What are Ohio Property Records?
Ohio property records are legal documents containing information about state properties. A property record in Ohio typically features the following:
- The legal description of the property;
- Dimensions and directions of all property boundaries;
- Designation of adjacent properties, roads, and lanes;
- Right-of-way or encumbrances as noted on the property title at the time of the survey;
- Location and dimension of any visible encroachments onto or off of the property; and
- A certificate and opinion by an Ohio land surveyor
According to the provisions of Ohio Public Records Law, record custodians at various government agencies are required to maintain these records and make them available to interested members of the public. Records of property come into possession of government agencies following the purchase and sale of a property or residence since the recorder's office records these transactions.
Are Ohio Property Records Public?
Yes. Ohio property records are considered public information and are made available to whoever wishes to access them under the Ohio public records act, which is contained in Section 149.43 of the Ohio revised code.
The Ohio revised code explicitly states that the property recorder shall keep and maintain a record of all instruments required by law to be recorded and that the county recorder shall provide a system for indexing all instruments recorded in the office. This includes deeds, mortgages, liens, and other legal documents that pertain to real property ownership, encumbrances, and transactions.
Also, it's essential to know that even though the Ohio property is public information, specific rules govern the dissemination of personal identifying information from the property records to protect the privacy of individuals and avoid identity theft.
Property records are available for public viewing through government agencies or third-party aggregate websites. Accessing property records through third-party sites is typically straightforward, and the forms are not geographically limited. However, because the sites are not government-affiliated and run independently, the information contained in the records may vary. Searching parties should include the following details to obtain complete property records:
- The property's exact location.
- The property owner's details.
What Information is Included in Ohio Property Records
The State of Ohio maintains vast amounts of public records about real properties. These records include various information of public interest, such as the following:
- Ownership details
- Legal descriptions of the property
- Information about any mortgages or liens on the property.
Ownership Details Of a Property
Ownership details of a property are the information about the current and past owners of a specific property in the state. This information includes the name of the present owner or owners of a property and any previous owners.
Legal Descriptions Of the Property
A legal description of the property is a document describing a property in Ohio. A survey sketch usually accompanies it to provide a visual representation of the property boundaries.
It is useful in real property transactions because it serves as a unique identifier, ensuring everyone knows the specifics of the sold property. Legal professionals always write them, but how they are written differs depending on the type of property and its location.
Nonetheless, all legal descriptions of property may include the following information:
- Where the property's boundary lines are positioned
- Any distinguishing characteristics of the land
- The total acreage of the property
- Details about the county, town, or subdivision
Information About Any Mortgages or Liens on the Property
A mortgage lien is a monetary claim on your property that acts as collateral — or absolute security — for your mortgage. This information includes the lender, the amount of the mortgage or lien, and any payments made on the mortgage or lien.
This information can be helpful for buyers or potential buyers of the property, as it can give them an idea of the property's financial history.
Despite their negative connotation, mortgage liens enable many people to become homeowners. The lien does not prevent an individual from selling a home or refinancing a mortgage as long as the mortgage is paid on time each month.
Where to Search Ohio Public Property Records
The easiest way to search for Ohio public property records is to go to the County Recorder or County Auditor's Office because each county in Ohio keeps its records. Ohio public property records can also be found online through the searchable databases maintained by these custodial offices. Users can look up property information by address, owner name, or parcel number on a typical property search website.
For instance, in Franklin County, requesters can obtain information from the Franklin County Auditor or through the office of the Franklin County Treasurer in the case of property tax records.
How to Do a Property Records Search in Ohio
Residents in Ohio have a statutory right to request and obtain property records under the Ohio Public Records Act.
However, not all property records may be available online, and certain limitations may apply to the information that can be accessed. There are different county-level property record offices, which may also provide access to the property records. It is best to check the specific county's website for more information.
Also, to quickly obtain Ohio property records, a requester will have to be able to determine the county where the property is located because every county in Ohio maintains its own set of property records.
For instance, in Cuyahoga County, property record requestors may contact the Cuyahoga County Fiscal Officer. Email requests for recorded documents may be made to:
Cuyahoga County Administrative Headquarters
2079 East Ninth Street
Cleveland, OH 44115
Phone: (216) 443-7010
How to Find the Owner of an Ohio Property Using Public Records
The first step to finding the owner of an Ohio property with public records is to visit the county auditor's website where the property is located. For instance, if searching for a property in Franklin county, that can be easily done by going to the Franklin county auditor's website and clicking on the property search feature that allows for a search for the property by address or parcel number.
Once the property has been located, the inquirer can view the property's current owner, as well as information about the property, such as the square footage and assessed value.
An alternative way to find the owner of an Ohio property using public records is by visiting the county recorder's office. The recorder's office will have records of all property transactions, including the names of the buyers and sellers. This can be helpful if the property has recently changed hands, but the county auditor's website still needs to be updated with the new owner's information.
What are Ohio Property Records Used For?
Ohio property records assist in recording a person's legal rights for future reference. Conflicts are more common in the real estate industry due to the volume of transactions.
Property purchases and sales may cause confusion about who the true owner is. In such cases, property records can serve as a point of reference. Land records tell the complete story of land's history and legal ownership. In the presence of these records, boundary disputes, easement rights, mortgages, and foreclosures can be easily resolved.
This is crucial information that can be used for a variety of purpose which includes but are not limited to the following:
- Property transactions: Property records are used to verify ownership and transfer of ownership when a property is sold or refinanced.
- Legal proceedings: Ohio property records can be used as evidence in legal proceedings such as boundary disputes, eminent domain cases, and mortgage foreclosure proceedings.
- Lending and borrowing: Ohio property records can be used by financial institutions in the states, lenders, and investors to determine a property's value and a borrower's creditworthiness.
- Insurance: Ohio property records can also be used by insurance companies to assess the risk of a property and determine the cost of insurance.
How to Find Ohio Property Tax Records
The Ohio department of taxation is tasked with maintaining detailed statistics about property values and tax rates at various government levels. An individual or group can visit the tax office website where the property is located.
Look for a link or section labeled "Property Search" or "Tax Records," and use the property search function to search for the property by address, owner name, or parcel number. Review the property tax records carefully to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date.
What to Do When You Can't Find Property Records in Ohio
Suppose a person cannot find the property records in Ohio they are looking for, and no mistake was made when searching for the document. In that case, it is recommended that the individual contact the local assessor's office to see if that information can be obtained. Alternatively, contact the county office or tax collector directly. They should be able to provide more detailed reports to help answer any questions about these records.