Contractors, laborers, and materialmen tend to run into issues receiving payment for their work on certain projects. A terrific way for contractors, laborers, and materialmen to guard against not getting paid is to attach a Mechanic’s Lien to the property on which the contractors, laborers, and materialmen performed their work. From an extremely general point of view, to perfect a Mechanic’s Lien, contractors, laborers, and materialmen must file an “Affidavit for Mechanic’s Lien,” with the recorder’s office in the county where the property is located.

It is key to remember that there are time limits that must be adhered to on the front end and back end of filing an Affidavit for Mechanic’s Lien.

The Front End

When it comes to the front end, the time limit will vary based on the type of project.

If the Mechanic’s Lien is associated with a residential property, like a family home or condominium, then a contractor, laborer, or materialman claiming a Mechanic’s Lien has sixty (60) days from the date that the last labor was performed, or material was provided by the contractor, laborer, or materialman.[1]

If a Mechanic’s Lien is associated with oil or gas wells or facilities, then a contractor, laborer, or materialman claiming a Mechanic’s Lien has one hundred and twenty (120) days from the date that the last labor was performed, or material was provided by the contractor, laborer, or materialman.[2]

For all other Mechanic’s Liens, a contractor, laborer, or materialman claiming a Mechanic’s Lien has one seventy-five (75) days from the date that the last labor was performed, or material was provided by the contractor, laborer, or materialman.[3]

The Back End

ORC Section 1311.13 deals with attachment of liens, continuance, and priority. ORC Section 1311.13(C) states that Mechanic’s Liens, under sections 1311.01 to 1311.24, continue for six years after the Affidavit for Mechanic’s Lien is filed with the county recorder, as required by ORC Section 1311. If a cause of action based on a Mechanic’s Lien is brought within the six years, then the Mechanic’s Lien will continue “in force until final adjudication thereof.”

If a cause of action based on a Mechanic’s Lien is not brought within the six-year period, then the rights associated with the Mechanic’s Lien are extinguished.[4] Thus, there is a six-year statute of limitations to bring a cause of action based on a Mechanic’s Lien.[5] Furthermore, “the statutory scheme for the filing and enforcement of [M]echanic’s [L]iens does not provide for the tolling or expansion of designated statutory time limits.”[6]

If you have a Mechanic’s Lien and need to act, please feel free to reach out to the Finney Law Firm, before it is too late!

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[1] ORC Ann. 1311.06(B)(1).

[2] ORC Ann. 1311.06(B)(2).

[3] ORC Ann. 1311.06(B)(2).

[4] Banner Constr. Co. v. Koester, 2000 Ohio App. LEXIS 1313, *1.

[5] Id.

[6] Id.

Every year, the Auditor of each of Ohio’s 88 counties publishes a chart like this showing the tax rates for each taxing district in each County.

In Hamilton County, there are 241 distinct taxing districts, each having a complex calculation to develop the net residential and commercial rates of taxation (taxing districts being greater in number than either municipalities and townships or school districts, because the boundaries of some frequently overlap one another). Here are the five highest commercial and residential taxing districts in Hamilton County:

Highest Commercial rates
MunicipalityTownshipSchool DistrictCommercial millageCommercial percentage
WyomingSpringfieldFinneytown135.544.765%
ColombiaMariemont131.3564.618%
SpringfieldFinneytown128.5894.521%
Lincoln HeightsPrinceton123.754.351%
Mt. HealthySpringfieldMt. Healthy121.6654.277%
Highest Residential rates
MunicipalityTownshipSchool DistrictResidential millageResidential percentage
Lincoln HeightsPrinceton111.4663.919%
WyomingSpringfieldFinneytown110.3443.879%
Mt. HealthySpringfieldMt. Healthy104.6193.678%
SpringfieldFinneytown103.3943.635%
Golf ManorCincinnati101.263.560%

As you can see, several Hamilton County commercial districts well exceed 4.0% in annual tax rates (approaching 5.0%) and the highest residential rates are bumping up against the 4.0% threshold.

 

One of Joe Biden’s first acts as President yesterday was extending the residential eviction moratorium until March 31, 2021. Read the CDC statement on that here.

We are hearing there will be extensive changes to the moratorium processes and procedures that will tilt the scales decidedly in favor of non-paying tenants. We will keep our blog readers updated on those changes as they occur.

The CDC in its release attributes the moratorium to “a housing affordability crisis” that they now place even more so on the books and backs of landlords to resolve.

