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Cleveland's Lead Safe Rental Law

One of my primary goals with this blog is to create a resource of information for landlords as they prepare for Cleveland’s new lead-safe rental law. The best way to start this is to give you an outline of its main points:


• The law will require all landlords and property owners to obtain lead-safe certificates for rental properties starting March 2021.

• The City of Cleveland will require certification over a two year period by ZIP code. The schedule of this rollout can be found at: Zip Code Groupings | Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition

• Certification is secured by obtaining a Clearance Examination by a privately hired licensed Lead Risk Assessor.

• The law will require recertification of lead-safe status every two years, or an exemption certificate indicating the unit is lead-free.

• There are criminal penalties for non-compliance. The city can issue tickets and charge property owners with housing code violations if they do not comply.

• The annual rental registration fee will increase from $35-$70 with a cap at $30,000 for multi-unit buildings.

• Property sellers will be required to disclose the lead status of the home to potential buyers and renters. Tenants and buyers can recover a month’s rent or mortgage payment if lead hazards are not properly disclosed.

• The law also prevents landlords from displacing tenants solely because a lead hazard is identified.


Please note that this information is from local news sources around the time the law was originally passed. If I hear of any changes and updates, I’ll post them on this blog.


I was teaching a home inspection class to new Realtors this morning and mentioned this law. One of the Realtors asked, “Can’t I just scrape and repaint everything?” I wish it were that simple. Unfortunately, you’ll fail the Clearance Examination if that’s all you do. There’s a lot more to making a home lead-safe than just repainting everything. I plan to spend the next several blog posts discussing all those things and providing you with resources you’ll need to prepare your rental property for Cleveland’s lead-safe rental law.


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