Chapter 5303: ACTIONS RELATING TO REALTY

5303.01 Action to quiet title.

An action may be brought by a person in possession of real property, by himself or tenant, against any person who claims an interest therein adverse to him, for the purpose of determining such adverse interest. Such action may be brought also by a person out of possession, having, or claiming to have, an interest in remainder or reversion in real property, against any person who claims to have an interest therein, adverse to him, for the purpose of determining the interests of the parties therein.

Whenever the state or any agency or political subdivision thereof has, or appears to have, an interest in real property adverse to the person in possession claiming the right thereto, the state or such agency or such political subdivision may be made a party in any action brought under this section.

The clerk of the court shall cause to be recorded in the deed records of each county in which any part of the real property lies, a certified copy of the judgment or decree determining the interests of the parties. The usual fees of the clerk and recorder shall be taxed as part of the costs of the case.

Effective Date: 03-31-1973

5303.02 Vendee may recoup.

In actions to recover the purchase money of real estate by vendor against vendee, the vendee, notwithstanding his continued possession, may by way of counterclaim set up any breach of the covenants of title acquired by him from the plaintiff, and make any person claiming an adverse interest therein a party to the action. Upon the hearing, he may recoup against the plaintiff's demand the present worth of any existing lien or encumbrance thereon. If the adverse interest of the claimant is an estate in reversion or remainder, or contingent upon a future event, with his assent, the court of common pleas may order the vendee to surrender possession to his vendor upon the repayment of so much of the purchase money as has been paid, with interest, or direct the payment of the purchase money claimed in the action, upon the plaintiff's giving bond in double its amount with two or more sureties to be approved by the court, for the payment thereof with interest, if by reason of the defect the defendant or his privies are subsequently evicted.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5303.03 Petition in action for land.

In an action for the recovery of real property, it is sufficient if the plaintiff states in his petition that he has a legal estate therein and is entitled to the possession thereof, describing it with such certainty as to identify the property, and that the defendant unlawfully keeps him out of the possession. It is not necessary to state how the plaintiff's estate or ownership is derived.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5303.04 Answer to action for land.

In an action for the recovery of real property, it is sufficient if in his answer the defendant denies generally the title alleged in the petition, or that he withholds the possession. If he denies the title only, possession by him shall be taken as admitted. When he does not defend for the whole premises, the answer shall describe the particular part for which defense is made. The defendant also may set forth in his answer other grounds of defense and counterclaim, as in any other form of action.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5303.05 Petition by tenant against cotenant.

In an action by a tenant in common of real property against a cotenant, the plaintiff must state, in addition to what is required in section 5303.03 of the Revised Code, that the defendant either denied the plaintiff's right, or did some act amounting to such denial.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5303.06 Recovery when right terminates during the action.

In an action for the recovery of real property, when the plaintiff shows a right to recover at the time the action was begun, but during its pendency his right has terminated, the verdict and judgment must be according to the fact, and the plaintiff may recover for the withholding of the property.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5303.07 Occupying claimant law.

In an action for the recovery of real property the parties may avail themselves of the benefit of sections 5303.08 to 5303.17 , inclusive, of the Revised Code.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5303.08 Cases in which occupying claimant is paid for improvements.

A person who, without fraud or collusion on his part, obtained title to and is in the quiet possession of lands or tenements, claiming to own them, shall not be evicted or turned out of possession by any person who sets up and proves an adverse and better title, until the occupying claimant, or his heirs, is paid the value of lasting improvements made by the occupying claimant on the land, or by the person under whom he holds, before the commencement of suit on the adverse claim by which such eviction may be effected, unless the occupying claimant refuses to pay to the party establishing a better title the value of the lands without such improvements, on demand by him or his heirs, when such occupying claimant holds:

(A) Under a plain and connected title, in law or equity, derived from the records of a public office;

(B) By deed, devise, descent, contract, bond, or agreement, from and under a person claiming a plain and connected title, in law or equity, derived from the records of a public office, or by deed authenticated and recorded;

(C) Under sale on execution against a person claiming a plain and connected title, in law or equity, derived from the records of a public office, or by deed authenticated and recorded;

(D) Under a sale for taxes authorized by the laws of this state;

(E) Under a sale and conveyance made by executors, administrators, or guardians, or by any other person, in pursuance of an order or decree of court, where lands are directed to be sold.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5303.09 Title under a sale for taxes.

