Equal Housing Opportunity
Its the Law!
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,
Title VIII (Fair Housing Act of 1988) and
Chapter 4112 of the Ohio Revised Code prohibit discrimination
Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because
Status (including children under the age of 18 living with
parents or legal custodians, pregnant women and people securing
custody of children under 18)
(mental or physical)
- Military Status
Sale and Rental of Housing: No one may take any of the following
actions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex,
familial status, handicap or ancestry:
- Refuse to rent or sell housing
to negotiate for housing
different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental
of a dwelling
different housing services or facilities
deny that housing is available for inspection sale or rental
owners to sell or rent (blockbusting) or
- Deny anyone access to or membership in a facility or service
(such as multiple listing service) related to the sale or
rental of housing
Addition: It is illegal for anyone to:
coerce, intimidate, or interfere with anyone exercising
a fair housing right or assisting others who exercise that
right based on national origin, religion, sex familial status,
handicap or ancestry.
- Advertise or make any statement that indicates a limitation
or preference based on race, color, national origin, religion,
sex, familial status, handicap or ancestry.
are some examples of illegal housing discrimination?
to rent to a family with children. (Unless housing is specifically
and exclusively designated for older persons)
families with children to certain buildings or floors.
- Requiring families with children (or any protected group)
to pay higher deposits. (Owner is allowed to charge a separate
security deposit for pets.)
African Americans (or any protected group) to certain parts
of a community.
that a unit is not available when it is.
- Refusing to make loans in certain neighborhoods.
that a person can pay for their deposit with sexual favors.
a person with a disability if they really are allowed to
live on their own.
to allow a person who is visually impaired to move into
a unit with their assisted animal.
a large, new apartment building that has no accessible units.
a unit using terms like: Christian couple wanted; adults
only or ideal for one person.
is it important to fight discrimination?
When acts of illegal housing discrimination are allowed to
occur or continue in a community there are many consequences.
Housing discrimination tears at the fabric of a community
and encourages an environment where disputes escalate. Unchecked,
housing discrimination encourages the racism and bigotry that
fuel these actions. Acts of housing discrimination that go
unchallenged send a message of apathy throughout a community
and result in reduced efforts to seek help when it is needed.
Housing discrimination leads to segregated neighborhoods and
feeds the stereotypes that form the basis for discrimination.
Where discrimination flourishes so does a lack of respect
for all cultures. Housing discrimination works to perpetuate
other housing problems, such as tight housing markets, substandard
housing and homelessness.
What information may a landlord legally obtain on a rental
relationship, gender, social security number and date of
birth of all persons who will be residing in the unit
name, current address and telephone number
regarding the employment and all income sources of the potential
- Information regarding bank accounts
addresses including previous landlords and how to contact
- Whether applicant is applying for a handicap accessible
references (character) and emergency contact information
- Whether applicant is willing to comply with all of the
buildings rules regarding such things as pets, smoking and
general policies of cleanliness
landlord may ask if a prospective tenant has ever been convicted
of the illegal manufacture or distribution of a controlled
substance or if the prospective tenant currently uses drugs
- A tenant
may also be asked if their tenancy would pose a direct threat
to the health and safety of other people currently residing
in any adjacent units or in the neighborhood.
the tenant is applying for housing designed or designated
for people with a particular disability, it is legal to
ask if the applicant qualifies for that type of housing.
- Landlords can check your previous credit history and obtain
a Credit Report
As a landlord can you legally reject a prospective tenant?
Yes In two situations.
- The landlord may reject an application from a prospective
tenant if it can be documented that the applicant cannot
meet the obligations that apply to all tenants, such as
being able to pay the rent and complying with reasonable
rules and regulations. Such a rejection must be based on
concrete evidence. For example, if a prospective tenant
needs a certain amount of take-home pay to afford the monthly
rent and the documented earnings information shows that
the prospective tenants salary is too low, the landlord
can reject the application. Another valid reason would be
if the prospective tenants most recent or previous
landlord reported that the tenant ignored reasonable building
rules and refused to discuss and/or comply with the landlords
request to do so.
landlord may reject a prospective tenants application
if it can be substantiated with written documentation that
the health and/or safety of other individuals could be threatened
by the prospective tenants occupancy. Again, the landlord
has to have objective evidence, recent enough to be credible,
in order to make such a claim and reject the application.
also unlawful for a landlord to impose terms and/or conditions
in the rental of a dwelling unit, or in the provision of benefits
and services to the dwelling unit that are not imposed on
As a landlord, under the FHA, a tenants request for
reasonable accommodation in the rental of a dwelling unit
must be given careful consideration and be accommodated when
Who must comply with the Fair Housing Act?
