Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Montgomery
KELLI WALLEN, et al. Plaintiff-Appellant
RON CRYDER Defendant-Appellee
Criminal Appeal from Municipal Court Case No. 2018-CVR-700
WALLEN, Plaintiff-Appellant, Pro Se
CRYDER, Defendant-Appellee, Pro Se
1} Kelli Wallen and Donovan Baker ("the
tenants") appeal from the November 1, 2018 order of the
Municipal Court of Montgomery County, Western Division, which
ordered rent money that had been held in escrow be returned
to Ron Cryder, their landlord. For the following reasons, the
judgment of the muicipal court will be affirmed.
2} On May 31, 2018, the tenants filed an application
to deposit rent in escrow, which stated that the rent due
under their rental agreement was current for their Denlinger
Road address and that rent is due on the first of each month
in the amount of $800. At the bottom of the application was a
"Notice to Landlord or Agent" that a rental payment
was deposited in the municipal court clerk's office on
May 31, 2018. The record reflects that the tenants also
deposited $800 in escrow on June 29, 2018.
3} A hearing on the application was scheduled for
July 5, 2018. The record before us contains the exhibits from
that hearing, but not the transcript. According to the
municipal court's July 10, 2018 entry, both parties
appeared pro se at the hearing. The municipal court granted
the tenants' application to deposit rent in escrow,
stating: "Rent is abated, per lease between parties,
until repair work is accomplished."
4} On July 16, 2018, the municipal court clerk filed
a copy of a July 12, 2018 email message sent by Cryder to the
clerk. The email stated: "Repairs have been completed
and I request a hearing to be set to review[.]"
5} A hearing was held on August 16, 2018, and the
record contains a transcript of that hearing, at which the
following exchange occurred:
THE COURT: * * * So we have a rent escrow case and we have an
eviction. Mr. Cryder, have you talked to an attorney about
MR. CRYDER: No.
THE COURT: You know you can't evict somebody when
you're in the middle of a rent escrow case?
MR. CRYDER: No, I did not know that.
THE COURT: * * * But apparently part of why we're here,
Mr. Cryder, is because you say you've repaired
everything; is that right?
MR. CRYDER: Yes, sir.
THE COURT: * * * Do you folks agree that he's fixed
MS. WALLEN: No, we do not.
THE COURT: * * * Let's talk about that then. Yeah. So
the, the forceful entry and detainer case set for today is
going to be dismissed. I mean, you may be able to refile it,
but you can't file this while there's a rent escrow
in process. Okay?
MR. CRYDER: I thought the rent escrow ended at the first of
THE COURT: No. The rent escrow continues until the
Court's satisfied that the repairs have been made.
MR. CRYDER: But I understand they didn't put money in
escrow this month.
THE COURT: Because you abated the rent. You gave up the rent
until the repairs were accomplished. That was in your lease.
MR. CRYDER: * * * Well, the repairs were made. I don't
know the exact date - -
MR. CRYDER: - - but the repairs were made like right after we
got out (unintelligible).
THE COURT: * * * So what do we have here? We have something
from JFK Heating and Cooling. It's a bill for 1350.
Install flue liner.
THE COURT: * * * Do you folks dispute the fact that the flue
liner was installed per this receipt?
MS. WALLEN: No, sir.
MS. WALLEN: What I dispute is that the full repairs were
THE COURT: * * * Now, let's go back then. Now we have a
plumbing call here. Replace drain pipe in the basement at the
bottom of the waste stack. Cut out, clean out tree tee
fittings and replace new PVC fittings. Connect the cast iron
with new mission bands. Was that accomplished?
MS. WALLEN: Yes, sir.
THE COURT: * * * Now, we have before pictures of the - - it
looks like the bathroom and certain areas of the house. And
now we have some after pictures. So they've - - you
acknowledge that these pictures are accurate as to what's
been done so far?
MS. WALLEN: As of the date that he was in our home, yes.
THE COURT: What date was that, ma'am?
MS. WALLEN: * * * July 7th.
THE COURT: * * * So those * * * things have been accomplished
as far as we know?
MS. WALLEN: Yes, sir.
6} When the court asked Wallen what else needed to
be repaired, she testified that she provided Cryder with a
list of repairs and he "left it at my home and told me
that it was too complex of a list." She stated that she
had "photos as of this morning" to show that his
attempted repairs were not complete. According to Wallen,
there was still mold in the bathroom and paint cracking and
falling through the bathroom "because he did not
complete the repairs. All he did was scrape off what was
already loose and hanging and then throw primer on top of
it." Wallen further stated that, "[a]s far as the
center wall over the fireplace chimney, all he did was,
again, scrape off what was loose and then put primer over the
top of it."
7} Wallen further stated that she had the estimate
from the chimney sweeps that Cryder "sent out to
estimate the damages originally way back in April"; the
estimate, which was sent to Wallen because the chimney sweeps
could not reach Cryder, stated "that there was water
being held in the mortar around the chimney and also that
there was moss growing." She testified that Cryder had
"chosen not to remove that area that was contaminated by
the water and the moss growing. He just put primer over top
8} Cryder responded that "everything we talked
about on the court date has been completed." He stated
that the bathroom at issue has no windows and a ceiling fan.
He stated that he told the tenants that they would "have
to keep that area with the air circulating, let that stuff
dry" after showering. As far as the mold and moss in the
chimney, Cryder said that, when he had "that company
come out and do the chimney repairs, they said that would * *
* stop the moisture from growing in the chimney."
9} Wallen responded that there was still mold
showing through Cryder's primer and still mold on the
walls, and that "[t]here's now paint falling and
cracking through the primer that he put on."
10} In response to a question from the court, Wallen
indicated that the lease was month-to-month by the time of
the hearing and that the tenants were trying to find another
place to live. She stated that "it is difficult because
I have three adults, one of which is a disabled child * *
*." She testified as follows:
I have photos that are taken as of this morning where you can
clearly see the mold. * * * [T]here's a picture in the
dining room where he never even addressed where the water had
been pouring through the ceiling above the closet in the
And then the center walls of the house where the furnace was
you can still see where the moss and mold are growing and
where he did not scrape off all the old paint nor remove the
- - whatever liner ...