10 day notice required for land contract eviction

Under Ohio law, a seller of property via a land installment contract can evict the buyer if the buyer has not paid in accordance with the terms of the contract for a period of five years or more from the date of the first payment or has not paid toward the purchase price a total sum equal to or in excess of twenty per cent thereof. If the buyer has paid in accordance with the terms of the contract for a period of five years or more or has paid 20% of the principal or more, then the seller has to proceed with a foreclosure action instead of an eviction action.

If, as a seller, you do meet the requirements for proceeding with an eviction, then proceeding with an eviction on a land contract is quite a bit different than doing so on a lease agreement. A seller cannot enforce the forfeiture of a buyer’s interest until 30 days after the buyer defaults in payment:

When the vendee of a land installment contract defaults in payment, forfeiture of the interest of the vendee under the contract may be enforced only after the expiration of thirty days from the date of the default. A vendee in default may, prior to the expiration of the thirty-day period, avoid the forfeiture of his interest under the contract by making all payments currently due under the contract and by paying any fees or charges for which he is liable under the contract. If such payments are made within the thirty-day period, forfeiture of the interest of the vendee shall not be enforced.

In other words, if a payment is due on the first and the buyer misses it, the seller cannot do anything until 30 days have passed. During that 30 day time period, the buyer can redeem his interest by paying what is currently due plus fees and charges as per the contract. If the seller waits 30 days and the buyer does not pay then the seller can/must post a 10 day notice on the property and not a 3 day notice. The 10 day notice must identify the property and the land contract; specify the terms and conditions of the contract that have been broken; must notify the buyer that the contract will stand forfeited unless the buyer performs the terms and conditions of the contract within ten days of the completed service of notice and notifies the buyer to leave the premises.

Sellers/landlords can fall into a trap by believing that a standard 3 day eviction notice will serve the purpose in cases involving land contracts.