City of Cincinnati enacts new Land Installment Contract law

The City of Cincinnati has enacted a new series of restrictions on property owners selling under land installment contracts as Chapter 870 of the Cincinnati Municipal Code.

It appears to be a response to the questionable tactics of a single large investor who bought a significant number of properties in the subprime mortgage crisis, and then resold portions of the portfolio to unqualified buyers on land installment contract.  This investor/seller is Harbor Portfolio Advisors, against whom this firm has successfully litigated.  You may read more on that here.

The new ordinance provides:

  • Before selling a property on land installment contract, the vendor must first obtain a certificate of occupancy for the property (CMC 870-03).
  • The vendor must both deliver to the certificate of occupancy to the vendee and record the land contract within 20 days (CMC 870-04).
  • The vendor may not require the vendee to sign a quit claim deed to the vendor at the time of execution of the land installment contract (CMC 870-07(d)).
  • The name listed on the records of the Auditor is presumed to be the owner for purposes of enforcing the ordinance.
  • The remedies under the Ordinance include rescission of the land contract (meaning the vendee can get paid back to him sums paid thereunder), and actual damages, statutory damages of $5,000 per violation and the vendee’s attorneys fees incurred in pursuing his remedies under the ordinance.

For more information about enforcing your rights under the new land installment contract statute or suing Harbor Portfolio Advisors in Ohio or Kentucky, contact Chris Finney (513-943-6655) or Julie Gugino (513-943-5669).