Acquiring Property By Adverse Possession

An Ohio Court of Appeals recently affirmed a determination that adverse possession had been achieved, even though conflicting testimony was presented on that subject at Trial.  Lloyd v. Newland, 2021-Ohio-2342.

In that case, Lloyd purchased property in 1997 that was adjacent to an overgrown lot owned by Newland.  A couple of months later, Lloyd requested that Newland and her sons clean-up and maintain the Newland property.  Nevertheless, several months later, the Newland property remained overgrown, and so Lloyd cleared it, and began taking care of the Newland property.  According to Lloyd, he then proceeded to mow the grass, built a pitching mound, filled in a valley, and planted a garden – all on the Newland property.

Newland testified that she did not pay much attention to her property, although she noticed that the grass had been cut, but didn’t know by whom.  In October of 2019, Lloyd filed a Complaint, asserting adverse possession of the Newland property.  Lloyd denied ever asking for anyone’s permission to do anything with the Newland property.  Therefore, there was contradicting evidence as to the adversity element of adverse possession.  However, the Trial Court found Lloyd’s testimony was more credible, and ultimately concluded that Lloyd acquired title by adverse possession.

The Appellate Court found that testimony was introduced at the Trial that Lloyd used the Newland property exclusively, and that Lloyd’s use was continuous, adverse, notorious, and open for more than 21 years.  Although there was conflicting evidence presented at Trial on the adversity element, the Trial Court was in the best position to determine whose testimony was more credible, and the Trial Court believed Lloyd’s testimony.  Thus, the Court of Appeals found that Lloyd provided clear and convincing evidence supporting each element of adverse possession and upheld the Trial Court’s decision.

Adverse possession is one of very few ways that ownership of real estate may be different than the public records reflect.  When purchasing real estate, be mindful of whether the elements of adverse possession might have been satisfied by someone else.  Obtain a survey, and make part of your due diligence whether and how the property you are purchasing is being used by others, and consult with counsel who has experience with these issues if you have any doubt or any questions whatsoever.

Real Property Tax Challenge Bill to Become Ohio Law

Governor DeWine signed House Bill 126 on April 21, 2022, and it will officially become the law of Ohio 90 days later on July 21, 2022.  Passage of House Bill 126 is a great step in the right direction for the commercial real estate industry, and our lawyers were active in the process to help make this happen.

To learn more about the passage of this legislation, click here to review the final version of House Bill 126 that was passed.

Bill Would Improve Multiple Facets of Ohio Real Estate Title Law

Omni Title’s General Counsel, Rick Craven, recently testified before the Ohio House Finance Committee on behalf of the Ohio State Bar Association, in support of Ohio House Bill 237, which would improve multiple facets of Ohio real estate title law, including electronic recording, access to real property records, powers of attorney, lien priority, and judgment liens.

If it becomes law, this proposed Bill would require County Offices throughout Ohio to accept documents electronically for recording and to provide access to records electronically going back to at least 1980.  Additionally, language that our lawyers drafted was amended into HB 237 to improve Ohio judgment lien law and to codify the Restatement view of mortgage subrogation in lien priority cases.

Check out Rick Craven’s impressive testimony in support of HB 237 by clicking here to view a video of the Hearing before the Ohio House Finance Committee, during which Rick explained the Bill and its contours extremely well to the members of that inquisitive legislative body.

Real Property Taxation Bill Future Uncertain

The Ohio House of Representatives unanimously rejected the Ohio Senate’s amended version of House Bill 126 that would have changed Ohio law to only allow school boards to file complaints to increase value in response to a complaint to reduce value.  That Bill now heads to a Conference Committee with select members of the House and Senate set to determine its fate.

Omni Title Team Grows with the Addition of The Title Company Team

Omni Title LLC is excited to announce that the talented title professionals at The Title Company, Ltd., a title agency that has been conducting business for over 22 years, have joined the Omni Title team.  In doing so, we are welcoming five new team members to join our already remarkable team, to bring our title and escrow team to a total of 15 team members throughout Ohio.

We are excited about this next phase of our journey, and we know that you will experience an even higher level of service that we have been fortunate to provide to our Clients over the past 18 years, now fortified by an even deeper bench of extremely talented title and escrow professionals who share our primary core value of having genuine care and concern for your success and well-being.