Off-Campus Housing

Student Legal Services advises and represents students with landlord-tenant issues.  If you're having an issue with your off-campus housing, schedule an appointment to speak to a SLS attorney.  Not sure if we can help?  Call us! (614) 247-5853.   

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT OFF-CAMPUS HOUSING

1. I need something repaired in my apartment.  What do I next? 

The law requires your landlord to maintain your home in a safe, decent, sanitary, and livable way. At the first sign of a problem in your home, call the landlord AND send this letter. To create legal options, tenants must notify their landlords about repairs needed IN WRITING!  A sample notice to repair can be found here: NOTICE TO REPAIR [doc].  Send this to your landlord via email, U.S. Mail, or by hand.  Keep a copy for yourself.  If your landlord does not make the repairs, schedule an appointment ASAP to meet with a SLS attorney. 

2. I do not understand my lease.  It's all just a bunch of strange words, dollar signs and dates...can you help?

No worries!  SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT with us for a LEASE REVIEW.  A SLS legal professional will go through your lease with you line-by-line and explain your rights and responsibilties under Ohio law and answer your questions.  Already signed your lease?  That's ok.  While we'd prefer to see you before you become legally obligated, we still recommend you have your lease reviewed by SLS.

3. How do I protect my security deposit?

First, be sure to document the condition of your housing before you move in using move-in checklist and by taking pictures and/or video of ANY damages in the unit at move-in.  Keep your place clean and do not damage it.  At the end of the lease term, clean thoroughly and document the condition with a move-out checklist and by taking pictures and video of the cleanliness.  You can find sample move-in/move-out checklists here: CHECKLISTS [pdf]. 

4. What do I need to know about living with roommates off-campus vs. on-campus?

Living off-campus with roommates is a lot like living with roommates on-campus.  Except now, you are also entering into a financial relationship with them.  Most leases in Columbus have a "joint and several liability" clause that states that if one roommate doesn't pay the rent, or damages the place, everyone is liable for the unpaid rent or damages, even if the other roommates pay on time and don't cause damage.  Head problems off before they happen by completing a Roommate Agreement.  You can find a sample agreement here: ROOMMATE AGREEMENT [pdf].

5. I haven't gotten my security deposit back from last year.  What do I do?

SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT to meet with a SLS attorney.  We'll help you determine your next steps and if necessary, contact your landlord to facilitiate return of your security deposit.  

NOTE: The information contained herein refers to Ohio Law and does not constitute legal advice.  If you need legal advice, you must contact an attorney.  The law may have changed since the date of this publication. 


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Student Legal Services

        20 E. 11th Ave.

        Columbus, OH 43201

        614.247.5853

        studentlegal@osu.edu