Articles Posted in Real Estate & Property Law

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The 74-acre Washington County parcel, near the Ohio River, is subject to a 1980 oil and gas lease between the then-owners and Collins-McGregor, to permit “mining and operating for oil and gas and laying pipe lines, and building tanks, powers, stations, and structures thereon, to produce, save and take care of said products.” Collins-McGregor committed to make royalty payments based on the gas produced and to deliver a portion of the oil produced from the land to the lessors. The lease “shall remain in force for a term of One (1) years from [the effective] date, and as long thereafter as oil or gas, or either of them, is produced from said land by the lessee.” A well was drilled in 1981 and has produced oil and gas in paying quantities since then from the “Gordon Sand” formation. The Landowners contend that production of oil and gas has occurred near their property from below that formation but Collins-McGregor has not explored deep formations for lack of equipment or financial resources. They sought a judgment that the portion of the lease covering depths below the Gordon Sand has terminated because it has expired or been abandoned and that Collins-McGregor has breached implied covenants, including implied covenants of reasonable development and to explore further. The Supreme Court of Ohio affirmed dismissal. Ohio law does not recognize an implied covenant to explore further separate from the implied covenant of reasonable development. View "Alford v. Collins-McGregor Operating Co." on Justia Law

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The 36-unit North Canton apartment complex went into foreclosure.The lender obtained a judgment of $1,700,000. There were no bids at a sheriff’s sale with a minimum bid of $1,400,000. The receiver marketed the property through a national brojkerage firm, which, in a mass-mailing flyer showed a price of $1,325,000. The marketing materials did not mention the sheriff’s sale. There were 17 inquiries and at least six offers to purchase, ranging from $820,000 to $1,200,000, from LFG. There was no relationship between LFG and the receiver or the former owner. The court approved a sale as “commercially reasonable.” Title transferred to LFG in 2011. LFG sought to reduce the property’s tax-year-2012 valuation from $1,841,300 to $1,200,000. The Board of Education filed a counter-complaint. The board relied on “strong testimony” by LFG and “good evidence” that the property was marketed over time and that the price represented fair market value. The Board of Tax Appeals reinstated the auditor’s valuation. The Supreme Court of Ohio reversed, with the instruction that the $1,200,000 sale price be used as the property’s true value for tax purposes. Under the “forced sale” provision of R.C. 5713.04, a forced sale gives rise to a rebuttable presumption that the sale price is not the true value. In this case, the presumption was rebutted by ncontradicted evidence that the transaction at issue was at arms length. View "North Canton City School District Board of Education v. Stark County Board of Revision" on Justia Law

