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NGC Successfully Argues Appeal to Uphold Home Rule Powers of South Euclid Against Tax Delinquent Rental Property Owners

 By Michael Cicero, Member 

Nicola, Gudbranson, & Cooper, LLC recently won a significant victory in an appeal that lead counsel Mike Cicero argued on behalf of the City of South Euclid. In South Euclid v. Datillo, 2020-Ohio-4999, Ohio’s Eighth District Court of Appeals for Cuyahoga County reversed the trial court’s decision to dismiss criminal charges against the Appellee.  The Court of Appeals specifically found that South Euclid Codified Ordinance 1409.01(c), which precludes issuance of an occupancy certificate to rental property owners with a delinquent property tax balance, is a valid and enforceable exercise of Home Rule power conferred upon it by the Ohio Constitution. The Court of Appeals held it is constitutionally permissible for a violation of the ordinance to be criminally enforced and remanded the case to the trial court for further proceedings.

This decision has significant implications not only in South Euclid and Cuyahoga County, but also across the entire State of Ohio, as dozens of municipalities in the State have identical or similar language in Rental Registration Ordinances.  This type of ordinance is used by municipalities to prevent residential landlords from profiting without paying property taxes, which fund not only local school districts, but also the municipal provision of services such as fire and police protection; sewer, sidewalk, and road maintenance and repairs; and streetlights, sanitation, and other services.

Over the course of his 28-year career, Mike has advised and represented numerous public sector clients throughout Northeast Ohio in civil litigation, administrative proceedings, and as a Prosecutor and Special Prosecutor.   Licensed in all of Ohio’s state and federal courts, Mike currently serves on the firm’s Management Committee and Chairs the Technology Committee.

If you are interested in learning more about the firm’s public sector law practice, please contact Mike Cicero.