We are proud to announce that experienced real estate attorney Bruce G. Hopkins today joined the transactional group at Finney Law Firm. Bruce and Chris Finney practiced law together in the real estate group at Frost & Jacobs (now Frost, Brown Todd) at the beginning of their careers, so this is a long-delayed reunion of careers.

His practice is focused on retail and mixed-use projects, including development, leasing, resolution and litigation of disputes with tenants, purchases and sales, due diligence, management and operations matters.  He frequently works on investment-grade properties located across the United States.

Prior to becoming a lawyer, Bruce worked for almost a decade in the real estate industry doing commercial real estate appraisal work, commercial real estate lending and development for a major life insurance company, and commercial real estate development and management for a private developer.

Read more about Bruce here and let us know how Bruce can help your real estate project.

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday clarified the nationwide eviction moratorium that it had issued on September 4, 2020, lasting through the end of the year. That clarification (“Frequently Asked Questions”) is linked here.

Some important points from the FAQ:

  • The Order does not prevent owners from commencing eviction proceedings so long as the actual eviction (which we interpret to mean the set out) does not take place until January. As we see it, this means that evictions can proceed to writ, but the set out must wait until January.
  • As set forth in this blog entry, the protection to a tenant under the eviction moratorium is trigged when the tenant signs a CDC form that certifies all of the following (every adult residing in the unit must sign the form for the moratorium to take effect).
    • The individual has used best efforts to obtain government assistance for the payment of rent.
    • The individual falls below the above-income thresholds.
    • The individual can’t pay rent due to loss of income or medical expenses.
    • The individual is using best efforts to pay the rent or as much of it as he can.
    • Eviction would render the individual homeless.
  • An owner may cross examine (or perhaps conduct discovery as the Court would allow) as to the truthfulness of those certifications. Previously, the rule was ambiguous on this point, leading to inconsistent application throughout the thousands of jurisdictions handling executions in the nation.
  • Landlord are not required to inform tenants of their rights under the CDC Order.
  • The clarification reiterates that (a) tenants still owe their rent and (b) tenants have a duty to make partial rent payments as they are able.
  • The clarification reiterates the criminal penalties for tenants making material misrepresentations on the CDC form.

Friday’s FAQ pronouncement tilts the effect of the moratorium in favor of landlords. Given that the set out in Ohio typically is six-to-eight weeks after the start of the process (the 3-day notice), the real delay in recovering possession of a landlord’s property from a non-paying tenant is now under 30 days.

The scope of the moratorium is limited to situations where the default is solely the non-payment of rent. Our firm has successfully worked with landlords who need to recover possession of their property from hold over tenants, squatters, those causing physical damage to property, those involving illegal use and sale of drugs, too many occupants and other lease violations.

Please call our experienced landlord/tenant litigators if you have questions. Contact Julie Gugino (513.943.5669) for more information.

 

As many in the Ohio real estate, title and finance industries are aware, this firm along with the firm of Markovits, Stock and Demarco are co-counsel to several Plaintiffs challenging a long-running real estate scam that has ensnared hundreds of victims in the greater Cincinnati marketplace.

The Complaint alleges causes of action under Civil RICO, Civil Conspiracy, Breach of Fiduciary Duty by both the various Build Realty companies, First Title and Pat Connors, Negligence against First Title and Pat Connors, Unjust Enrichment, and a declaration that the various schemes designed to avoid the statutory right of redemption and the right of a borrower to excess proceeds under a lending arrangement are illegal, and that the trusts themselves are illegal and contrary to public policy.

The defendants in the proposed Amended Complaint include:

  • Build Realty, Inc.
  • First Title Agency, Inc.
  • Edgar Construction, LLC
  • Cincy Construction, LLC
  • McGregor , First Title, LLC
  • Cowtown Holdings, LLC
  • Build SWO, LLC
  • Greenleaf Support Services, LLC
  • Gary Bailey as Trustee and individually
  • George Triantafilou, as trustee and individually
  • Robert Scott Whiteside
  • G2 Technologies, LLC
  • GT Financial, LLC
  • Five Mile Capital Partners, LLC
  • Smith Graham & Co., Investment Advisors, L.P.
  • Pat Connors

A copy of the proposed form of Amended Complaint is here and below.

It appears this case will soon be moving forward before Federal District Court Judge Cole.

We will endeavor to keep victims updated by means of this blog as developments occur.

If you have questions, it’s best to email Christopher P. Finney. You may also call him at 513-720-2996.

