Know How: Legislative Changes to Ohio’s Dormant Mineral Act and Lease Forfeiture Statute

by Timothy M. McKeen, Member on November 19, 2013

Lease Forfeiture - Notice of Failure to File Ohio Revised Code Section 5301.332

O.R.C. Section 5301.332 governs the process by which a lessor, or the lessor’s successor in interest, can have a lessee’s lease forfeited for noncompliance with an instrument’s terms. Previously, if a lessee, within 60 days, failed to notify the person who filed an “affidavit of forfeiture” and failed to file for record an affidavit stating that the lease had not been abandoned, then the county recorder would annotate on the margin of the record of the lease "This lease cancelled pursuant to affidavit of forfeiture recorded in Lease Vol...., Page...."

HB 72 requires, a lessor to file a “notice of failure to file” containing the following: (1) A statement that the person filing the notice is the lessor or the lessor’s successors or assigns; (2) The document number or volume and page of the lease record where the oil or gas lease is recorded; (3) A general description of the land; (4) The statement: “This lease cancelled pursuant to affidavit of forfeiture recorded in Lease Vol...., Page....”

Dormant Mineral Act - Notice of Failure to File Ohio Revised Code Section 5301.56

Section 5301.56 is the controlling statute that governs the process by which a surface owner can deem subsurface minerals abandoned and merged with the surface estate. Under HB 72, Section 5301.56 states that within 60 days after receiving notice, if the holder of the minerals does not file a claim to preserve, or an affidavit that identifies an event described in division (B) (3), the surface owner must file a “notice of failure to file” instead of making a notation on an old record declaring the minerals abandoned. The “notice of failure to file” must contain the following: (1) a statement that the person filing the notice is the owner of the surface of the lands subject to the mineral interest; (2) a description of the surface of the land that is subject to the mineral interest; (3) the statement “This mineral interest abandoned pursuant to affidavit of abandonment recorded in volume …., page ….” After filing a “notice of failure to file” the mineral interest then vests with the surface owner.