We are excited to announce that as of July 1, 2021, our Managing Partner, Mike Sikora, began his two-year term as the Chair of the Ohio State Bar Association’s Real Property Section Council. Mike has faithfully served on the OSBA’s Section Council since 2010 and has played a significant advocacy role for the Ohio State Bar Association on real property and title matters. The OSBA Real Property Section Council is the leadership that represents the interests of real property lawyers throughout Ohio. The Ohio State Bar Association is one of the most powerful and influential legislative advocacy organizations in Ohio. Sikora Law attorneys are privileged to maintain high level active leadership positions in professional associations that will help better the title industry for many years to come.
Congratulations to our Managing Partner, Mike Sikora, who recently received the highly regarded distinction of being selected to the 28th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America in Real Estate Law. The latest edition is now available on. We are proud to know that our industry peers think so highly of Mike.
House Bill 123, the legislation that would modify the law governing community reinvestment areas, has been a topic of much discussion over the past couple of months. With construction costs rising, making it harder to develop commercial real estate, economic development incentive programs are more important than ever. That Bill would expand the use and benefits from CRA-designated districts. That Bill passed the Ohio House on May 26, 2021. Mike Sikora and Rick Craven have been involved on behalf of NAIOP in discussing proposed modifications to improve that Bill that would further benefit the commercial real estate industry.
Construction costs continue to rise – with no good answer in sight. That makes economic development incentives more important than ever to get development deals or redevelopment deals done. One such economic development incentive is Ohio’s new Transformational Mixed-use Development Program.
Ohio’s Transformational Mixed-used Development Program has the potential to promote commercial real estate development that makes our communities stronger. Crain’s Cleveland Business featured an excellent story on this subject, in which Mike Sikora was asked to share the latest details on that Program, and its future, as well as the promise it affords to the commercial real estate industry in Ohio.
Check out that article in Crain’s Cleveland Business by clicking here.
Despite our best efforts to craft legislation to enable dower to be abolished, it will remain part of Ohio real estate title law for the foreseeable future. Our firm invested considerable time drafting legislation narrowly tailored to address the sole purpose asserted by Ohio domestic lawyers for keeping dower in Ohio. The domestic lawyers sole stated purpose is to limit or curb equity stripping by title holding spouses in marital residences, which may thereby harm non-title holding spouses. Members of the Ohio State Bar Association Real Property Section then helped us refine that language. The Ohio Land Title Association has decided that it does not support the proposed spousal share legislation as drafted.
If this legislative initiative or anything similar to it ever moves forward at any point in the future, rest assured, our firm will continue to be part of the process.
Mike Sikora was interviewed for a story on Ohio’s OZ Program that was featured in last week’s Crain’s Cleveland Business. To review that article that provided a synopsis on Round 2 of the Ohio Opportunity Zone Program, specifically as to Northeast Ohio, click here.
Round 2 of Ohio’s Opportunity Zone Program was just completed. Sikora Law broke its previous record by preparing and/or submitting 51 Ohio Opportunity Zone Applications for Round 2 of that Program. Sikora Law Clients received approximately 35% of all Ohio Opportunity Zone tax credits that were issued in 2021 (topping our record in Round 1 of 21% and 42 Applications).
Sikora Law has also helped a number of its Clients monetize their awards through a sale and transfer process that allows developers and their investors to receive a near immediate return on their investment in Ohio Opportunity Zones.
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 Sixth District Court of Appeals recently affirmed an Order issued by the Ottawa County Court of Common Pleas granting summary judgment in favor of an party that was represented by our lawyers. 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. Our lawyers presented evidence to the Trial Court showing that the Mortgage described both parcels by metes and bounds and by parcel numbers. Our lawyers also produced evidence showing that the borrower had intended to mortgage the vacant parcel, such as the appraisal, which included both the detached garage and the private dock in the valuation of the property. They also presented evidence showing that no separate street address had ever been assigned to the vacant parcel, and thus no such other street address could have been included in the description of the property to be encumbered.
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 our Client.
To review the Cody Decision, click here.
Both the number and significance of cases involving disputes between landlords and tenants continue to rise. Ohio’s Twelfth District Court of Appeals just decided a case in which a tenant was evicted for failure to pay rent, and the advantages one party had over the other proved costly for the losing party. Landings at Beckett Ridge v. Holmes, 2020-Ohio-6900.
The landlord obtained an order from the Trial Court evicting the non-paying tenant. The tenant appealed from that decision, which normally would have allowed the tenant more time to occupy the premises until the appeal (and all of the litigation) was completed. However, that tenant did not file a Motion to Stay the underlying Trial Court Judgment. As a result, the Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal, the tenant was evicted, and the tenant no longer had any rights in the premises.
To review the Holmes case, click here.