New Ohio law aims to help property owners hampered by pandemic

New Ohio law aims to help property owners hampered by pandemic

A new law signed by Gov. Mike DeWine knits together several provisions that aim to help residential and commercial property owners affected by the pandemic.

For example, one part of the bill exempts permanent supportive housing from property taxes, while another allows for property tax valuation relief, which most strongly impacts commercial landlords.

The property tax language will allow landlords to request their county board of revision to redo property tax valuations for the year 2020 be determined as of Oct. 1, 2020 instead of Jan. 1, 2020, as is normally required. It also lifts the restriction of one redo request in each three-year valuation cycle.

Property owners must file before Aug. 25 and demonstrate “with particularity” that the property’s value has been reduced because of the pandemic or stay-at-home orders. That would be a big relief in particular for hotel, restaurant and hospitality properties, said Nicholas Ray, a partner in the tax group of Vorys Sater Seymour and Pease LLP.

“Fifteen months ago is a lifetime ago when we think about the effect of the pandemic,” Ray said. “It’s an opportunity to acknowledge there were big adverse affects on real estate properties and there needed to be some recognition of them.”

Sponsored by Sens. Bob Hackett, R-London and Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood, the bill knits together the permanent supportive housing language with the property tax valuation relief, which came from an amendment from the House of Representatives, effectively passing two bills that didn’t make it through last year’s lame-duck session.

The new law goes into effect July 26.

Another portion of the law codifies that permanent supportive housing providers have been exempt from real property tax, pushing back on some recent decisions from the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals that questioned that exemption. The protection has its own pandemic-related angle, incentivizing a strongly needed type of housing and reducing homelessness, Ray said.

“Now more than ever, we need to keep our most vulnerable people housed in (permanent supportive housing),” Antonio said in a statement. “Without Senate Bill 57, all of the progress that counties across the state have made toward ending homelessness for veterans, infants and children, families, persons with mental illness, and other disability groups would be in jeopardy.”