Auglaize Common Pleas And Municipal Courts, Belmont County Court Eastern District, Belmont County Court Northern District, Belmont County Court Western District, Belmont Eastern County Court, Belmont Eastern County Traffic, Belmont Northern County Court, Belmont Northern County Traffic, Belmont Western County Court, Belmont Western County Traffic, Brown Common Pleas Court, Brown Municipal Court, Brown Municipal Court Traffic, Butler Common Pleas And Municipal Courts, Cambridge Municipal Court, Cambridge Municipal Court Traffic, Champaign Municipal Court, City Of Westerville Mayor Court, Clark County Clark Municipal Court, Clark County Common Pleas Court, Clermont Common Pleas, Clermont Most Wanted, Clermont Municipal, Clermont Traffic, Clinton County Common Pleas Court, Clinton Municipal Court, Columbiana Common Pleas, Columbiana County Lisbon Municipal Court, Columbiana East Liverpool Municipal Court, Coshocton Common Pleas Court, Coshocton Municipal Court, Crawford Common Pleas Court, Cuyahoga Bedford Municipal Court, Cuyahoga Common Pleas Court, Cuyahoga County Berea Municipal Court, Cuyahoga County Cleveland Heights Municipal Court, Cuyahoga County Euclid Municipal Court, Cuyahoga County Garfield Heights Municipal Court, Cuyahoga County Parma Municipal Court, Cuyahoga County Rocky River Municipal Court, Cuyahoga County Shaker Heights Municipal, Cuyahoga East Cleveland Municipal Court, Cuyahoga Falls Municipal Court, Cuyahoga Lakewood Municipal Court, Darke Municipal Court, Delaware Common Pleas, OH Department Of Corrections, DOC Most Wanted, DOC Web, Erie County Vermillion Municipal Court, Erie Huron Municipal Court, Fairfield Municipal Court, Fayette Arrest, Fayette Common Pleas Court, Fayette Warrant, Fayette Washington Court House Municipal Court, Franklin Common Pleas, Franklin County Grove City Mayors Court, Franklin County Hilliard Mayors Court, Franklin Mayors Traffic Court, Fulton Common Pleas, Fulton East And West District Court, Gallia Common Pleas, Gallia County Arrest, Gallia Gallipolis Municipal Court, Geauga Common Pleas, Geauga County Chardon Municipal Court, Greene Common Pleas, Guernsey Common Pleas, Hamilton Common Pleas Municipal, Hamilton Municipal Court, Hancock Common Pleas, Hardin Common Pleas, Harrison Municipal Court, Highland County Hillsboro Municipal Court, Hocking Common Pleas, Huron Common Pleas, Huron Norwalk Municipal Court, Jackson Municipal Court, Jefferson Common Pleas Court, Jefferson County Court 1 Toronto, Jefferson County Court 2 Wintersville, Jefferson County Court 3 Dillonvale, Jefferson Steubenville Municipal, Knox County Common Pleas Court, Knox County Mount Vernon Municipal Court, Lake Common Pleas, Lake County Painesville Municipal Court, Lake Mentor Municipal Court, Lawrence Common Pleas Court, Lawrence County Lawrence Municipal Court, Licking Common Pleas, Licking Municipal Court, Logan Common Pleas, Lorain County Avon Lake Municipal Court, Lorain County Elyria Municipal Court, Lorain County Lorain Municipal Court, Lorain County Oberlin Municipal Court, Lorain Court Of Common Pleas, Lucas Common Plea Court, Lucas County Maunee Municipal Court, Lucas County Sylvania Municipal Court, Madison Common Pleas Court, Mahoning Austintown, Mahoning County Boardman Court, Mahoning County Canfield Court, Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, Mahoning County Sebring Court, Marion County Common Pleas Court, Marion Municipal Court, Medina Common Pleas, Medina County Medina Municipal Court Criminal, Medina County Medina Municipal Court Traffic, Medina Wadsworth Municipal Court, Meigs Municipal Court, Meigs Municipal Court Traffic, Mercer Common Pleas Court, Miami Municipal Court, Monroe Cocp, Montgomery County Kettering Municipal Court, Montgomery County Miamisburg Municipal Court, Montgomery County Vandalia Municipal Court, Montgomery Dayton Municipal Court, Montgomery Huber