Ohio Supreme Court Issues Instructive Decision in Property Valuation Case

In a unanimous per curiam opinion, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that even when there is a recent arm’s-length sale, appraisal evidence of value should be considered to contradict the sale price.

In Spirit Master Funding IX, L.L.C. v. Cuyahoga Cty. Bd. of Revision, Slip Opinion No. 2018-Ohio-4302, the subject property was sold twice in 2014, one in August for $2,925,880; and again in December for $3,439,0290. The property was not subject to a lease at the time of the first sale, but was subject to a 20 year lease at the time of the second.

The Board of Tax Appeals adopted the August sale price as the true value, disregarding an appraiser’s opinion that the property’s true value as of January 1, 2014 was $1,535,000. The Board of Tax Appeals accepted the school board’s argument that the property owner did not dispute that the August 2014 sale was arm’s length, believing that question to be dispositive.

“The school board’s argument ignores the fact that appraisal evidence can both attack a sale price as evidence of true value and provide affirmative evidence of value in its own right” Spirit Master Funding IX, Slip Opinion No. 2018-Ohio-4302, ¶ 9.

The case has been remanded to the Board of Tax Appeals to give consideration to the testimony and report of the property owner’s appraiser.

This decision continues a trend at the Ohio Supreme Court to give force to the recent changes to Ohio’s property valuation regime.

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