A new Ohio law means planned communities must establish uniform frameworks for operation and management of their communities. Effective September 10, 2010, all planned communities in Ohio are subject to the newly adopted Ohio Planned Community Law. A planned community is defined as a community composed of individual lots for which a deed, plan or declaration requires:

  1. that the owners become members of an owners’ association that governs the planned community;  
  2. that the owners or the owners association holds or leases property or facilities for the benefit of the owners of the planned community; or  
  3. that the owners’ membership or fees support property or facilities for all the owners to use.

Many residential allotments with associations will meet this definition.  

Applicability to Pre-Existing Planned Communities  

Planned communities in existence prior to September 10, 2010 are not required to file a declaration with the county recorder and will not need to adopt bylaws if they don’t have them. The new law does not invalidate any provision of a planned community-governing document recorded prior to September 10, 2010. The law provides the Board of Directors of a planned community in existence as of September 10, 2010, either:  

  1. file and record the by-laws of the planned community that are in effect on the effective date with the county recorder within 180 days after the effective date of the law, or  
  2. file and record the by-laws that are adopted by the owners association after the effective date of the law with the county recorder within 90 days after the adoption of the by-laws.  

Highlights of the law  

  • All newly created planned communities must have a declaration and bylaws filed with the county recorder.  
  • The owners’ association must be organized as a nonprofit corporation according to Ohio Revised Code 1702.  
  • The owners’ association must maintain to the extent reasonably available and applicable:  
  1. property insurance on the common elements;  
  2. liability insurance pertaining to the common elements; and  
  3. directors and officers’ liability insurance.  
  • Restrictions are placed on the conveyance of any fee interest or security interest in the common elements.  
  • Authority of the owners’ association to act is given to its board of directors.  
  • Assessments, collection thereof and enforcement actions also are established.