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Notestine, a nonprofit corporation with 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3) status as a charitable institution, owns the 11-unit residential rental property developed as low-income housing under 12 U.S.C. 1701q. Construction costs were $1.5 million. The federal capital advance was $1.3 million. The “project rental assistance” contract requires tenants to be at least 62 years old and have income under 50 percent of the area median. Rent is tied to tenant income at $407 per month, including utilities, with any overage payable to HUD. Tenants pay up to 30 percent of their adjusted gross income on rent, with HUD subsidizing any difference. Capital Advance Program Use and Regulatory Agreements were recorded on title, in effect at least 40 years from 2013, unless released by HUD. An auditor valued the property at $811,120 for 2013, a Logan County reappraisal year. Notestine sought a reduction, arguing that the building's value was $165,000, based on actual rent and expenses. The Board of Tax Appeals adopted the opinion of Notestine’s appraiser, who valued the property at $75,000. The Supreme Court of Ohio affirmed. Although market rents and expenses constitute a “rule” when valuing low-income government housing generally, that rule is presumptive, not conclusive. In this case, the rents are minimal, and federal subsidization is strictly controlled by HUD-imposed restrictions on the accumulation of surpluses. There is no evidence that any adjustment from contract rent to market rent would eliminate the “affirmative value” of government subsidies. View "Notestine Manor, Inc. v. Logan County Board of Revision" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) dismissing the appeal of a group of Landowners challenging the tax commissioner’s journal entries that set forth current agricultural-use values (CAUVs) that county auditors use to value farmland for tax purposes. In this, the Landowners’ second appeal, the Landowners argued that the CAUV journal entries are rules subject to the rulemaking requirements of Ohio Rev. Code 119. The BTA dismissed the appeal, determining that it did not have jurisdiction over the appeal. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the BTA incorrectly stated that it did not have jurisdiction over the Landowners’ rule-review appeal because Ohio Rev. Code 5703.14 plainly authorizes an injured party to challenge a rule issued by the tax commissioner on the basis that it is unreasonable; but (2) because the Landowners did not make any showing that the rules were unreasonable, it was proper for the BTA to dismiss their appeal. View "Adams v. Testa" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) affirming the Board of Revision’s (BOR) valuation of the subject property in this case, concluding that the Board of Education (BOE) had not overcome the presumption that a July 2010 sale of the property was not an arm’s-length transaction. In a related case, the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the BTA ruling that the sale of the subject property and related assets for $43 million in July 2010 did not establish the true value of the property for tax year 2010. The court held that the BTA reasonably and lawfully valued the real property at $13,800,000 - the 2010 appraised value submitted by the property owner. This case involved the same parties, the same property, the same sale, and the same appraisal report but related to tax year 2012. In this appeal, the BOE argued that the July 2010 sale was a recent arm’s-length transaction determining the value of the real property. The Supreme Court held (1) the school board’s reliance on the sale price in this case was barred under the doctrine of collateral estoppel; and (2) the BTA reasonably and lawfully adopted the appraiser’s 2012 valuation. View "Warrensville Heights City School District Board of Education v. Cuyahoga County Board of Revision" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reinstated the appeal of a group of landowners challenging the tax commissioner’s journal entry that set forth a table assigning per-acre values to different types of agricultural land, holding that the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) had jurisdiction to review the journal entry and therefore erred in dismissing the appeal. In dismissing the appeal, the BTA concluded that it id not have jurisdiction under Ohio Rev. Code 5717.02 to consider an appeal of the journal entry because the journal entry was not a “final determination.” The BTA also concluded that the journal entry was not a “rule.” The Supreme Court reversed the BTA’s dismissal of the appeal and remanded the cause for further proceedings, holding (1) the journal entry is not a rule and thus is not subject to challenge under statutory provisions dealing with rulemaking; but (2) the journal entry is a “final determination,” which the BTA has jurisdiction to review. View "Adams v. Testa" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) reversing the decision of the Board of Revision (BOR) and reinstating the auditor’s tax-year-2011 valuation of the subject property at $1,550,000. Appellant filed a valuation complaint, and the BOR reduced the value of the property to $300,000. The BTA found that the record did not support the BOR’s decision to reduce the subject property’s value and reinstated the auditor’s valuation. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the BTA did not violate the rule stated in Bedford Board of Education v. Cuyahoga County Board of Revision, 875 N.E.2d 913, by reinstating the auditor’s valuation. View "Olentangy Local Schools Board of Education v. Delaware County Board of Revision" on Justia Law

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In this real-property valuation case, the Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) that San Diego Real Estate Investments, LLC’s (SD REI) complaint seeking to reduce the county auditor’s tax-year-2010 valuation of the subject property was jurisdictionally valid. SD REI’s complaint alleged that the value of the subject property should be reduced from $90,400 to $26,000. The Board of Revision (BOR) reduced the property’s value to $26,000 for tax year 2010. The Board of Education (BOE) appealed to the BTA. Thereafter, the BOE requested that the BTA remand the matter to the BOR with instructions to dismiss the complaint and reinstate the auditor’s valuation, asserting that SD REI’s complaint failed to invoke the BOR’s jurisdiction because the complaint was filed by an individual lacking the requisite authority. The BTA denied the request and ruled that the property’s value should be $26,000 for tax years 2010 through 2013. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the cause to the BTA with instructions to dismiss the complaint, holding that the complaint was jurisdictionally defective. View "Columbus City Schools Board of Education v. Franklin County Board of Revision" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) denying Appellant’s request to reduce the value of residential property he owned during the 2013 tax year. The subject property consisted of a .13-acre parcel improved with a single-family home. For tax year 2013, Appellant requested that the Board of Revision (BOR) reduce the fiscal officer’s valuation from $88,600 to $6,000. The BOR retained the fiscal officer’s valuation. The BTA also retained the fiscal officer’s valuation, concluding that Appellant failed to met his burden to adduce competent and probative evidence of value and that there was inadequate evidence to independently determine a value. The Supreme Court remanded for consideration of the evidence, holding that the BTA erred by failing to account for potentially material evidence of the property’s sale in 2009. View "Mann v. Cuyahoga County Board of Revision" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) and Board of Revision (BOR) to retain the county fiscal officer’s valuation of real property owned by Appellant. The subject property consisted of a single-family dwelling located on a half-acre parcel in the city of Beachwood. For tax year 2013, Appellant filed a complaint seeking to reduce the fiscal officer’s valuation from $1,429,100 to $850,000. The Supreme Court affirmed the BTA’s decision, holding (1) Appellant’s value-related arguments and procedural arguments were unavailing; and (2) Appellant failed to show that the BTA acted unreasonably or unlawfully. View "Jakobovitch v. Cuyahoga County Board of Revision" on Justia Law