What is the Statute of Limitations for Bringing a Claim Under Ohio Revised Code Section 5321.04?
Statutes of Limitation in Ohio are the time period within which (after you learned or should have learned of the wrong you suffered) you must bring your lawsuit against the defendant. In most cases, if you are asserting a claim for personal injury or for injury to your property, you must bring the suit within two years.
When someone misses this two year statute of limitations, it is often tempting to try to argue that you aren't really suing for personal injury with a two year statute of limitations, but rather under a breach of oral contract (if the lease was oral) which has a six year statute of limitations, or a breach of written contract (if the lease was in writing) which as a 15 year statute of limitations.
Further, some have tried to claim a violation of the landlord's statutory duty to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition under Ohio Revised Code Section 5321.04. Ohio law provides for a six year statute of limitations for rights created solely by statute.
But Ohio's Seventh District Court of Appeals held that a tenant trying to disguise her property damage claims (thus having a two year statute of limitations that was missed) as a statutory claim for relief under Ohio Revised Code Section 5321.04 should have her case dismissed for failure to meet the two year deadline. In the case of Shorter v. Neapolitan (2008), 179 Ohio App. 3d 608, the Seventh District Court of Appeals reasoned that since landlords had liability to their tenants prior to the enactment of Ohio Revised Code Section 5321.04, that this claim for relief was not solely a creation of statute.
But the tenant was not completely out of luck. While she could not recover for the damages to her belongings, she could recover for diminution in the value of the rented premises. As the Court stated: "One measure of damages for breach of a warranty of habitability is the difference between the value of the rented premises in its uninhabitable condition and its fair market rental value, i.e., the diminution in value of the premises." This claim had either a four, six or 15 year statute of limitations which had not been missed.
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Disclaimer: The information provided on ohiolandlordtenant.com is not intended to be legal advice, but general information related to legal issues commonly encountered. The law in your state may be different from that discussed here. The facts in your case may be different too.
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