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Faith is the Overcoming Victory! 1 John 5:4-5 - Therefore Now ...

Well, that didn’t take long.

On Monday, Finney Law Firm filed suit against Hamilton County’s Municipal Court Judges  at the Ohio Supreme Court to make them re-open eviction proceedings that had been shut down since March 15.

Just last week, presiding Judge Heather Russell had signed an order extending the eviction moratorium through July 1, and the Clerk was not scheduling new hearings until the end of July. In fact, the Clerk’s office was telling prospective plaintiffs that they had no idea when eviction court would re-open.

As is reported here, Hamilton County was the second-to-last of Ohio’s 88 counties to re-open eviction court.

On Wednesday, the Judges met and, possibly motivated by our law suit, voted to re-open eviction proceedings  essentially immediately, Monday, June 8. We’ll consider that a victory for our client!

We also want to thank the Cincinnati Real Estate Investors’ Association (CREIA) and the Ohio Real Estate Investors’ Association (OREIA)  for their initiation and funding of the suit!

Finally, our co-counsel, Curt Hartman led the legal team on this quick and successful battle.

Jennifer Edwards Baker of Fox 19 has the story here.

Dan Horn of the Enquirer has the story here.

Hamilton County Court House

The COVID-19 crisis has created a series of delays in civil and criminal cases.  One of those casualties has been residential evictions in Hamilton County.

The problem

No evictions hearings have been held since March 15, and the earliest they are scheduling new hearings at present is July 28. This means not only that landlords can’t clear their properties of tenants who won’t pay rent, but also that tenants who deal drugs, damage property — or even worse criminal behavior — can stay in possession now for more than five months before the landlord can have a hearing to restore possession of the property to him.

Suing the Judges

Finney Law Firm has initiated a relatively unused action — for a Writ of Procedendo — to force the Hamilton County Municipal Court Judges to proceed with forcible entry and detainer actions. The Complaint, captioned State Ex rel. Salvador Properties v. Judge Heather Russell is here.

Other counties

Below is what our research has shown other counties currently are doing (note “per normal” noted below means you can timely get a decision in an eviction case; there may be modified procedures and hours to accommodate the crisis):

  • Butler County: Holding hearings per normal;
  • Warren County: Holding hearings per normal;
  • Clermont County: Holding hearings per normal;
  • Franklin County (Columbus): Holding hearings per normal;
  • Montgomery County (Dayton): Holding hearings per normal;
  • Summit County (Akron and all Municipal Courts): Holding hearings per normal;
  • Lucas County (Toledo): Holding hearings per normal;
  • Mahoning County (Youngstown): No hearings being scheduled; and
  • Cuyahoga County (Cleveland and all Municipal Courts): Cleveland and Cleveland Heights are holding hearings after 6/15/20 and 6/17/20, respectively, and other Municipal Courts (Shaker Heights and Berea) are holding hearings per normal.

So, of surrounding counties and Ohio’s major urban counties, only Mahoning (Youngstown) and two of four Municipal Courts in Cuyahoga County are further delaying eviction hearings for COVID-19 issues. Other than Youngstown with no hearings being scheduled at all, Hamilton County presently is the worst in the State for scheduling eviction hearings.

Conclusion

This suit is one in a series of actions initiated by Finney Law Firm to re-open Ohio business and Courts that have been closed under the COVID-19 crisis. For more information, contact Chris Finney (513.943.6655).

Federal District Court Judge Douglas Cole today issued  an important 51-page decision in Compound Property Management, LLC, et al, v. Build Realty, Inc., et al., the real estate/RICO class action  law suit that seeks to stop what Finney Law Firm alleges are illegal and fraudulent practices by a group of Defendants and obtain monetary recovery for our clients.  Potential class action members number more than 450.

Defendants who participated in the scheme include:

  • Build Realty, Inc.
  • Edgar Construction, LLC
  • Cincy Construction, LLC
  • MacGregor Holdings, LLC
  • Cowtown Holdings, LLC
  • Build NKY, LLC
  • Greenleaf Support Services, LLC
  • Build SWO, LLC
  • Gary Bailey
  • George Triantafilou
  • First Title Agency, LLC
  • GT Financial, LLC
  • G2 Technologies, LLC

You may read the federal Complaint here.

You may read Federal District Court Judge Cole’s the ruling on the Defendants Motions to Dismiss here.

For more information on this case, continue to monitor this blog, or contact Chris Finney at 513-720-2996.