Civil Division

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Civil Division

The Civil Division of the Erie County Municipal Court handles cases in which the amount of money in dispute does not exceed $15,000.00. An action in the civil division begins with the filing of a complaint with the court, usually by an attorney. Complaints involving landlord tenant disputes, rent escrows and appeals to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles are filed with this division. It is important to keep in mind that the civil division is separate from the small claims division, which handles monetary claims of $6,000.00 or less.

To file a civil case in the Erie County Municipal Court, the action must have occurred or the defendant must reside within the geographic jurisdiction of this court. The jurisdiction of the court includes Berlin Township, Berlin Heights Village, Milan Township, Milan Village (Erie County side), Oxford Township, Groton Township, Margaretta Township (but NOT the villages of Castalia or Bay View) and Kelleys Island. Someone filing a trusteeship must reside within the geographic jurisdiction.

The court cannot offer legal advice or assistance in completing a complaint. If you have questions, you are advised to seek legal counsel. The court may not appoint an attorney to represent you in civil matters. If you need an attorney and feel that you cannot afford one, you may contact Legal Aid Services of Northwest Ohio at 1-800-837-8908.

Forcible Entry & Detainer (Eviction)

This type of complaint is filed by a landlord (or their attorney) against tenant(s) who have failed to keep their rent current. It may also be filed due to a violation of the lease. If anyone has co-signed a lease, they are also named in this type of complaint and may be responsible for any past due rent and damages incurred.

Eviction hearings are often scheduled on Wednesday mornings when the small claims docket is also being heard. This first hearing is only on the eviction portion of the complaint, as eviction complaints usually have two causes of action. The first cause is for the restitution (return) of the premises, and the second cause is for the past due rent and any damages that may have occurred to the premises. An individual has twenty-eight (28) days to answer the second cause of action in the same manner as a civil complaint.

Eviction complaints are served upon the tenant by personal service and by mail service. If service cannot be obtained by personal service, the complaint is served upon a tenant by certified mail. If a landlord receives judgment for restitution of the premises, the tenant must move out as soon as possible. If a tenant does not voluntarily move out, the landlord may file for a writ of restitution. If the tenant is unwilling to vacate the premises, it is the responsibility of the attorney, plaintiff, or agent to arrange for movers to be at the eviction site on the date and time specified by the court. The bailiff does not make such arrangements, handle keys or monies or direct any party to a specific moving company. The landlord will need to make arrangements to provide the necessary help to accomplish this. The landlord or court is not responsible for any theft or damage to a tenant's belongings as a result of an eviction. Therefore, it is in the best interests of a tenant to move their own belongings voluntarily.

Filing Fees

New Cause of Action
plus $10.00 for each additional defendant
Eviction Complaint
plus $10.00 for each additional defendant
Judgment by Confession$50.00
plus $150.00 to Erie County Common Pleas clerk of courts
Garnishment (personal earnings)$100.00
Garnishment (other than personal earnings)
(plus $1.00 fee for garnishee)
Certificate of Judgment for Lien or Transfer$10.00
Jury Trial Deposit
(to be paid at time of filing demand)
Writ of Execution$100.00
Writ of Restitution$50.00
Service of Publication$100.00
(plus $6.00 check for the witness for each half-day)
(plus $.10 per mile, round trip, for the witness)
Exhibit D
Additional Civil Costs
Additional Defendants$10.00
Alias Service by Certified Mail - per Defendant$10.00
Alias Service by Regular Mail - per Defendant$10.00
Appeal to Court of Appeals$50.00 plus $150.00 for Court of Appeals
Audio Recording$5.00
BMV Appeal/Suspension (12 pts)$100.00
Certified Copies$5.00 per document
Counter Claim$100.00
Cross Claim$100.00
Debtor Exam$75.00 plus $100.00 deposit for personal service
FRA Suspension$100.00
Garnishment (Personal Earnings)$100.00
Garnishment (Property)$50.00 plus $1.00 for garnishee
Garnishee Fee$1.00
Issue Certificate of Judgment$10.00
Judgment by Confession$50.00
Jury Deposit$370.00
Motion to Show Cause$50.00
Motion to Vacate. Modify, or Relief of Judgment$65.00
Other Aids in Execution$20.00 per defendant
Personal Service of Defendant$20.00 per defendant to be served, plus mileage
Reissue Summons by Certified Mail$20.00
Revivor of Dormant Judgment$75.00
Service by Publication$100.00 plus costs of publication paid in advance
Subpoena to Issue$10.00 plus witness fee and $0.10/mile
Third Party Complaint$100.00 plus $10 for each additional defendant
Transfer of Small Claims to Civil Docket$25.00

Landlord Tenant Frequently Asked Questions

My tenant has not paid the rent. Do I have to file an eviction with the court to get them out?
Yes. In Ohio, a landlord of residential premises cannot physically remove the tenant from the premises, terminate utilities, or change the locks to encourage a tenant to move from the premises. This is called "self-help", and is illegal in Ohio. A landlord must file a complaint against the tenant, go to court, be granted a judgment, and follow the court-instituted eviction procedure to remove the tenant from the premises.

Is it true that the court does not do set-outs in the winter?
No. The court may limit the number of set-outs which may take place around the Christmas and New Year holidays because of staff limitations. The court, however, performs set-outs five days a week, all twelve months of the year.

I understand it may take 60 to 90 days to evict a tenant. Is that true?
For a simple non-payment case, a tenant may be evicted in less than five weeks. The landlord must serve the three-day notice, and then wait three business days. The landlord then files the complaint with the clerk of courts. The eviction hearing date may not be held any sooner than seven (7) days from the date the tenant is served. If the eviction is granted, the set-out may take place within fourteen (14) days from the date the writ of restitution of the premises is issued.

My tenant has not paid rent for eight months. Can I get an immediate set-out date?
No. Tenants who are evicted generally are given fourteen (14) days to move from the premises. Under limited circumstances, the court may shorten that time if, for instance, there has been significant police activity at the premises, evidence of drug activity, or evidence that the tenants pose an immediate threat to the health and safety of the landlord or other tenants.

Is the eviction procedure different for "Section 8" or subsidized tenants?
Yes. Tenants, who participate in federal subsidy programs, including the Section 8 programs, are afforded special protection under federal law. As a general rule, subsidized housing tenants are entitled to written notice of their opportunity to meet with the management. They also may be entitled to an opportunity to correct their conduct before the landlord may file an eviction action. The specific requirements vary with each of the subsidized or Section 8 programs. A landlord interested in evicting a Section 8 tenant should first know the type of Section 8 or subsidy involved. Second, the landlord should read carefully the signed lease and contract. Finally, because both federal and state laws apply to Section 8 evictions, the court recommends that Section 8 landlords obtain legal advice from an attorney before filing an eviction against a tenant in a federal subsidy program.

My landlord has refused to make repairs to my apartment. Can I withhold my rent?
No. In Ohio, a tenant whose landlord refuses or fails to make repairs cannot withhold their rent. However, the tenant may deliver to the landlord written notice of the defective conditions or repairs requested. Then, if the landlord does not make the repairs in a reasonable amount of time, the tenant may deposit the rent with the court. You should consult with an attorney to get more information about rent escrow.

Are move-outs delayed if tenants have children?
No. As a general rule, set-outs may be scheduled as early as seven (7) days from the date of the court hearing.

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