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Ohio LLC Loophole that Keeps Leaders from Finding Out Who Owns “Uninhabitable” Land!


CNS NewsIn Franklin County, Ohio, the Galloway Village Apartments saga exposes a troubling loophole in property ownership laws that obscure accountability and complicate efforts to address unsafe living conditions. This loophole, centered around the use of Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), has left local authorities grappling to identify the real owners of properties declared uninhabitable.

The Galloway Village Apartments, recently declared unfit for habitation by Franklin County Public Health, the Fire Marshall, and Prairie Township trustees, have become a focal point in this issue. The property, plagued by over 400 law enforcement runs and more than 100 fire code violations, including a critical incident where residents had to break down a door to escape a fire, exemplifies the dire conditions fostered by this lack of accountability.

The root of the problem lies in the structure of LLCs, which can have multiple members, including individuals and other entities, and are regulated by state laws. In the case of Galloway Village, the Franklin County Auditor identifies the owner as Galloway Apartments LLC, yet the only name available on record is that of the LLC’s statutory agent, not the actual owner.

This obscurity is not just an administrative hurdle; it has real-world consequences. With the property now earmarked for demolition, Franklin County is shouldering significant rehousing costs for displaced residents, a burden ultimately borne by taxpayers. Furthermore, the inability to pinpoint responsible owners hampers legal efforts to enforce codes and impose fines, leaving township leaders with limited recourse in addressing violations.

Ohio LLC Loophole that Keeps Leaders from Finding Out Who Owns "Uninhabitable" Land!

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The issue extends beyond Galloway Village. Ohio Senator Bill Blessing’s revelations about the widespread use of LLCs to discreetly control large numbers of residential properties highlight a systemic challenge in ensuring safe and accountable housing.

Efforts are underway at the state level to increase transparency, with proposed legislation requiring the disclosure of all LLC members at the time of property transactions. However, progress remains slow, with the bill yet to advance out of committee.

As the fallout from the Galloway Village case unfolds, the spotlight shines on the broader implications of LLC loopholes in property ownership. The situation underscores the need for reform to ensure transparency and accountability, crucial for safeguarding residents’ rights and well-being in the face of a tightening housing market.

Ohio LLC Loophole that Keeps Leaders from Finding Out Who Owns "Uninhabitable" Land!

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