Landlords Can Not Use a Lease to Get Around the Law

10 July, 2019
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“You can contract for anything, that’s Contracts 101.” This was said to me during my cross-examination of a landlord. I had called into question some very dubious provisions of the lease agreement and this individual honestly believed that anything written into the lease agreement would be enforced by the court. He was wrong.

Landlords, by law, are obligated to specific responsibilities and are unable to force a tenant to waive or excuse any of them. This is something I see from time to time, especially with small/single property owners who attempt to write their own lease agreements without consulting an attorney or reputable property management service. Some examples of this would be:

  • Attorney fees
  • Repair/Replacement of appliances
  • Repair/Maintenance of plumbing, electrical, or HVAC
  • Waiver barring a tenant from suing a landlord

These are common provisions that I come across and none of them are enforceable under Ohio Law. Moreover, if a court determines that a provision in a lease agreement is “unconscionable” then it can elect to ignore that single provision, or potentially refuse to enforce the rental agreement altogether.

As always, it is important to read over your lease agreement. It is just as important to know what parts of your lease agreement are valid and enforceable.

The above is for informational purposes only. Do not try to apply or interpret the law without help from an attorney who knows the facts, which may change the way the law is applied. Call The VanNoy Firm to schedule a consultation and review your options with a tenant law attorney.