In cases of lands sold for taxes the title by which the successful claimant succeeds against the occupying claimant is an adverse and better title under section 5303.08 of the Revised Code, whether it is the title under which the taxes were due and for which the land was sold, or any other title or claim. The occupying claimant holding possession of land sold for taxes, having the deed of a county auditor therefor, or a certificate of such sale from a county treasurer, or claiming under the person who holds such deed or certificate, has sufficient title to the land to demand the value of improvements under such section.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5303.10 Entry of claim against occupying claimant.

The court rendering judgment against the occupying claimant in any case provided for in sections 5303.08 to 5303.17 , inclusive, of the Revised Code, at the request of either party, shall cause a journal entry thereof to be made, and the action shall then proceed as other civil actions.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5303.11 Conduct of case.

For the trial of a question of fact remaining undisposed of, a jury shall be impaneled and sworn, and shall at once proceed to view the premises in question. After viewing the premises, the jury shall return to the courthouse and the trial shall proceed. After hearing the testimony produced by either party, the jury shall determine the rights of the parties under the direction of the court. From such view and the testimony, the jury shall ascertain and find in its verdict the reasonable value of permanent and valuable improvements made on the land previous to the occupying claimant's receipt of actual notice of the adverse claim of the plaintiff, the damages the land has sustained by waste, including the value of timber or other valuable material removed or destroyed, and the net annual value, rents, and profits of the land accruing after the occupying claimant received notice of claim by service of summons. The jury shall find the value of the land at the time the judgment was rendered with the improvements thereon, and its value without the improvements or damages sustained by waste, including the removal or destruction of the timber or other valuable material, and return its verdict in open court.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5303.12 Setting verdict aside.

If either party is aggrieved by an assessment or valuation made by a jury under section 5303.11 of the Revised Code, he may apply to the court during the term at which the trial was had, by a motion to set aside the verdict, assessment, and valuation, and, upon good cause shown, it may set aside such assessment, valuation, and verdict, order a new valuation and another jury to be drawn, which shall proceed as provided in such section. Either party may challenge jurors as in other civil actions. If more than three witnesses are examined by either party on the same point in the same case, the judge may tax the costs of such additional witnesses to the party calling them.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5303.13 Judgment and execution on verdict for plaintiff.

If, under section 5303.11 of the Revised Code, the jury reports a sum in favor of the plaintiff in ejectment on the assessment and valuation of the valuable and lasting improvements, the assessment of damages for waste, and the net annual value of the rents and profits, the court shall render a judgment therefor, without pleadings, and issue execution thereon as in other cases. In such case, or in cases in which no such excess is reported, such plaintiff is barred from having or maintaining an action for mesne profits.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5303.14 Proceedings if verdict is for occupying claimant.

If, under section 5303.11 of the Revised Code, the jury reports a sum in favor of the occupying claimant, on the assessment and valuation of the valuable and lasting improvements, deducting therefrom the damages, sustained by waste, together with the net annual value of the rents and profits which the defendant received after commencement of the action, the successful claimant, or his heirs, or, if they are minors, their guardians, may demand of the occupying claimant the value of the land without the improvements so assessed and tender a deed of it to him, or pay him the sum so allowed by the jury in his favor, within such reasonable time as the court allows.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5303.15 Writ of possession.

If the successful claimant, his heirs, or their guardians, elect to, and do pay to the occupying claimant, the sum reported in his favor by the jury, within the time allowed therefor, then a writ of possession shall issue in favor of him, his heirs, or their guardians.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5303.16 Election by successful claimant to receive value of land.

If the successful claimant, his heirs, or their guardians, elect to receive the value of the land without the improvements assessed under section 5303.11 of the Revised Code, to be paid by the occupying claimant, and tender a general warranty deed of the land conveying such adverse or better title, within the time allowed by the court for the payment of the money, and the occupying claimant refuses or neglects to pay it to him, his heirs, or their guardians within such time, a writ of possession shall be issued in favor of the successful claimant, his heirs, or their guardians.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5303.17 Action by occupying claimant after election.

When an application is made for the value of improvements to land, the occupying claimant or his heirs shall not be evicted from the possession of such land except as provided in sections 5303.15 and 5303.16 of the Revised Code. When an election has been made by the successful claimant, his heirs, or their guardians, to surrender the land, if the occupying claimant or his heirs, within the time allowed, pay into court its value, without improvements, thereafter they may bring suit in the court which gave judgment of eviction, and obtain judgment for the title to the land, if it was not previously conveyed to such occupant.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5303.18 Authority to convey.

When two or more persons who own an interest in land become bound in writing for the sale and conveyance thereof, and one dies before the land is conveyed, the survivors, by petition against the purchaser, and the heirs or devisees of such deceased party, may be authorized to complete such contract.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5303.19 Petition to convey land.

