County treasurers across Ohio are looking to set into law a way to ensure property taxes get paid with Senate Bill 186.

If someone wants to buy a foreclosed property, the bill would require the buyer to prove that they have no other delinquent properties. 

“It would increase our collectability rate and decrease our delinquency, which is always a good thing,” Daniel Yemma, the Mahoning County Treasurer said. 

Meaning, it would be harder for people to avoid paying and keep racking up property taxes so the county will get the money they need to distribute to local communities and public entities. 

Senate Bill 186 also would require back taxes to be paid before a home gets transferred in a sale. Right now, there is no requirement under Ohio law that property taxes be paid before a property is sold or subdivided.

“A buyer is now going to buy the property and have to keep it addressed. They can’t buy the property, not pay the taxes and then transfer it to somebody else,” Sam Lamancusa, the Trumbull County Treasurer said. 

Those transfers are usually being done by out of state LLC’s who are buying run down properties, not fixing them and then just renting them out. Lamancusa and Yemma said it rarely happens in their counties but happens more in major cities. 

The hope under this bill is that by making sure the outstanding tax bill is settled, it will discourage these landlords from buying up the properties in the first place. Treasurers feel preventing those LLC’s from grabbing more properties would allow it to go to a better buyer who’s more likely to fix it up.

“Pride happens in ownership and when you're just buying homes to just buy them and not doing anything with them then you lose the pride so that is what keeps blight away, keeps bad things away,” Lamancusa said. 

This also would ensure no surprises of delinquent taxes on buyers. In a private sale, sellers don’t have to disclose if they haven't paid their property taxes. Once the sale and transfer is complete the new owner then gets stuck with the burden of paying those back taxes. Treasurers said those instances in our area are rare and only happen during private sales when a closing agent or a bank is not involved in a property sale.

The bill would ensure that sellers disclose if taxes are due on a property to any potential buyer.

The County Treasurers Association of Ohio supports Senate Bill 186. It is still being discussed in the senate and has to go through the house and governor to pass.