The American Land Title Association’s Title News Online featured Sikora Law’s 32nd appellate victory (Clinton v. Home Investment Fund V, LP, 2020-Ohio-4555 ) on the subject of lis pendens. Check out that article on ALTA’s website by clicking here.
Ohio’s House Bill 75 – the proposed Bill that would have improved the tax appeal process passed the Senate but failed to obtain concurrence in the House and the Governor’s signature before the end of 2020. Below are some of the main objectives of that legislation:
- Required a school board or the legislative authority of a county, municipal corporation, or township, before filing a property tax complaint or counter-complaint, to pass a resolution approving the complaint or counter-complaint at a public meeting.
- Modified the circumstances under which a county auditor must notify the property owner or a school board that a property tax complaint has been filed against a property.
Click here to review the latest version of House Bill 75.
There was also a concerted effort to enact legislation to provide the opportunity for property owners to seek a reduction in property value due to COVID-19 circumstances. That effort came extremely close to passing but fell just short of the finish line. Both efforts will resume this year – with the COVID-relief language having a chance at passing on an expedited basis.
Ohio’s Sixth District Court of Appeals recently affirmed an Order issued by the Ottawa County Court of Common Pleas granting summary judgment in favor of a lender. See Nationstar Mtge., LLC v. Cody, 6th Dist. Ottawa Case No. OT-18-041, 2020-Ohio-5553.
In Cody, the borrower received $938,250 in exchange for a mortgage granted on two adjacent parcels located on Put-in-Bay Island. One parcel contained a residential structure. The other parcel was mostly vacant, but a portion of a detached garage was located on that “vacant” parcel, along with a private boat dock. The heirs argued that the legal description contained in the Mortgage listed only the street address of the residential parcel.
The Trial Court granted summary judgment, finding that the Mortgage was unambiguous and should be enforced as to both parcels described in the legal description. On appeal, the heirs claimed error based on the Trial Court’s refusal to consider the heirs’ testimony about their father’s claimed statements that the Mortgage wasn’t supposed to encumber the vacant lot. The Appellate Court further found that the legal description included in the Mortgage clearly and unambiguously described both the residential parcel and the vacant parcel, and therefore affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of the lender.
The Cody decision nicely illustrates the importance of using a complete and accurate legal description in your transaction and diffusing any ambiguity as to what property is supposed to be transferred and/or encumbered when you prepare any documents for your real estate transactions (ideally starting with the purchase agreement).
To review the Cody Decision, click here.