At least some landmen are once again free to be landmen in Ohio. You will recall that in Dundics v. Eric Petroleum the Ohio Supreme Court declared that the Ohio Real Estate Broker statute prohibited land professionals from practicing their trade in that state unless they were licensed as real estate brokers. As predicted, the Industry appealed to the Legislature, which last month in Senate Bill 263 (here is the part pertaining to land professionals) revised statutes governing the activities of oil and gas land professionals. The fix isn’t perfect but is better than the Dundics situation.
Effective March 1, 2019, the definition of “real estate broker” will not include oil and gas land professionals acting in the performance of their duties. There are limits: The exception does not include a professional engaged in the purchase or sale of “an absolute fee simple interest in oil and gas or other real estate” and, apparently, to independent brokers not performing services for an employer.
To be protected, professionals must:
- register annually with the state superintendent of real estate,
- be a member in good standing of a national, state or local professional organization in existence for at least three years whose mission includes setting standards for performance and ethics (think AAPL),
- pay a modest annual fee,
- provide certain information on forms to be prescribed by the superintendent,
- in a transaction with a landowner, tell the landowner:
- his or her name and address,
- that the land professional is not representing the landowner,
- that he is registered with the superintendent,
- that he is not a licensed real estate broker, and
- that the landowner may seek legal counsel in connection with the transaction.
There are penalties for failing to register, which are the same as the penalties for unlicensed activity.
One can imagine that the limitations and requirements imposed by lawmakers who heard stories of rogue land professionals having mistreated mineral owners in the past.
Most of the remainder of the 63-page Act modernizes how Ohio notaries public discharge their duties. Here is the entire Bill in case you are interested.
Unable to find evidence of indigenous Ohio music (but acknowledging the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), I ask: Have you ever considered that luminosity is the bane of country music? The lights are either too bright or not bright enough.