History was made for the property preservation industry earlier this week when Ohio Governor John Kasich signed Ohio H.B. 463 into law , banning the use of plywood to secure vacant residential properties.
With the signing of the bill into law, Ohio became the first state to outlaw the use of plywood in property preservation. H.B. 463 passed by a 95 to 1 vote in the Ohio House of Representatives in May and subsequently passed by the vote of 26 to 5 in the Ohio Senate  on December 8.
Division (A) of Section 2308.031 of Ohio H.B. 463 states, “No person shall use plywood to secure real property that is deemed vacant and abandoned under section 2308.02 of the Revised Code.”
Those who had been pushing for the passage of H.B. 463 and the plywood ban have long pointed out that vacant and abandoned properties containing windows boarded with plywood have often been found to attract vandalism, squatters, and in some cases, violent crime, in addition to contributing to the spread of blight.
“This is a significant advancement for those engaged in the battle against neighborhood blight in Ohio,” said Robert Klein, founder and chairman of Community Blight Solutions and an advocate for HB 463. “Plywood is an outdated solution to a growing modern-day problem. We need to apply 21st century solutions to reverse the trends that are decimating our neighborhoods. It is my hope that other states will follow Ohio’s leadership and enact similar legislation.”
As to what will replace plywood to board vacant homes, the industry is turning to polycarbonate clearboarding as a solution.
“Clearboarding is a new technology solution that is far preferable to plywood,” Klein said. “It is virtually unbreakable, resembles glass so it enhances neighborhoods, protects property values and secures properties so they can be returned to the market more quickly in a more stable and marketable condition.”
Others in the industry had already taken notice of the effects of plywood on vacant homes and communities even before H.B. 463 was signed into law. In early November at the National Property Preservation Conference, Fannie Mae announced  a new allowable promoting the use of polycarbonate clearboarding instead of plywood on pre-foreclosure properties. Starting November 9, all vacant Fannie Mae-owned properties, whether in pre- or post-foreclosure state or REO, were required to use an alternative to plywood to secure vacant homes.
H.B. 463 will go into effect 90 days from the time the governor signed it into law, which occurred on January 4. Click here  to view the complete text for the legislation.