This purpose of this blog post is to inform and educate you and your property
management team as to how the evictions process works in Ohio Municipal Courts.
Complaint for Forcible Entry and Detainer
The proper legal name for a Complaint to evict a tenant is a “Complaint
for Forcible Entry and Detainer.” To file said Complaint, you must
attach a copy of the tenant’s lease, as well as the 3-day notice,
properly dated and signed by the person that served it on the tenant.
Upon filing the Complaint, a deputy from the Crawford County Sheriff goes
out and personally serves it on the tenant in question. The filing fee
serves as a deposit to cover the cost of the Sheriff, as well as the nominal
Court costs incurred in any Court proceeding.
1st Cause of Action Hearing
The Court then typically sets the date for the 1st Cause of Action Hearing (“1st COA”), which is the hearing where the Court and parties determine
the date by which the tenant is to vacate the premises. An important thing
to keep in mind, if you file multiple evictions the same day, most courts
will schedule the hearings back to back, which saves a great amount of
time and resources.
The initial removal proceedings require little evidence or witness corroboration,
but the person responsible for property management will be required to
testify that the tenant has breached the lease, that the 3-day notice
was timely served before the eviction was filed, and also request that
the Court order the tenant’s eviction.
Hearing on Damages (2nd COA)
After the tenants vacate by means of the 1st COA, the Court schedules a 2nd Cause of Action Hearing (2nd COA) as to damages. This is to allow the property manager to reenter the
premises, clean up, and assess any damage that the tenant caused. Whether
or not to even pursue the 2nd COA is a judgment call that the property manager is best suited to make.
If a tenant is quite clearly indigent and judgment-proof, sometimes the 2nd COA is an unwise use of resources.
The 2nd COA provides an opportunity for both parties, the landlord and the tenant,
to discuss money that may be owed due to non-payment of rent, damage to
the property, and any mitigating factors the tenant may bring, such as
the existence and/or amount of the tenant’s security deposit. The 2nd COA requires a witness with personal knowledge of the facts, preferably
both before and after the tenant’s occupancy. The Court requires
this personal knowledge to establish what actual damages were incurred
by the parties. The 2nd COA is when the property manager needs to present the itemized invoice
of damages to the Court. Receipts and statements are also very helpful in the 2nd COA, but a witness is required to admit these documents into evidence as well.
Kylie A. Martin, Esq.
The Stone Law Firm, LTD