Ohio has not enacted statutes regarding notice of termination for farm tenancies, but instead relies upon the common law created by the courts.  There is some confusion regarding the notice requirements extending from Ohio’s common law.  The Ohio Supreme Court has recognized the traditional common law notion of requiring six months notice for year to year agricultural tenancies resulting from leases, which by their terms established a year to year lease or where the parties at least contemplated the notion of the lease arrangement continuing after the initial term.[1]  However, the court also noted the required notice may vary depending on the custom of the community.[2]

Further, Ohio has distinguished these aforementioned year to year tenancies from those resulting from a holdover tenant after the expiration of a lease agreement specifying a set duration or end date without consideration for continuing on a year to year basis.[3]  These latter tenancies were held to be the “equivalent to holding over after the expiration of a lease for specific term; and, if the landlord does not choose to accept the proferred tenancy for another year, he is at liberty to treat the occupant as a trespasser, and may maintain ejectment against him without previous notice ….”[4]  Thus, the notice requirements of Ohio, likely range from no notice to six months, though the requirements might differ according local custom.

The law is clear, however, that where the terms of the lease agreement specify notice of termination procedures these provisions will prevail.[5]  Further, the notice procedures set forth in a written agreement, in which the parties expressed the possibility of continuance of the lease arrangement beyond the initial term, will be applied to a resulting year to year tenancy.[6]  This underscores the importance of including in a written lease agreement notice procedures that are fair to both parties while taking the stability of tenure into consideration.

A tenant may also attempt to resort to the doctrine of emblements to lessen the burden of a terminated lease.  The tenant’s right to the emblements, or “away going crops,” might, however, depend on the custom of the community where the premises are situated.[7]

[1] Gladwell v. Holcomb, 54 N.E. 473, 474 (Ohio 1899).

[2] Gladwell v. Holcomb, 54 N.E. 473, 474 (Ohio 1899).

[3] Gladwell v. Holcomb, 54 N.E. 473, 474-75 (Ohio 1899) (“In each year of occupancy under the former 2018 there is, it is said, a growing interest in the ensuing year springing out of the original contract, while in the latter case a new contract arises each year of the holding over, by implication, from the conduct of the parties.”).

[4] Gladwell v. Holcomb, 54 N.E. 473, 475 (Ohio 1899).

[5] Schneider v. Carroll, 17 Ohio Supp. 69, 1945 WL 5542 (Ohio Com. Pl. 1945).

[6] Schneider v. Carroll, 17 Ohio Supp. 69, 1945 WL 5542 (Ohio Com. Pl. 1945).

[7] Rohrs v. Vetter, 1982 WL 6913 (Ohio App.)