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Drugs, Crime, and Real Estate

It is clear that no one is immune from drug related incidents and/or the effects of drug use. What are the implications for real property owners and managers? The obvious answer is that drug usage leads to crime which leads to diminution in property values. This crime also means that homeowners, business owners, and landowners need to take extra precautions to protect property and to ensure safety.

What isn’t so obvious is that Ohio law gives authority for courts to abate nuisances. See R.C. §3767.01 through R.C. §3767.07. For example, a city prosecutor has the power to abate a nuisance and to perpetually enjoin property owners and managers from allowing the nuisance to continue. In doing so, the typical course is for the city prosecutor to file an injunction action. After the complaint is filed, a temporary injunction may be filed with the court. A hearing is held within 10 days after the filing of the application. If the hearing then is continued at the request of any defendant, the requested temporary injunction is immediately granted. If a hearing is held and the allegations of the complaint are sustained to the satisfaction of the court or judge, the court or judge is obligated to issue a temporary injunction restraining the defendant and any other person from continuing the nuisance. If, during the temporary injunction period the property owner fails to show that he has taken necessary precautions and steps to fix the nuisance, the court can issue an order permanently closing the property.

From Columbus to Toledo to Cincinnati – cities all across Ohio are utilizing this process to abate nuisances. Property owners and property managers have started doing their homework upfront to combat abatement proceedings. This includes performing background checks on perspective tenants. These background checks encompass criminal reports, credit checks, verifying employment history, and checking with previous landlords. These precautionary measures require increased cost and more time up front, but may save you in the end.

This is an?excerpt from Corum Real Estate Company, Winter 2016 Newsletter, by Lauren A. Kemp.

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