Property owners, landlords, housing managers, real estate
agents, brokerage service agencies and banks have to comply.
The FHA covers both privately owned housing and housing subsidized
by federal funds, such as low-income public housing and the
Section 8 program.
does not cover landlords who live in their own buildings if
the building has four or fewer apartments.Tenant
- Landlord Facts & Responsibilities
The Ohio Tenant-Landlord Bill, effective November 4, 1974,
applies to most landlord-tenant relations and governs most
rental agreements whether oral or written. None of the rights,
remedies or obligations which the tenant or the landlord have
under this law may be taken away by any written or oral agreement.
The Ohio Tenant-Landlord law does not apply to condominiums,
prisons, jails, workhouses, halfway houses, hospitals, resident
homes, agricultural labor camps, tourist homes, hotels, motels,
some boarding schools, dormitories, or courts. Ohio does have
a law (Chapter 3733, Ohio Revised Code) which outlines responsibilities
and rights of Trailer Park operators and tenants.
must: (Sec. 5321.04(A), Ohio Revised Code)
- Comply with the requirements of any building, housing,
health or safety codes which materially effect health and
all repairs and do whatever is reasonably necessary to put
and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition.
the common areas of the premises (including walks, etc.)
Safe and sanitary.
trash and waste receptacles, if there are four or more apartments
in the building and arrange for their removal.
running water, a reasonable amount of hot water, and reasonable
heat at all times, except where there is a direct utility
hook-up that the tenant controls.
the tenant reasonable notice of his intent to enter into
a tenants apartment and enter only at reasonable times,
except in case of emergency.
the tenant with the name and address of the owner and his
agent, if any, in writing, at the beginning of the tenancy.
If written lease, the owners name and address must
be in the lease.
all electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilating, and air
conditioning fixtures and appliances and elevators in good
and safe working condition, when these things are supplied
or required to be supplied by the landlord.
- Not harass the tenant by unreasonable or repeated demands
to enter the tenants apartment. If the landlord or
his agent enters without the tenants permission or
repeatedly demands entry, the tenant can recover actual
damages resulting from the landlords entering.
The tenant must: (Sec. 5321.05(A), Ohio Revised Code)
that part of the premises that he occupies and uses safe
of trash and garbage in a clean, safe and sanitary manner.
and operate all electrical and plumbing fixtures properly.
with the requirements imposed on tenants by the applicable
housing, health and safety codes.
the landlord or his agent to enter his or her apartment
for inspection to see what repairs are needed or to make
repairs or improvements at reasonable times, if the landlord
or his agent has given reasonable notice.
intentionally or negligently destroy, damage, deface property
or remove any plumbing fixture or appliance from the premises,
and forbid any of his guests from doing the same.
in a manner that will not disturb his neighbors peaceful
enjoyment of the premises.
in good working order and condition any range, refrigerator,
washer, dryer, dishwasher, or other appliances supplied
by the landlord and required to be maintained by the tenant
under the terms and conditions or a written rental agreement.
tenant violates any provision of the above responsibilities,
the landlord may recover any actual damages which result from
the violation together with reasonable attorneys fees, termination
of the rental agreement, or other necessary actions.
Security Deposits Return Requirements
At the end of the lease or rental agreement, the landlord
must return the deposit within thirty days after the tenant
moves. Before the tenant moves, he/she must leave a forwarding
address in writing with the landlord.
Any past due rent or damages the tenant caused may be withheld
from the deposit. The landlord must itemize each deduction
in a written notice sent to the tenant.
