CLEVELAND — Legal analysis: Now that the nationwide federal moratorium on evictions has ended, renters across the country who have fallen behind on payments during the COVID-19 pandemic are worried about getting kicked out of their homes.
Legally Speaking, that can’t happen overnight. First, there's a new, limited evictions moratorium that was issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday, August 4. But this only puts a hold on evictions in places where COVID spread is considered high, estimated to cover about 80 percent of US counties and 90 percent of the US population.
Outside of those pockets, in states like Ohio where there isn't a state hold on evictions, there are lots of protections in place to prevent your landlord from moving too quickly to get you out.
You can be evicted for a lot of reasons, including not being able to pay your rent, but there’s a specific process that has to be followed to get there. And while that process is playing out, you can legally stay in your home.
In Ohio, the eviction process generally takes about five weeks. In most cases, it starts with your landlord posting a three-day notice on your door, to let you know they plan to try to evict you. If you can come up with the money you owe during that three days, they might call the whole thing off.
If not, after those three days pass, and not a minute before, your landlord then has to file your eviction case in court.
And if your landlord doesn’t file right away, that adds to the time you have to get a plan together.
Once the case is filed, it could be two to three weeks before a hearing is scheduled, That hearing is where a judge will decide either to grant or deny your eviction.
Without a court order, your landlord cannot make you leave your home.
If the landlord wins, and your eviction is ordered, you generally have five to ten days to get your things out of your rental.
If you don’t, only then can your landlord can schedule a time with a bailiff to remove your property. But even with a court order to evict you, your landlord still can’t just change your lock and put your things on the curb by themself.
That’s called self-help, and that’s illegal.
If you're someone who is in need of renter's assistance due to the pandemic, you can access links here to connect with local resources where you can check your eligibility and apply for funding that could help you stay in your home.
Stephanie Haney is licensed to practice law in both Ohio and California.
The information in this article is provided for general informational purposes only. None of the information in this article is offered, nor should it be construed, as legal advice on any matter.