Civil Division

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Procedure for Filing Evictions Complaints

Landlords may file an eviction complaint any time without the complaint being reviewed.

A copy of the eviction packet can be downloaded in PDF form here.

Eviction Packet Guidelines & Information

** Important Housing Court Instructions **

  1. 1. Read all instructions thoroughly.
  2. 2. When filing out the complaint, refer to the example.
  3. 3. Neatly print or type all forms.
  4. 4. Have your complaint completely filled out when you come in to file your eviction. Evictions can be filed 7AM - 4PM Monday - Friday.
  5. 5. When filing, have the original and two copies of the complaint for EACH defendant.
  6. 6. When filing, have the $150.00 filing fee with you (1 or 2 tenants) $10.00 Each additional tenant.
  7. 7. The Housing Court referee and Fair Housing staff MAY NOT assist you in filling out the forms.
  8. 8. If you are unable to fill out the forms yourself, you should probably contact an attorney. (*Note: Increase in filing fees)

Housing Court Rules

The following rules have been promulgated for the Housing Court Division of the Sandusky Municipal Court. Cases to be heard by the Housing Magistrate shall include, non-jury forcible entry and detainer actions, related claims for back rent and damages, rent escrow cases, and housing code violation cases.

Landlord/Tenant Actions

Eviction actions, legally known as forcible entry and detainer (FED) actions may be filed by plaintiffs without the service of an attorney.

INDIVIDUALS MAY ONLY REPRESENT THEMSELVES, they may not represent corporations, partnerships, or other individuals. Private individuals desiring to file FED actions shall obtain court approved forms and complete sample forms from the Housing Office at no charge. Copies of the forms may be used for subsequent FED actions. A copy of the Housing Court shall be given all private individuals filing FED actions.

Complaints and all other pleadings shall be typed or printed. Pleadings which are not typed or printed will not be filed. Individual landlords filing evictions shall be required to pay the filing fee, plus a surcharge equal to ten percent (10%) of the filing fee.

Normally, hearing dates should be set 20 days from the date of filing of the complaint. Eviction hearings will be set on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday at 3:30PM. At the time of the eviction hearing, the plaintiff and the plaintiff's attorney (if any), shall be present or the case may be dismissed. No continuances of longer than 7 days will be granted and continuances will only be granted in accordance with Section 1923.08 of the Ohio Revised Code.

If the defendant fails to appear at the hearing for possession, no default judgment on the cause of action shall be ordered unless testimony from the plaintiff regarding the proper form and service of the 3 day notice on the defendants as well as the reason why possession of the property is being sought. If a second cause of action has been filed alleging money damages, after the issue of possession has been determined, the cause will be continued for the defendant to answer within 28 days of the filing of the complaint.

In cases where the defendant files an answer, the case will be set for hearing. If the defendant fails to appear or otherwise defend, default judgment my be entered.

In any hearing before the Housing Court Magistrate, the Ohio Rules of Civil procedures apply. After the hearing, the Magistrate shall prepare a Magistrate's Decision, which may immediately be approved, disapproved, or modified by the Judge.

In cases where a writ of restitution is issued, the bailiff will serve the defendant with the writ. Once the writ is served, the landlord may take possession of the property back.

Important Notice

When Filing an Eviction Complaint You Must Have The Following:

  1. 1. The original complaint and two copies for each defendant.
  2. 2. The filing fee of $105.00 (1 or 2 tenants) $10.00 each additional defendant.
  3. 3. Individual landlords filing evictions for property in Bayview, Perkins Township, and the Village of Castalia shall be required to pay the filing fee, plus a surcharge equal to ten percent (10%) of the filing fee.

When inquiring about your case, you must be able to provide the case number.

Rent Escrow Process

Rent Escrow is the process that by which a tenant to pay rent to the Court instead of the landlord. This process allows a tenant to take action against a landlord to make repairs to a rental property. The specific law the governs this process is found in sections 1923.061, 5321.07, and 5321.08 and Ohio Revised Code.

You may escrow rent if your landlord has violated his repair obligations that materially affect your health and safety. Examples include:

  1. 1. Failing to keep electrical, plumbing, or heating in good working order.
  2. 2. Failing to supply heat and hot water at all times.
  3. 3. Failing to make necessary repairs to the rental unit available.

