Semachko v. Hopko: Ohio's Marketable Title Act Comes to the Fore
The Ohio Marketable Title Act became effective on September 29, 1961. The purpose of the Act is to simplify and facilitate land title transactions. This is accomplished by allowing the title examiner to search the record for title defects for only a specified period of years back in time; all claims prior to that period are extinguished. The period of time in Ohio is forty years. Therefore, if a person has a record chain of title for forty years, then any conflicting claims based upon any title transactions prior to that forty year period are extinguished. The basic concept is simple, but there are many technicalities in the Ohio Marketable Title Act. For this reason, the Act is little known, little used, and even less understood. This is amply demonstrated by the fact that on August 23, 1973, twelve years after the Act's passage, the Eighth District Court of Appeals was the first Ohio court to apply the Act, in Semachko v. Hopko. The purpose of this comment is threefold: 1. To show the reasons for the need of such an act in Ohio and its development from the Model Act. 2. To show an application of the Act as exemplified by Semachko. 3. To point out further problems and technicalities outside the scope of Semachko.