Rules on month to month tenancies in Ohio

What are the rules concerning month to month tenancies and how can they be ended?

Firstly, a month to month tenancy (also known as a periodic tenancy) is an agreement between a landlord and a tenant to rent an apartment from one month to the next, rather than for a set period of time. Month to month tenancies can arise from the start of the relationship between the landlord and tenant, or they can also arise when the lease between the parties expires and the tenant remains in the property and the landlord continues to accept rent. In fact, your lease may specify that if you continue to stay at the apartment after the lease ends, the landlord will treat you like a month to month tenant (of course you must watch out, because some leases specify that the landlord can treat you as renewing the entire lease). Ohio Revised Code Section 5321.17 covers the terminations of such month to month tenancies and states in pertinent part as follows:

5321.17 Termination of periodic tenancies.

(A) Except as provided in division (C) of this section, the landlord or the tenant may terminate or fail to renew a week-to-week tenancy by notice given the other at least seven days prior to the termination date specified in the notice.

(B) Except as provided in division (C) of this section, the landlord or the tenant may terminate or fail to renew a month-to-month tenancy by notice given the other at least thirty days prior to the periodic rental date.

This means that 30 days notice must be given from the periodic rental date, which is the date upon which you must pay your rent. Usually this is the first of the month. So if the landlord gives the tenant notice to of termination on July 15, then the thirty days does not begin to be counted until August 1, and the tenant may remain in the apartment (and must pay rent for the apartment) until August 30.

Similarly, if a tenant wishes to terminate a month to month tenancy, then the tenant must give 30 days written notice from the periodic rental date. If rent is paid on the first of the month and the tenant wishes to end the tenancy on the last day of September, then the tenant must give written notice to the landlord on or before August 31 (the tenant should make sure the written notice is in the hands of the landlord on or before Aug. 31). If the tenant gives written notice on September 14 then the tenancy ends on the last day of October and the tenant owes rent for the months of October and September.

But there have been cases where different periodic rental dates have been used. For instance, in the case of Charmane Green v. Northwood Terrace Apartments, 1979 Ohio App. LEXIS 12352 ( March 20, 1979) Franklin App. No 78AP-580 (unreported), the court found that the periodic rental date was the 27th day of each month. The Court held as follows:

The tenancy of plaintiffs Green and Norris did not terminate until September 27, 1976, even though the trial court found that they surrendered possession on September 14, 1976. As noted above, the monthly rental period began on the 27th of the month as originally provided for in the written lease. R.C. 5321.17( B) requires notice “thirty days prior to the periodic rental date” for termination of a month-to-month tenancy. Accordingly, notice would have been required on or before July 28, 1976, to terminate the tenancy on August 26, 1976. In no event could the tenancy have been terminated on August 31, 1976, as found by the trial court. Although the trial court found as a finding of fact that plaintiff Norris gave notice on August 1, 1976, her testimony was that she gave such notice during the first week of August at the time she paid her rent, which the records admitted over defendants’ objections indicate to have been August 6, 1976. Even by the trial court’s findings, the notice was not given thirty days prior to the end of the August rental period (August 27) and, accordingly, could not take effect until September 27.