Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Appeal from the Cleveland Heights Municipal Court Case No.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Andrew K. Shibley David M. Dvorin
Lieberman, Dvorin & Dowd, LL.C.
APPELLEE Adria Adams, pro se
BEFORE: McCormack, J., E.A. Gallagher, A.J., and Kilbane, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
Defendant-appellant Haven Realty, Inc. d.b.a. Re/Max Property
Management (incorrectly identified as "Relmax, "
but henceforth in this opinion identified as
"Re/Max") appeals from the trial court's
judgment ordering it to return a security deposit in the
amount of $625 to plaintiff-appellee Adria Adams
("Adams"). For the reasons that follow, we reverse.
and Substantive History
On April 1, 2015, Adams and Re/Max entered into a 12-month
lease agreement for an apartment in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
The lease term was from April 1, 2015, to March 31, 2016, and
the monthly rent for the apartment was $625. The lease
agreement provided for a holdover period as follows:
HOLDOVER: In the event Tenant remains in possession of the
Premises for any period after the expiration of the Lease
Term ("Holdover Period"), a new month-to-month
tenancy shall be created subject to the same terms and
conditions of this Lease at a monthly rental rate of $650 per
month, unless otherwise agreed by the parties in writing.
Such month-to-month tenancy shall be terminable on thirty
(30) days notice by either party or on longer notice if
required by law.
On February 17, 2016, Re/Max sent Adams a letter offering her
the opportunity to renew her lease. The letter informed Adams
that her current lease was set to expire on April 1, 2016.
Attached to the letter was a form with four options. The
letter stated that if Re/Max did not receive the form with
Adams's selection, her lease would automatically convert
to a month-to-month lease, with all other terms of her
original lease remaining the same. The four options were: (1)
renewing the lease for an additional 12 months, with an
increased monthly rent of $640 effective April 1, 2016; (2)
renewing the lease for an additional six months, with an
increased monthly rent of $650 effective April 1, 2016; (3)
converting the lease to a month-to-month tenancy with an
increased monthly rent of $660; or (4) moving out and
submitting the form as written notice that she would vacate
the property, surrender keys and possession of the property,
and provide Re/Max with a forwarding address. Adams elected
to renew the lease for another year, and the new expiration
date of the lease was March 31, 2017.
On March 9, 2017, Re/Max sent Adams another renewal letter,
presenting her with the following four options: (1) renewing
the lease for an additional 12 months, with an increased
monthly rent of $650 effective May 1, 2017; (2) renewing the
lease for an additional six months, with an increased monthly
rent of $665 effective May 1, 2017; (3) converting the lease
to a month-to-month tenancy with an increased monthly rent of
$690; or (4) moving out and submitting the form as written
notice that she would vacate the property, surrender keys and
possession of the property, and provide Re/Max with a
forwarding address. Although the letter did not specify a
date by which Adams must make her selection, it included the
**Please note: Should you fail to make a selection and return
this document to us, your Lease will convert to a
month-to-month Lease with the above stated month-to-month
rent amount. Should you decide to terminate your tenancy, we
will send you move-out guidelines.**
April 26, 2017, Adams initialed the fourth option, indicating
that she planned to move out, and filled in May 1, 2017 as
her move-out date.
On April 29, 2017, Adams returned the keys to Re/Max and
provided a forwarding address. On May 1, 2017, Re/Max sent
Adams a letter notifying her that it would not be returning
her security deposit because she had ...