2020 Cincinnati Landlord-Tenant Changes

2020 Cincinnati Landlord-Tenant Changes

New Landlord-Tenant Laws implementing major changes to the relationship between Landlords and their renters begin to be phased into effect as early as 1/28/2020. Seen as much needed regulations for renters, the changes mean deep impacts to how Landlords, Owners and Property Managers do business in Cincinnati.

Contact your Heyman Law Attorney or Complete the form below to ensure you're in compliance with these changes.

Below is our summary interpretation of the changes:

2020 Cincinnati Municipal Ordinance Update

Chapter 871 EFFECTIVE January 28, 2020

“Landlord-Tenant Relationships”, Business Regs, Cinci Muni Code,
AMENDING SECTION 871-9 Obligations of Landlords and Tenants”, to regulate late fees.

Summarized ***

  • (8) If the rental agreement includes late fee provision – maximum is $50 or 5%, whichever is greater. No interest on late fee, no multiple late fees on a single late payment, no late fees on 3rd party payor late pay.

New Chapter 871-8 Unlawful Entry Prohibited

This section mirrors the notice of entry requirements of Ohio Revised Code Section 5321.04(8). Except for emergencies (running water, fire, and other hazards to property and person), the landlord must give at least 24 hours’ notice of their intent to enter the premises. If the landlord fails to give proper notice, the tenant is entitled to actual damages (between $100 and $1000), injunctive relief to prevent recurrence, reasonable attorney fees, and termination of the lease agreement. City officials are authorized City officials to enforce these penalties. This becomes effective on January 28, 2020.

New Chapter 874 Residential Rental Registration

“Residential Rental Registration”, non-compliance is criminal under Muni code.  Online registration system not up and running yet.  Section effective April 30, 2020.

  • Must register within 60 days of effective date (June 29, 2020); or
  • For newly acquired properties, must register within 60 days of ownership or June 29, 2020, whichever is later.
  • Please note that with no online system currently set-up, you will likely not be able to register until April 30, 2020.

Landlord must provide:

  • name address telephone of owner;
  • If trust, a trustee
  • If estate, administrator
  • If limited partner or general partner, a general partner
  • If LLC, a member, manager or officer
  • If association, an associate
  • If corporation, an officer
  • If any other business entity, a member, manager, or officer

Designated responsibly person or company name address and phone, incl. prop management co. or on-site personnel, name address and phone number, for maintenance and emergency contact, 365 days, 24-7 who located within 100 miles of property is required.

Location of prop, monthly rent, number and size of each unit, incl, no. bathrooms, bedrooms, and approx. sq. foot.

Person responsible to communicate this section requirements. Any change in ownership, change in use, and 60+ day vacancy, app fee of $1.00 for every unit.

Failure to comply is criminal offense with graduated penalties for repeat offenders.

New Chapter 1127-07 Residential Rental Property Inspection Pilot Program (limited neighborhoods)

Chapter 1127-07 -Residential Rental Property Inspection Pilot Program - Effective April 30, 2020

  • Section only applies to the neighborhoods of Avondale, East Price Hill, and Clifton-University Heights-Fairview.
  • Four-year pilot program.
  • Rental properties within the three previously mentioned neighborhoods must apply for a rental inspection certificate within 30 days of April 30, 2020 if one of the following applies:
    • subject to a delinquent lead hazard control order from the City;
    • subject to an order to vacate from the City
    • 3) been determined to be a public nuisance
    • subject to two or more orders within a twelve-month period;
    • subject of four or more validated complaints;
    • been determined to be a chronic nuisance;
    • is currently or within past 24 months has been the subject of a civil or criminal prosecution by the City for ORC, CMC, or CBC violations.


  • Required landlords are required to submit the proper fee along with their application and permit an inspection of the rental properties.
    • $100 per unit for initial inspection
    • $70 for the first re-inspection
    • additional $70 per each additional re-inspection up to $280.
  • If the rental property has tenants, the landlord must give the tenants reasonable notice (24 hours) of the inspection.

Inspection Certificates

  • Three potential outcomes of the inspection
    • Compliance. Properties found in compliance are issued a certificate and will have to be inspected again 48 months thereafter.
    • Substantially Complaint. If the property is substantially complaint, the property shall be inspected every 30 days until the property is in compliance.
    • Non-Compliant. If the property is non-compliant, the property shall be inspected every 30 days or less as determined by the City. Once the property is in compliance, the property is to be inspected every 12 months.
  • Penalty. A landlord who is required to obtain a certificate and fails to do so may be charged with criminal offense with graduated penalties for repeat offenders.
  • Transfers. If the rental property is transferred, the certificate shall expire six months after the transfer of ownership. The prior owner must notify the new owner of their obligation to maintain the certificate.


  • Non-judicial appeals process.
    • Landlord must petition the director for a written decision of the disputed decision.
    • Landlord must appeal to the Board of Housing Appeals within 30 days from the date of mailing of the written decision.