Cincinnati's location straddles the borders of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, which means that new arrivals in the city have a huge diversity of neighbourhoods and architecture to choose from, as well as a wide price range.

Factors to consider when deciding on a home in Cincinnati will include proximity to one's workplace, access to transport links and, for those with children, the presence of good local schools. In addition, new arrivals will need to consider lifestyle preferences – such as being close to nightlife and entertainment facilities or access to green areas and open spaces.


Types of accommodation

Newcomers will find a range of property options in Cincinnati. From post-war houses in older neighbourhoods to modern riverfront apartments and condos, there's something to suit everyone’s preferences.

The type of accommodation available will often depend on location. Larger family homes are generally found in outlying suburbs, while accommodation in the more densely packed city centre is mostly in the form of apartments.


Finding accommodation in Cincinnati

House hunters in Cincinnati should begin their research on properties before arriving in the city. The internet is a great place to get the search started – websites, forums and blogs offer advice and insight into the experiences of other expats. Real-estate websites and property portals are also useful as they allow expats to get a good idea of what is available and the costs involved in renting property in different parts of Cincinnati. Once in Cincinnati, the classifieds sections of the local newspapers can also be useful.

As residents are generally unfamiliar with the property market when they first arrive in their new city, the best bet is to consult a real-estate agent. These professionals have an intimate knowledge of the property market and can often provide access to a wider range of properties, in order to find a place that meets an individual’s needs.


Renting accommodation in Cincinnati

Most people relocating to Cincinnati opt to rent property rather than buy, at least initially. There are plenty of furnished and unfurnished rental options available in Cincinnati.

Making an application

Once new arrivals have found a suitable property, the first step is to submit an application. Agents or landlords may carry out credit checks and it’s wise to have references from previous landlords or one’s employer at hand as these may also be requested.

Deposits

Traditionally, security deposits in Cincinnati are equivalent to a month's rent, paid prior to the start of the lease along with the first month of rent. Tenants renting from landlords who only manage a handful of properties will still have to pay this form of deposit.

That said, since early 2020, landlords leasing 25 rental units or more are obligated to accept any one of three forms of payment for the deposit:

  • The tenant pays the deposit off in six or more equal monthly instalments;
  • The tenant signs up for state-approved renters' insurance; or
  • The tenant pays a one-time lump sum equivalent to 50 percent of their month's rent.

The insurance or security deposit is used to cover any damages to the home during the tenant's lease period. If the home is returned to the landlord in a good state, the deposit should be returned in full. Note that tenants who take the option of renters' insurance instead of a deposit forgo this benefit and won't be reimbursed.

Leases

The typical length of a lease in Cincinnati is 12 months. At the end of the leasing period, the tenant and landlord can either end or renew the lease. It is possible to break a lease early, and in this case landlords are required to make a reasonable attempt to find a suitable replacement tenant. If one cannot be found, the original tenant will be liable to continue paying rent until the lease expires.

Utilities

Before signing a lease, tenants should establish what is included in the rental cost. Utilities such as water, gas and electricity are not usually included and are typically an additional expense for the tenant. 

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