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In Ohio Eviction Actions, the Real Party in Interest rule does not apply

In a recent Fifth Appellate District decision, a landlord won an appeal from the Mansfield Municipal Court’s order granting possession of the subject premises to the landlord in her forcible entry and detainer action. The issue before the Court was Ohio Civil Rule 17 (A) Real Party in interest, which states that:

“Every action shall be prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest … No action shall be dismissed on the ground that it is not prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest until a reasonable time has been allowed after objection for ratification of commencement of the action by, or joinder or substitution of, the real party in interest.”

The tenant argued that the trial court erred in failure to obtain ratification in the case. The appellate court disagreed, looking at Ohio Civil Rule 1(C)(3), which limits the scope of the Ohio Civil Rules in actions in “forcible entry and detainer,” and several other courts that have held the real party in interest rule in Civ. R. 17(A) does not apply to forcible entry and detainer actions (Ohio’s Second District, Seventh District, First District and Fifth District.)

In dealing with forcible entry and detainer actions, Ohio Revised Code § 1923.01(C)(2) authorizes the “landlord” to bring the action and defines the “landlord” as “the owner, lessor, or sublessor of premises, or the agent or person the landlord authorizes to manage premises or to receive rent from a tenant under a rental agreement.”

Tucker v. Pfirsch, 2014-Ohio-3151, Richland County, Ohio, Fifth Appellate District.


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