If the landlord requires a security deposit in excess of one
months rent and also in excess of $50.00, the landlord
must pay 5% interest annually on the excess. Example: If the
rent is $150.00 and the security deposit is $200.00 the landlord
must pay 5% interest per annum on the $50.00 difference between
actual rent and security deposit. A landlord does not have
to pay interest on the security deposit if the tenant lives
in the unit less than 6 months. (Sec. 5321.16, Ohio Revised
Rent Depositing - Legal Rent Withholding For Repairs
(Sec. 5321.07 - 5321.10, Ohio Revised Code)
If the tenant reasonably believes that the landlord has not
fulfilled his duties, or that the premises have code violations
affecting the health and safety of occupants, the tenant may
take the following action:
the landlord about conditions and request that they be corrected.
The written notice (or letter) must be sent to the person
or place where the tenant usually pays rent, if the landlord
has given the required notice of his name and address. Send
the notice by certified letter, return receipt requested.
Keep a copy of the letter.
the landlord fails to correct the condition within a reasonable
time (30 days maximum, depending on the urgency of the situation)
and if the tenant is not delinquent in rent payments, the
all rent with the Clerk of the Municipal Court. Tenant
does not need an attorney, and there is no filing fee.
a law suit requesting a rent reduction until the necessary
repairs are made (and may ask the Courts permission
to use with the held rent to make repairs).
the lease or rental agreement.
Note: the tenant must be current in rent for legal remedies
It is important to note that these actions cannot be
taken against a landlord with three or fewer actually
rented dwelling units, who informs the tenant in writing
of the fact at the time they make the rental agreement.Landlords
Response to Rent Withholding
(Sec.5321.09, Ohio Revised Code)
who receives a notice that a tenants rent has been deposited
with the Clerk of Courts may request the Clerk of Courts to
release the rent on the grounds that the conditions for which
the tenant withheld rent have been remedied or repaired. The
Clerk will immediately release the rent, less costs, to the
landlord if the tenant gives written notice that the condition
has been remedied.
may apply to the Court to release the rent on the grounds
tenant was delinquent in rent payments at the time the tenant
deposited rent with the Clerk of Courts.
did not violate any of the responsibilities imposed upon
him by rental agreement, or by any of the building, housing,
health or safety codes, or that the condition the tenant
describes in the notice has been remedied or repaired.
Court finds that the landlord did not violate any responsibilities
imposed upon him, or that the condition the tenant complained
about has been repaired or remedied, or that the tenant did
not give notice correctly, or that the tenant was delinquent
in his or her rent at the time the rent was deposited with
the Clerk of Courts, the Court will order the release of the
rent to the landlord.
& Utility Shutoff
The landlord may not move a tenants furniture from
his apartment, lock him out, or threaten any unlawful act
including utility shut-off to get him to move. If this happens,
the tenant may recover all his damages and reasonable attorney
fees. The landlord can only evict and seize tenants
property after a court hearing and obtaining a lawful court
order. (Sec. 5321.15, Ohio Revised Code).Eviction
(Sec. 1923, Ohio Revised Code)
may evict a tenant if:
tenant is delinquent in rental payments
tenant caused severe damages
repairs are so large that the tenant must move out
rental agreement has expired
Step I - A landlord or owner wishing to evict a tenant must
notify the tenant to leave the premises three days or more
before beginning any court action. The landlord must hand
a written copy of the notice to the tenant in person, or leave
the notice at the tenants residence. The tenant must
be advised that he/she may need legal assistance.
Every notice given under this section by a landlord to recover
residential premises shall contain the following language
printed or written in a conspicuous manner: You are
being asked to leave the premises. If you do not leave, an
eviction action may be initiated against you. If you are in
doubt regarding your legal rights and obligations as a tenant,
it is recommended that you seek legal assistance.
Step II - If the tenant does not vacate the premises then
the landlord must file a complaint at Municipal Court called
a Forcible Entry and Detainer Notice.
Step III - The tenant receives a court summons at least (5)
days before the hearing. Both parties may need an attorney.
Step IV - The Court hearing is held and a judge decides the
Where To Go For Help With Fair Housing Issues
If you have questions regarding fair housing or tenant-landlord
issues do not hesitate to contact the agencies responsible
for handling these questions:
Fair Housing Help
Tuscarawas County OCED
125 E. High Ave., # 212
New Philadelphia, OH 44663
The Ohio Civil Rights Commission
Akron Government Center
161 S. High St., Suite 205
Akron, OH 44308-160
United States Department of Housing & Urban Development
Housing Discrimination Hotline
1-800-669-9777 (toll free voice number)
1-800-927-9275 (toll free TDD number)