On Dec.19, 2018, Gov. John Kasich signed SB 263 into law, which amends ORC 4735 to exempt oil and gas land professionals (landmen) from the licensure requirements imposed on real estate agents and brokers. The revisions to sections 4735.01 and 4735.023 introduce the concept of an “oil and gas land professional” (new ORC 4735.01(GG)), and exempts landmen from the definition of “real estate broker,” “real estate salesperson,” “foreign real estate dealer” and “foreign real estate salesperson” through new ORC 4735.01(I)(1)(h) and (i).
SB 263 also introduces a new section 4735.023, requiring ongoing registration requirements for landmen, an annual fee, an obligation for landmen to maintain membership in a national oil and gas land professional group (such as the American Association of Professional Landmen, or AAPL), and specific disclosure requirements to landowners.
The new law will take effect in 90 days, and is a direct response to the Ohio Supreme Court’s decision in Dundics et al. v. Eric Petroleum Corp., 2018-Ohio-286, where the Court held that landmen who negotiate oil and gas leases must be licensed as real estate agents and otherwise comply with the requirements of ORC 4735. As a result, SB 263 now provides a welcome distinction between landmen and real estate agents, and imposes more appropriate requirements and obligations for oil and gas landmen.