Ohio Department of Commerce Issues Fiscal Year 2019 Report
September 13, 2019 |
The Ohio Department of Commerce has issued its annual report for fiscal year 2019. As the state’s chief regulatory agency, Commerce regulates more than 6,000,000 licensees and regulated entities. One of Commerce’s Divisions is the Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing. The report details several new programs the Division gained authority over during the last fiscal year. The report indicates that these new programs further educate and protect consumers, provide verification that an individual credentialed by the Division has met certain qualifications to become licensed and is expected to operate in accordance with certain industry standards.
Specifically, the report highlights four programs:
Cemetery Grant Program
This program was established in H.B. 168, which became effective in October of 2018. It provides registered non-profit cemeteries with the opportunity to seek funding for exceptional maintenance/repair and training of cemetery personal. The report notes these expenses can be overwhelming for a cemetery. The program is funded from a $1 fee from each burial permit fee issued in Ohio. The report concludes that the program helps support Governor DeWine’s initiative of creating jobs and prosperity by making funds available for cemeteries to support ongoing operations and to invest in professional development and education of staff. July 1, 2019, the Division announced it was accepting grant applications for program funds.
Appraisal Management Companies
This program licenses Appraisal Management Companies (AMC), who typically work on behalf of lender clients to facilitate appraisals of real property. The program was established in H.B. 213, which became effective in December of 2018, in response to federal requirements that AMCs be licensed and regulated by the Ohio Real Estate Appraiser Board. The report provides that the new regulation allows for another layer of oversight in the mortgage transaction, ensuring Ohio’s real estate appraisers are not unduly influenced during the process and the appraisal report is based on an independent opinion of value.
Land Professionals Registration
New legislation new requires landmen, land professionals, or agents who negotiate oil, gas and mineral rights leases obtain registration from the Division. The report indicates in two months, the Division has registered more than 300 land professionals.
Home Inspector Licensing
This program was established in S.B. 255 and is expected to be fully operational by November 1, 2019. The program provides for the licensing of home inspectors providing home inspection services to clients. The law has a grandfathering provision for current home inspectors, provided certain requirements are met. The report indicates that the program aims to give potential homebuyers peace of mind in knowing any inspector they plan to hire is properly trained.
In conclusion, the report provides some statistics for FY 2019, by the numbers. 174 new real estate companies and sole proprietorships were licensed, 106 AMCs were licensed, 336 land professionals were registered, the Division conducted 24 audits of cemeteries and completed 4,200 active and new cemetery registrations. The Division also oversaw 609 manufactured home broker/dealers and salespersons. A complete copy of the report can be viewed at Ohio Department of Commerce FY 2019 Report.