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Wenzke v. Rylan Realty Group

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Sixth District

September 13, 2013

Shannon Wenzke Appellee
v.
Rylan Realty Group Defendant [Kathleen Baird-Appellant]

Trial Court No. CVG-12-15924

Douglas A. Wilkins, for appellee.

J. Edward Foley, for appellant.

DECISION AND JUDGMENT

YARBROUGH, J.

I. Introduction

(¶ 1} This is an appeal from the judgment of the Housing Division of the Toledo Municipal Court, which affirmed the magistrate's decision in favor of appellee, Shannon Wenzke. The magistrate's decision granted a $1, 000 rent abatement, terminated the lease agreement, ordered appellant, Kathleen Baird, not to re-rent the premises until the housing defect is repaired, and denied both parties' motions for attorney fees. Because the judgment of the Toledo Municipal Court is not a final appealable order, we dismiss this appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

A. Facts and Procedural Background

(¶ 2} Baird is the owner of the home at 2249 Wildwood Boulevard in Toledo, Ohio. Baird contracted with Rylan Realty Group ("Rylan") to lease the home. Rylan entered into a lease agreement with Wenzke, which provided for a monthly rent of $1, 200 due on the first of each month.

(¶ 3} On September 7, 2012, Wenzke initiated the present action by filing an application to escrow the rent with the Toledo Municipal Court. In his application, Wenzke alleged that there was no air conditioning in the master bedroom and that the windows in the living room were unable to be opened. On December 18, 2012, a housing specialist for the court conducted an inspection of the premises and found the following violation of Toledo Municipal Code 1745.02(f):

Six (6) living room windows were found to be inoperable. Three would not open at all. Two would open only slightly and the remaining window did not have a handle. The landlord is to render all six windows fully operational or install replacement windows.

(¶ 4} At the subsequent hearing on December 28, 2012, Baird argued (1) that the cited code section could not be retroactively applied to the premises, and (2) that the violation did not materially affect health and safety. Therefore, Baird argued that Wenzke is not entitled to any of the remedies under the Landlord-Tenant Act. In addition, Baird argued that because Wenzke initiated the proceedings in bad faith, an award of attorney fees is appropriate.

(¶ 5} The magistrate took the parties' arguments under advisement, and on January 28, 2013, issued its decision granting Wenzke a $1, 000 rent abatement, releasing all other deposited escrow funds to Baird, terminating the lease agreement, ordering Baird not to rent the premises until the windows are repaired, and denying both parties' motions for attorney fees. Baird filed objections to the magistrate's decision. In a March 5, 2013 entry, the trial court found that the window defects are hazards that placed Wenzke's safety in jeopardy, and thus affirmed the magistrate's decision. Notably, though, the trial court failed to set forth the relief granted.

B. Assignments of Error

(¶ 6} Baird has appealed, and now raises five assignments ...


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