Gov. DeWine signs property valuation appeal measure
By Beth Wanless, Ohio REALTORS Director of Government Affairs
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recently signed legislation beneficial to property owners and businesses across the state. Senate Bill 57 garnered broad, bi-partisan support in both the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives. Ohio REALTORS heavily advocated for passage of this important bill that included provisions helpful to the commercial and industrial real estate industry.
The measure allows commercial and industrial tenants and certain agents of the tenant to file a property valuation complaint or counterclaim if the tenant pays all property taxes per their lease, and if the landlord or property owner gives authorization. The ability for a commercial or industrial tenant to challenge the tax valuation would give a tenant the ability to act quickly and meet valuation filing deadlines. The eligible tenants are able to file complaints or counterclaims beginning for tax year 2021.
It also helps property owners and businesses who have been significantly impacted by COVID and related Stay at Home orders. The legislation creates a special, temporary process that would allow an eligible party to file a complaint with a County Board of Revision to request that a property’s tax valuation for 2020 be set using Oct.1, 2020, rather than Jan. 1, 2020 which is the current date that property valuations are determined. This change gives Boards of Revision the ability to consider the financial impact COVID and subsequent orders had on real property valuations.
If a property’s value decreased between Jan. 1, 2020 and Oct. 1, 2020 due to COVID, an eligible party must provide specific evidence to show a reduction in the property’s value to allow for a revision. It is important to note that Boards of Revision will dismiss a complaint that only alleges a general decline in market conditions in the area where the property is located. A party must show compelling, specific evidence relating to the COVID pandemic or state-wide COVID-related orders. These complaints must be filed with the county auditor within 30 days of this provision’s effective date which is yet to be determined as the bill is still pending in the Senate as of late March.
Additionally, SB 57 waives the current rule that, with limited exceptions, only allows one complaint to be filed during an interim period. The legislation waives this rule for tax year 2020 COVID related complaints. The bill also waives this rule for valuation complaints filed for tax year 2021 or 2022 that only allege a reduction in value due to COVID. Again, Boards of Revision are not required to grant the waiver unless sufficient evidence is provided regarding the reduction in value due to COVID. This temporary waiver only applies to tax year 2021 and 2022 and then will sunset.
We appreciate the legislature for taking swift action on this legislation. Previously the bill had nearly been passed both chambers, but failed to advance in the final hours of the 133rd General Assembly ending on Dec. 31, 2020. Ohio REALTORS is proud to be proponent of this legislation that helps the real estate and business community during this trying time.