The petition provided for in section 5303.18 of the Revised Code must set forth the names of all the contracting parties, describe the lands contracted for, state the time the contract was made, that it has been fully performed by the purchaser, and have a copy of the contract annexed.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5303.20 Judgment and deed to convey land.

If the court finds the allegations of the petition provided for in section 5303.18 of the Revised Code to be true, it may make an order authorizing the survivors to complete the contract by conveying the land. The deed shall recite the order, and shall convey as complete and perfect a title, and have the same effect, as if executed by all the owners.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5303.21 Sale of entailed and other estates.

(A) In an action by the tenant in tail or for life, or in an action by the grantee or devisee of a qualified or conditional fee, or of any other qualified, conditional, or determinable interest, or in an action by a person claiming under such tenant, grantee, or devisee, or in an action by the trustee or beneficiaries, if the estate is held in trust, courts of common pleas may, subject to division (B) of this section, authorize the sale of any estate, whether it was created by will, deed, or contract, or came by descent, when satisfied that such sale would be for the benefit of the person holding the first and present estate, interest, or use, and do no substantial injury to the heirs in tail, or others in expectancy, succession, reversion, or remainder. This division does not extend to estates in dower.

(B) If an estate is held in trust and if the trustee is authorized by the trust instrument to sell real property, a court of common pleas shall not authorize the sale of the estate pursuant to division (A) of this section unless the trustee consents to the sale.

Effective Date: 10-14-1983

5303.211 Estate held in trust sale or lease.

Where the estate sought to be sold or leased is held in trust under the jurisdiction of a probate court, an action may be brought by the trustee in the probate court of the county in which he was appointed or in which the estate subject to sale or lease or any part thereof is situated; and the sale or lease of such estate may be authorized by such court which shall have the same jurisdiction and power as is provided for courts of common pleas in sections 5303.21 to 5303.31 , inclusive, of the Revised Code.

If the action is brought in a county other than that in which the estate or a part thereof is situated, a certified transcript of the record of all proceedings had therein shall be filed with and recorded by the probate court of each county in which such estate or any part thereof is situated.

Effective Date: 08-10-1965

5303.22 Petition and defendants.

The petition for a sale of an estate described in section 5303.21 of the Revised Code shall contain a description of such estate, a clear statement of the interest of the plaintiff therein, and a copy of the will, deed, or other instrument of writing by which the estate is created. All persons in being who are interested in the estate, or who may, by the terms of the will, deed, other instrument creating the entailment or other estate, thereafter become interested therein as heir, reversioner, or otherwise, shall be made parties to the action. If the names or residence of persons who should be made parties are unknown to the plaintiff, that fact shall be verified by affidavit of the plaintiff, whereupon the sale may be ordered.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5303.23 Order for sale and effect.

Upon the hearing, if it is proved that a sale of an estate described in section 5303.21 of the Revised Code would be for the benefit of the tenant in tail, or for life, and do no substantial injury to the heirs in tail, or others in expectancy, succession, reversion, or remainder, the court shall direct a sale to be made, the manner thereof and appoint some suitable person to make it. Such sale shall vest the estate sold in the purchaser, free from the entailment, limitation, or condition.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5303.24 Sale may be had by consent.

All parties in interest may appear voluntarily, and consent in writing to a sale of an estate described in section 5303.21 of the Revised Code. Testamentary guardians, and guardians appointed by the probate court, in the place of their wards, also may assent to the sale.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5303.25 Report and confirmation of sale and deed.

A sale of an estate described in section 5303.21 of the Revised Code shall be reported to the court of common pleas authorizing such sale. On examination thereof, if it appears that the sale was fairly conducted and made, and that the price obtained is the reasonable value of the estate sold, the court shall confirm the sale and direct a deed of conveyance of the premises sold to be made to the purchaser on payment of the purchase money, or on securing its payment as the court approves.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5303.26 Proceeds of sale.

All money arising from a sale of an estate described in section 5303.21 of the Revised Code, for purposes of descent, succession, reversion, or remainder, has the same character and is governed by the same principles as the estate sold, and passes according to the terms of the deed, will, or other instrument creating the estate.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5303.27 Investing money from sale of entailed estates - insurance.