Before you escrow your rent with the Court, the law requires the following:

  1. 1. You MUST give your landlord written notice of the violations. You may either mail it to him ot her or deliver it personally. If you want to be sure your landlord receives the notice you may send it by certified mail or "return receipt requested". Always make a copy of the notice before you send it.
  2. 2. You MUST identify specific violations.
  3. 3. You MUST give your landlord a reasonable amount of time to correct the violations, about 30 days. If the violations are severe, such as no heat, 48 hours may be considered a reasonable amount of time.
  4. 4. You MUST be current with your rent. It is important that you always get and keep receipts whenever you pay rent.
  5. 5. The violations MUST not be caused by your own actions.
  6. 6. The condition MUST materially affect ones health and safety. This process cannot be used for purely cosmetic repairs such as mildly peeling paint.

If your landlord has failed to make the requested repairs you may then go to the Clerk of Courts and ask to escrow your rent the next time your rent is due. Bring your rent, the written notice that you gave your landlord, the certified returned receipt (if your mailed the written notice), and rent receipts to show that you are current with your rent. You should also request to have the rental unit inspected by contacting your local Code Enforcement Office.

The Clerk will give you oan application to fill out. Attach the notice to the application.

The Clerk will notify the landlord that you have escrowed your rent. You can petition the court to release the rent to pay for the repairs.

** This information should in no way be construed as legal advice. It is intended only as informational and for the sole purpose of informing the general public of the basic rent escrow process. If you feel that you may need legal advice, free legal assistance is available through Legal Aid of Western Ohio (LAWO) for those who qualify. You may contact LAWO by calling the Legal Aid line at 1-888-534-1432 ir you may apply online at www.legalaidline.org **

Default Judgments

Landlords may obtain default judgments against their tenants for back rent owed. If a landlord is seeking additional reimbursement for damages to the property, or if the tenant appears at the eviction hearing, a second hearing must be held.

Important Information On Damage Claims

Questions have arisen concerning the information required in the Second Cause of Action of eviction complaints. The Second Cause of Action is the request for damages arising from the tenancy. The First Cause of Action is the request to obtain possession of the property back. The First Cause of action will generally be scheduled approximately fourteen days after the complaint was filed. The Second Cause of Action will be scheduled after the First Cause of Action has occurred and will take place approximately sixty to ninety days after the complaint has been filed.

When filing out the Second Cause of Action, an amount that is owed is requested. That amount should reflect the total amount which is owed at the time, including all rent, utilities, and reimbursement for known property damages. It is understood that damages may exist in the rental property which cannot be determined until after the tenant vacates the property. One attempt to recover these additional damages if the proper language is added to the complaint. If additional damages are anticipated, the following language should be added to the complaint, "Plaintiff further requests compensation for any additional damages which are found accrue after the tenants vacate".

IF YOU DO NOT ADD THIS LANGUAGE TO YOUR COMPLAINT, OR AMEND YOUR COMPLAINT BEFORE THE SECOND CAUSE HEARING, YOUR RECOVERY WILL BE LIMITED TO THE ORIGINAL AMOUNT STATED.

Civil and Small Claims Fees (revised 03/02/2015)

Small Claims Complaint (one or two Defendants) $65.00
Each additional defendant (three or more) $10.00
Civil Complaint (one or two defendants) $105.00
Each additional defendant $10.00
Jury Demand Deposit (due before trial date is assigned) $750.00
Amended Complaint, Cross-Complaint, Counterclaim or Third Party Complaint - Each Requiring Service $15.00
Service by Publication $400.00
Garnishment $100.00
Bank Attachment (include $1.00 payable to Bank) $25.00
Execution (including $200.00 deposit)**
**complete instructions required; exact location, serial number, detailed description
$275.00
Administrative Fees on Judgments 2% (1st $10,000.00)
1% thereafter
Certificate of Judgment $15.00
Certified Copy $5.00
Subpoena $15.00
Civil Case Transferred from Another Court $105.00
Small Claims Case Transferred from Another Court $65.00
Bench Warrant $25.00
Re-Opening of Dormant Case $35.00
Appeal to Court of Appeals (payable to Court of Appeals) $150.00
Satisfactory Entry $15.00
Transfer a Small Claims Case to Civil
(and payment of any outstanding fees and costs)
$50.00
Billing Fee (for preparation of Invoice for fees not paid in advance) $10.00
Motion to Vacate $15.00
Attachment Before Judgment 50.00
Continuances of Bench Trials (paid in advance) $15.00
All Returned Checks $51.00
Stop Payments call Court for current bank fee
Exemplified Copy $6.00
Personal Service (by Bailiff) $10.00
Transfer Case to Another Court $15.00
Replevin $105.00
Objection to Small Claims $50.00
Reissuance of Summons by Certified Mail $10.00
Evictions $105.00