Landowners Need to Know What to Do if They Have an Old Lease

With all of the leases being offered to Ohio residents, many have run into the same problem: old mineral leases needing to be cleared from their property before they can sign a new agreement.

These old leases can at time provide an obstacle for landowners looking to cash in on the big bonuses that are being paid out, but as an article in The Marietta Times points out, Ohio law provides a means to remove outdated lease agreements and regain control of your mineral rights in order to sign a new lease in many cases.  More after the jump...

The article goes on to cite some examples and give a lot of advice and information about what can be done to remove an old lease.  To summarize here, it basically boils down to not accepting payment or allowing any "production activity" - including even a survey or environmental assessment - to be done on your land while under the old lease agreement.  There are many ways that an old lease will be considered extended, so landowners should proceed with caution.

If a producing well was drilled under the old lease provisions, and it's still producing, the lease will likely hold.  "We've seen handwritten leases where a well was drilled in the 1890s and it's still being held," said Matt Warnock, a Columbus attorney.

The second part of the advice, and probably the most important part, is to seek out the help of an attorney.  Extricating oneself from an old lease in order to sign a new one is a complex legal process.  Every agreement is different, and specific steps must be followed in order to legally break free from the old agreement, regardless of the circumstances.  These steps may vary slightly depending on the situation, but either way seeking out an attorney is the best way to make sure everything is done properly.

Check out the article if you'd like to read more detailed information on the topic.  If you have questions you'd like to ask other landowners, just hop on The Daily Digger Forum and bring it up.  As we get some activity going on the message boards I will be posting here on the blog periodically to direct readers to threads with questions so that everyone can keep getting the information they need.

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