Under the direction and approval of the court of common pleas, money arising from the sale of an estate described in section 5303.21 of the Revised Code and from the notes given for purchase money shall be invested in the bonds or other interest-bearing obligations of this state, any political subdivision of this state, or the United States, or in bonds or notes secured by a mortgage on unencumbered real estate located in this state, of double the value of the money secured. The buildings on such real estate shall be well insured against loss by fire and windstorm, and so kept by the mortgagor for the benefit of the mortgagee, until the debt is paid. The mortgagee shall so insure the buildings if the mortgagor fails to do so, and the expense of the insurance shall be repaid by the mortgagor and be a lien on the property concurrent with the mortgage; or the court may order the money reinvested in other real estate within this state under such restrictions as it prescribes, which investments shall be reported to the court and be subject to its approval and confirmation. For purposes of descent, succession, reversion, or remainder, the real estate in which the money is reinvested has the same character and is governed by the same principles as the estate sold, and passes according to the terms of the deed, will, or other instrument creating the estate sold. The court also may authorize the investment of any such funds in securities, interest-bearing obligations, or contract or deposit accounts which are legal for the investment of funds held by testamentary trustees as provided by sections 2109.37 , 2109.371 , and 2109.372 of the Revised Code.

Effective Date: 10-20-1987

5303.28 Trustees for entailed estates.

The court of common pleas shall appoint competent trustees to invest and manage the money referred to in section 5303.27 of the Revised Code. Such trustees, from time to time, must report to the court their proceedings and the condition of the fund. The court shall require of such trustees security for the faithful discharge of their duties, from time to time may require additional security, remove them for cause or reasonable apprehension thereof, accept the resignation of a trustee, and fill a vacancy by a new appointment.

Where a trustee has been appointed and qualified in a court of probate all money arising from the sale of an estate described in section 5303.21 or 5303.211 of the Revised Code and from the notes given for the purchase money shall be ordered by the court authorizing such sale to be delivered to said trustee to be invested as provided by section 5303.27 of the Revised Code and the investment and management of such money shall thereafter be under the exclusive jurisdiction of the court of probate.

Effective Date: 09-09-1957

5303.29 Consolidation of actions or trusts.

Under the direction and approval of the court of common pleas, money arising from a sale of an estate described in section 5303.21 of the Revised Code, may be invested in bonds which are either a portion or the whole of an issue secured by a first mortgage or trust deed upon the real estate so sold, under such restrictions as the court prescribes, which investment must be reported to the court and be subject to its approval and confirmation. When parts of the same entailed estate have been or are sought to be sold in separate actions, the court may, before or after the sale in any action, or at any time during the continuance of the trusts, consolidate any two or more such actions or the trusts created thereunder. The court may make all orders and decrees necessary or proper to effect consolidation.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5303.30 Income - payment of taxes and expenses.

The net income accruing from a sale of an estate described in section 5303.21 of the Revised Code shall be paid to the person who would be entitled to the use or income of the estate were it unsold. Taxes and the expenses of the investment and management of the fund shall be paid by the person entitled to the income thereof.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5303.31 Estates may be leased.

(A) Upon like proceedings as for the sale of an estate described in section 5303.21 of the Revised Code, but subject to division (B) of this section, the court of common pleas may direct that such estate be leased for a term of years, renewable or otherwise, with or without an option on the part of the lessee to purchase the estate leased, as appears most beneficial, and on such terms as appear just and equitable. The rents and profits shall be paid to the person who might otherwise be entitled to the use and occupancy of the estate or the income of it.

(B) If an estate is held in trust and if the trustee is authorized by the trust instrument to lease real property, a court of common pleas shall not direct pursuant to division (A) of this section that the estate be leased unless the trustee consents to the lease.

Effective Date: 10-14-1983

5303.32 Sale of property given for a religious use.

When real estate, except burial grounds or cemeteries, has been donated, bequeathed, or otherwise entrusted to, or purchased by any person or trustee, for public religious use, but not to or for the use of a specific or particular religious society or denomination, or when it has been donated, bequeathed, or entrusted to, or purchased by a particular religious society or denomination, and abandoned for such use, the court of common pleas of the county in which it is located, on good cause shown, upon the petition of a citizen of the vicinity, may make an order for the sale of such property, whether or not it has been built upon or otherwise improved, and make such order as to costs and the disposition of the proceeds of the sale to such religious or other public use as is just and equitable. The purchaser shall be invested with as full and complete a title thereto as the character of the original grant for such religious use permits.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5303.33 Necessary parties to proceeding.

All persons who have vested, contingent, or reversionary interest in the real estate referred to in section 5303.32 of the Revised Code, and the trustees or other temporal officers of the religious society then using it, shall be made parties to such petition, and be notified of its filing, as in a civil action.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953