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How to Evict a Family Member in Ohio

Things usually start out well enough. A brother, sister, step-son, cousin or other family member moved in to share expenses or because he or she needed a place to stay. Everything was fine for a while, but after time, things started to go downhill and now it's time for the family member to leave. Except he or she won't go. So now what? How is a family member evicted in Ohio?


Evicting a Family Member in Ohio is Tricky

A lot of whether or a family member can be evicted really comes down to whether or not he or she is on the lease (if there is a lease). There are some other contributing factors, as well, so read on.


Is the Family Member on the Lease?

If the family member is on the lease, then the landlord is the only person with the authority to kick him or her out, but even a landlord needs a legally valid reason to throw someone out if that person is on the lease. These reasons usually include not paying rent, using the home for illegal purposes or otherwise breaking the terms of the lease in some way.

The exception to this is if the family member is threatening or is violent. If this is the case, then the court can issue a restraining order and the family member must leave immediately.

It is important to note that a family member on the lease is actually a co-tenant and has much right to live in the rental space as any other roommate.

What to Do Now?

Nicely asking the family member to leave is an option, but this doesn't always work and can lead to more conflict.

If the family member signed an agreement outlining rules of the house, everything from noise limits to cleaning duties and he or she breaks the agreement, then he or probably cannot be evicted but can be sued for damages in small claims court.

Examples might include a brother having loud parties that interfere with work at home or a cousin not paying his or her share of the utilities.

renters rights

While these situations could be grounds for suing, the risk is that suing may anger the family member but not enough to make him or her move out.

Talking to the landlord to see if he can get a family member to budge is an option, but most landlords are content to leave things be as long as they are getting their rent on time and their property is not being destroyed.

An exception would be if the landlord can see that the family member is breaking the lease in some way, such as selling drugs from the home (illegal use of the property) or has a cat when pets are specifically forbidden in the lease.

This is tricky, though, because the family member could claim that the cat belongs to everyone in the home and the landlord could decide to evict everyone. In Ohio, this is particularly true if the lease has a joint and/or several liability clause, which essentially means that all the tenants on a lease can be held responsible for what other tenants do.

The landlord might be a reasonable person (or corporation), though, and decide to evict only the family member. If this is the case, it will take time. The landlord must follow the law, which involves giving the family member notice of the eviction and time to remedy the situation.


For example, if the grounds for the eviction are a family member has a dog and pets are forbidden according to the lease, then the landlord has to give the family member adequate time to find the dog a new home. If the family member does this, then he or she cannot be evicted. He or she can stay in the home and chances are he or she will not be happy with others in the rental space.

It is possible, too, that a family member may just ignore the eviction notice and decide to stay in the home. In this case, the landlord will have to go to court to ask a judge to tell the family member to go. If the judge agrees, then the sheriff will come to escort the family member out of the property. If, though, the landlord loses in court, then the family member can stay.

Things That Cannot Be Done with Regard to a Ohio Family Member

No matter how annoying a family member is, there are things that the state of Ohio says cannot legally be done to make him or her vacate the home.

For example, he or she cannot be threatened. The locks cannot be changed. The family member's personal property cannot be taken. Anyone doing these things may wind up looking at criminal charges. No sister, brother or cousin is worth that.

Is the Family Member Not on the Lease?

If a family member is not on the lease then there are more more options for getting rid of him or her.

This is tricky, too, though. If the family member is not on the lease because he or she came to stay without the landlord knowing, then everyone in the home might be the ones breaking the lease terms and end up facing eviction.


If, though, the family member is staying with the landlord's express or implicit permission - many landlords will let a family member stay in the home without signing the lease - then the family member can be evicted.

In Ohio, there are, though, rules to follow. Even without his or her name on a written lease a family member is still treated as if he or she has a month-to-month lease. Ohio requires that family members be given at least 30 days notice to find a new place to live and move out. Please check with Ohio's state eviction statutes or talk to an attorney to verfify this timeframe as it may change.


This applies even to people who ownd the house because sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between a guest and a tenant.

The deadline must be put in writing and say the living arrangement is being terminating and the family member is expected to be out of the property within 30 days. Explain why the family member has to go. A notice must be sent to the family member via certified mail so there is proof that he or she received it.

If the family member ignores the eviction notice or thinks he or she has grounds to stay in the unit, then the situation will likely go to court. This means that the person asking for the eviction must be prepared to state his or her case clearly and present all relevant documentation. If the family member wins his or case, then he can stay in the home.

If the landlord is aware of the family member, then he might help evict the him or her. The downside with this that is the landlord - even a tolerant one - might just decide to evict everyone in the home and start fresh. He would have legal grounds to do so if the family member is not on the lease because the lease has been broken by having an illegal tenant.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is evicting a family member in Ohio is not easy. Evicting anyone anywhere is not easy, even for landlords with solid legal grounds. It is a complicated, contentious and often costly endeavor.

Get Help

Ask an Ohio Eviction Law Question, Get an Answer ASAP!

If, though, it is time to evict a cousin, son, daughter, brother or other family member, then it is a good idea to talk to an experienced Ohio eviction lawyer before proceeding. One small misstep could mean that the family member is not the only one having to look for a new home.



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