Did you know that landlords in several Ohio counties are required by law to file register with county auditor?
This isn't a new law, just one that has come to my attention recently. In September 2007, the Ohio legislature passed R.C. 5323.02, which requires landlords to register with the auditor's office in the largest Ohio counties. While this post deals with the County Auditor requirements, landlords must be aware that many cities have their own, SEPARATE reporting requirements AND fees. For example, the City of Cleveland provides the following information to landlords:
Q. What is Rental Registration?
Cleveland Codified Ordinance section 365 requires that all owners, agents or person in charge of any dwelling units or designed or intended to be used as rental dwelling units located within the City of Cleveland, whether or not such units are located within the same structure or any part thereof must register and pay rental registration fees of $35.00 per unit and obtain a certificate of rental registration annually from the Department of Building & Housing for such structures or units. This is a non-refundable fee.
Q. What will happen if I do not comply with the ordinance?
Failure to submit the required fees and obtain a rental registration certificate is a violation of the Housing Code and subject to prosecution and penalties. If found guilty in Housing Court, you will be required to pay the full amount in addition to fines and court cost. The fine can be $100 per day for each day the payment is delinquent.
I hope you didn’t miss the registration fee or the fine. Check with the city where your residential rental property is located. Here’s a sampling:
This list is a sampling. Check with your city.
Who Must Report?
First, you must own “residential rental property” (“RRP”). Okay, so how is that term defined—what is RRP? Ohio law states that it real property with “one or more dwelling units leased or otherwise rented to tenants solely for residential purpose.” R.C. 5323.01(E). This code section also applies to mobile home parks and the like. Id. Hotels and dorms are excluded. Id.
Second, the RRP must be located in a county with a population of more than 200,000. Id. As of the 2010 census, the following counties fell into this category: Franklin, Cuyahoga, Hamilton, Summit, Montgomery, Lucas, Butler, Stark, Lorain, Mahoning, Lake, Warren, Clermont, and Trumbull (individually, a “Reporting County”). Caveat, this list was public from public sources. Check with your County Auditor to be sure of your reporting obligations.
What do you have to do if you own RRP in a Reporting Count?
Check the Auditor’s website for instructions. Each has a form. Links are included below:
What information must be reported?
The name, address, and telephone number of the owner.
The street address and permanent parcel number of the RRP.
When must you report?
The RRP owner has an obligation to report or update the information required within sixty days after any change in the information occurs or when the RPP was acquired. What if it has been more than sixty days? The failure to file this information in a timely manner may result in the assessment of a fine or penalty against the property that is the subject of the violation. If you are past the 60-day deadline, it's best to self report as soon as possible. Fines and penalties can wreak havoc on cash flow.
Why Should I Report?
The short answer is because it is the law. But if you need another reason, don't try filing for an eviction in Cleveland Housing Court without complying with Ohio law. Cleveland landlords, for instance, have to prove the have registered their RPP in order to ask for the Court's assistance in an eviction matter. See the Cleveland Housing Court's notice:
The Ohio Department of Taxation produced a Bulletin addressed to Ohio’s auditors that fully explains the residential rental property registration law. That bulletin can be read in full here: https://goo.gl/c27zwV
Caveat: All links were last visited and active as of March 17, 2018.
Steve Nowak © 2018
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to convey general information only and not to provide legal advice or opinions. The contents of this article should not be construed as, and should not be relied upon for legal advice in any particular circumstance or fact situation. The article is intended to inform the general public of its legal rights. No formal legal action should be taken in reliance on the information contained in this article and I disclaim any and all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this site to the fullest extent permitted by law. An attorney--especially in Ohio--should be contacted for advice on a case-by-case basis.