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Esrow is a legal process by which you can pay your rent to the Court instead of paying it to your landlord. You can use escrow when your landlord is failing to make repairs as a way of safely and legally paying your rent without your landlord getting it. Escrow is not a way to handle other types of disputes between you and your landlord.

If you’re living in a run-down home that needs repairs, you should begin thinking about escrow as soon as you notice problems. This will ensure that you don’t have to put up with poor living conditions any longer than is necessary.

Before you can put your rent into escrow, you must:

  1. Give your landlord written notice of all the repairs needed. It’s best to make one list containing all of the repairs and send it together rather than a string of texts or emails as the repairs pop up. This list should be sent by mail with a certificate of mailing. A text or an email does not count as written notice unless your landlord actually responds to the message.

  2. Give your landlord a reasonable time to make the repairs. A reasonable time to make most repairs is 30 days, and 5 days is reasonable for emergency repairs like no water or no heat in winter.

What happens if my landlord fails to make the requested repairs in a reasonable amout of time?

​You can start paying your rent into escrow, but you must do so on or before the date your rent is due. If you pay late into escrow, your rent is still considered late, which is grounds for eviction. If your lease says that rent is due on the first but isn’t late until the fifth, it still must be paid to the Court on or before the first of the month. If the first of the month is a weekend, rent must be paid to the Court before that weekend.

Can I put my money into escrow after my landlord has filed an eviction?

No. Escrow is only available before an eviction is filed. If your landlord files an eviction and has failed to make repairs, you will need to respond to the eviction complaint and file a counterclaim against your landlord instead. You cannot escrow your rent if you’re not current on your rent. If you are behind on your rent or do not properly escrow rent, that can be grounds for an eviction.

How do I put my rent into escrow?

Visit the Rent Escrow Department on the 3rd floor of the Franklin County Municipal Court at 375 S High St. Bring the full amount of next month’s rent, not including utilities or pet fees (you still have to pay your landlord any money that isn’t considered “rent”), in cash or money order only, a copy of the written notice you sent your landlord, and copies of mail receipts for sending the letter if you have them. You will then fill out an application to deposit your rent with the Court. There is no filing fee, but the Court will retain 1% of any rent you deposit into escrow. Save the receipt every time you put your rent into escrow.

What happens after I put my rent into escrow?

You will continue putting your rent into escrow each month until the repairs are complete or you decide to move out. After you deposit your rent, the Court will set a mediation between you and your landlord to see if you can reach an agreement. If you cannot, you can request an escrow hearing to resolve the issue.

Still have questions about escrow? Visit the Self Help Resource Center Monday - Friday, 9 AM to 3 PM.