LEGAL UPDATE - 2022
Lien law update. House Bill 321 was signed into law by Governor DeWine on June 14 and takes effect on September 13, 2022. The bill amended the lien law as follows:
The law was amended in 2021 to expressly permit owners to send required notices by email. However, the law did not permit email to be used as the exclusive means to send notice. Owners were also required to send the notice via first class mail. Starting on September 13, the notice may be sent exclusively by electronic mail to the occupant, but only if both of the following apply:
- The occupant agreed to receive the notice via electronic mail and provided an electronic mail address to the owner in the original rental agreement or in a subsequent amendment to the rental agreement; and,
- The owner sends the notice via electronic mail in such a way as to establish, with a response or return receipt, that the message was delivered to the occupant's electronic mail address.
If the owner cannot establish that the notice was delivered with a response or return receipt, the owner must send the notice via first class mail with a certificate of mailing.
House Bill 321 also provided some “clean up” to the towing section. The law previously used “shall” in the towing section, which some owners interpreted to mean that all motor vehicles and watercraft were required to be towed. The 2022 amendments change the “shall” to “may” to confirm that vehicle towing is only a permissive remedy and that owners may elect to sell certain titled property as permitted elsewhere in Ohio law. It also expanded the types of property that may be towed to include trailers, in addition to motor vehicles and watercraft.
These changes may require revisions to the operator’s rental agreement if the operator wants to send default notices exclusively by email. Click here to purchase the Ohio Lien Law Annotated, which explains all of the new amendments in depth and provides recommendations for implementation.
Property taxes. House Bill 126 was signed into law in April by Governor Mike DeWine. It takes effect on July 19, 2022. The bill makes several favorable changes to property tax assessment challenges. Under current law, county auditors make an initial property tax assessment. If either the taxpayer or the local school district believes that the assessment is too high or too low, either party may file a complaint with the County Board of Revision. Once a decision is rendered at that level, either party may appeal to the Board of Tax Appeals.
Now, a school district may file an original complaint only if the complaint is based on a determination that the property was sold in an arm’s length transaction before, but not after, the tax lien date for the tax year for which the complaint is filed, and the sale price exceeds the true value of the property appearing on the tax list for that tax year by both ten per cent and more than $500,000 above the value set by the county auditor. Additionally, the complaint must be expressly authorized by the school board at a public meeting.
The bill also prohibits entering into a private payment agreement. A private payment agreement
means any type of agreement in which a property owner, or any person acting on behalf of a property owner or such a tenant agrees to make one or more payments to a school district in exchange for refraining from filing a complaint or counter-complaint; dismissing a complaint or counter-complaint; or, resolving a claim by settlement agreement.
HB126 also changes the appeals process. Local school districts are no longer permitted to appeal a decision to the Board of Tax Appeals. HB126 is likely to provide tax relief for self storage owners and operators in the state.
BUILDING CODES UPDATE
Changes to the International Building Code Affect Self Storage
With the support of its Code Committee, the Self Storage Association successfully pursued several key changes to the 2021 International Building Code.
- An exception has been added to IBC Section 2902.3.3 to permit an increase in the location (to greater than every other floor) and maximum distance of travel (to greater than 500 ft) for restrooms. The location and travel distance must be approved by the code official.
- The maximum allowable height of sprinklered facilities made of Type IIB materials (unprotected steel) and Type IIIB materials (noncombustible or fire-retardant-treated wood stud exterior walls and any interior construction) has been increased from 3 stories to 4 stories. The Code continues to have total floor and building square footage limits.
- Pursuant to modified IBC Section 903.2.9, storage facilities are exempt from the automatic sprinkler system requirement if: (1) the total fire area is 12,000 sq. ft. or less; (2) the combined total fire areas are 24,000 sq. ft. or less; (3) the facility is no greater than one story above grade plane; and (4) all storage spaces are accessed directly from the exterior.
These changes go into effect as they are adopted by local and state governments over the next several years. Prior to the adoption on the local and state level, storage developers can request that the code official rely on the 2021 changes as acceptable alternative methods of construction pursuant to section 104.11 of the existing International Building Code.
Please email Joe Doherty with any questions or to receive supporting documentation for these changes.