Heights County Court, Montgomery Kettering Municipal Heard Criminal, Montgomery Kettering Municipal OVI, Montgomery Kettering Municipal Reduced DUI, Montgomery Kettering Municipal Traffic, Montgomery New Lebanon County Court, Morrow Municipal Court, Muskingum County Court, Ottawa County Municipal Court, Ottawa Common Pleas Court, Paulding County Court, Perry County Court, Pickaway Common Pleas Court, Portage Common Pleas, Portage County Kent Court, Portage County Ravenna Court, Preble Common Pleas Court, Preble County Eaton Municipal Court, Putnam Common Pleas, Richland Common Pleas, Richland County Mansfield Municipal Court, Ross Common Pleas Court, Ross County Chillicothe Municipal Court, Sandusky Common Pleas And County Court, Sandusky Traffic, Scotio Portsmouth Municipal Court, Seneca Common Pleas Court, Seneca County Tiffin Municipal Court, OH Sex Offernder Registry, Shelby County Sidney Municipal Court, Stark County Alliance Municipal Court, Stark County Massillon Municipal Court, Stark County Canton Municipal Court, Stark County Common Pleas Court, Summit County Barberton Municipal Court, Summit County Court, Summit County Akron Municipal Court, Trumbull Common Pleas, Trumbull County Newton Falls Municipal Court, Trumbull Girard Municipal Court, Tuscarawas Common Pleas, Union Common Pleas Court, Warren Common Pleas, Warren County Court, Warren County Mason Municipal Court, Washington Marietta Municipal Court, Wayne County Court, Wayne County Municipal, Wood Common Pleas Court, Wood County Bowling Green Municipal Court, Wyandot Common Pleas Court, Sanctioned or Terminated Medicare Providers, Suspended Medicaid Providers.
- Eviction Records – records are available from the following counties: Adams, Allen, Ashland, Ashtabula, Athens, Auglaize, Belmont, Brown, Butler, Carroll, Champaign, Clark, Clermont, Clinton, Columbiana, Coshocton, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Darke, Defiance, Delaware, Erie, Fairfield, Fayette, Franklin, Fulton, Gallia, Geauga, Greene, Guernsey, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Harrison, Henry, Highland, Hocking, Holmes, Huron, Jackson, Jefferson, Knox, Lake, Lawrence, Licking, Logan, Lorain, Lucas, Madison, Mahoning, Marion, Medina, Meigs, Mercer, Miami, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Morrow, Muskingum, Noble, Ottawa, Paulding, Perry, Pickaway, Pike, Portage, Preble, Putnam, Richland, Ross, Sandusky, Scioto, Seneca, Shelby, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Union, Van Wert, Vinton, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Williams, Wood, Wyandot.
- Bankruptcies, Liens & Judgments – records are available from the following counties: Adams, Allen, Ashland, Ashtabula, Athens, Auglaize, Belmont, Brown, Butler, Carroll, Champaign, Clark, Clermont, Clinton, Columbiana, Coshocton, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Darke, Defiance, Delaware, Erie, Fairfield, Fayette, Franklin, Fulton, Gallia, Geauga, Greene, Guernsey, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Harrison, Henry, Highland, Hocking, Holmes, Huron, Jackson, Jefferson, Knox, Lake, Lawrence, Licking, Logan, Lorain, Lucas, Madison, Mahoning, Marion, Medina, Meigs, Mercer, Miami, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Morrow, Muskingum, Noble, Ottawa, Paulding, Perry, Pickaway, Pike, Portage, Preble, Putnam, Richland, Ross, Sandusky, Scioto, Seneca, Shelby, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Union, Van Wert, Vinton, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Williams, Wood, Wyandot.
- Social Security Number validation, Death Index, credit checks, previous addresses, alias names, and the Rent Check Advisor include all information available regardless of location.
Resources for Ohio Landlords
- Ohio State Bar Association Lawyer Search
- Ohio Courts Directory
- Law Enforcement Agencies in Ohio (Wikipedia)