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Ohio Specialized Investments, Ltd. v. Campbell

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Stark

March 31, 2017

OHIO SPECIALIZED INVESTMENTS, LTD. Plaintiff-Appellant
v.
BRIONA CAMPBELL Defendant-Appellee

         Appeal from the Canton Municipal Court, Case No. 2016-CVG-2096

          For Plaintiff-Appellant ROBERT P. CAMPBELL

          For Defendant-Appellee DREW GONYIAS

          Hon. W. Scott Gwin, P.J. Hon. Craig R. Baldwin, J. Hon. Earle E. Wise, Jr., J.

          OPINION

          Wise, Earle, J.

         {¶ 1} Plaintiff-Appellant, Ohio Specialized Investments, LTD., appeals the July 26, 2016 judgment entry of the Canton Municipal Court finding appellant violated R.C. 5321.04(A)(1) and awarding damages to Defendant-Appellee, Briona Campbell.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         {¶ 2} In January 2015, the Canton City Health Department ("health department") found an unacceptable level of lead in a home located on Milton Court in Canton, Ohio. Appellant was ordered to abate the hazard and submit a Certificate of Examination which it did not do. In October 2015, the health department declared the property uninhabitable pursuant to R.C. 3742.40, failure to comply with lead hazard control order. Lead hazard warning signs were placed on every entrance door.

         {¶ 3} On March 25, 2016, appellee entered into a rental agreement whereby she would rent the Milton Court home from appellant in exchange for $550.00 per month. Appellee paid appellant $850.00 as a security deposit and a utilities deposit. She also paid $70.00 for prorated rent for March. The first monthly rental payment was due on April 1, 2016.

         {¶ 4} As appellee was moving into the home and unpacking, she was made aware of a possible lead issue in the home. She called the health department and was told the home was deemed uninhabitable due to an unacceptable level of lead.

         {¶ 5} Appellee did not make her first monthly rental payment on April 1, 2016. On April 14, 2016, appellant posted on the home a three day notice to vacate. Appellee did not vacate the home.

          {¶ 6} On May 2, 2016, appellant filed a forcible entry and detainer action to evict appellee and recover money damages for unpaid rent and property damage. On May 4, 2016, appellee filed an answer and a counterclaim, followed by a first amended answer and counterclaim, and then a second amended answer and counterclaim filed on June 20, 2016. In her counterclaim, appellee alleged retaliatory eviction (R.C. 5321.02), breach of warranty of habitability (R.C. 5321.04), emotional distress, and violations of R.C. 5321.15 (refusal to return her belongings).

         {¶ 7} A bench trial was held on July 25, 2016. By judgment entry filed July 26, 2016, the trial court found the home was uninhabitable because appellant had violated orders from the health department to abate the lead issue. The trial court determined because appellant violated R.C. 5321.04(A)(1), failure to comply with the requirements of the health code, it refused to enforce the provisions of the rental agreement, and dismissed appellant's complaint in its entirety. The trial court found in favor of appellee on her counterclaim of breach of warranty of habitability, and awarded her damages in the amount of $920.00 ($550.00 security deposit, $300.00 utilities deposit, and $70.00 in prorated rent), and ordered the return of her belongings. The trial court found against appellee on her counterclaims of retaliatory eviction, emotional distress, and violations of R.C. 5321.15.

         {¶ 8} On August 9, 2016, appellant filed a motion for new trial. A hearing was held on August 30, 2016. By judgment entry filed August ...


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