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Cleveland seeks feedback on plan to help landlords become lead-safe

Siding on a Cleveland home shows old, peeled white paint.
Taylor Wizner
Ideastream Public Media
City building inspector Branko Medancic surveys a home in Cleveland’s Slavic Village neighborhood. The city will inspect thousands of parcels to collect data and address lead contamination.

The City of Cleveland wants feedback on a new plan to help small landlords meet lead safety requirements as the city reports low compliance rates, especially among small landlords.

The city has struggled to get landlords to follow laws it put in place five years ago to cut down on child lead poisoning from exposure to lead at home. Just 12% of single-family and 9% of two-family rentals have obtained lead-safe compliance. Meanwhile, 44% of buildings with 10 or more units are certified. The city has a goal to reach 100% compliance by 2028.

Now, Cleveland officials are hoping a new hands-on approach will help small landlords, who are slower to comply and report confusion with the requirements, said Emily Collins, a senior advisor in the mayor's office.

“I think it's going to be critical for working with less savvy landlords," she said. "You can have ... the small landlord that is definitely not used to hiring environmental professionals to get them to a state of compliance. We know that we need to connect those dots as a city.”

Under the new proposal, the city would provide landlords a free lead risk assessment, delay prosecution when property owners are working towards compliance and help with some of the work in preparing units for exams, as well as other forms of support.

They're looking for community members to review the proposal and suggest ways it could be more useful to the landlords they are trying to reach, Collins said.

The public may send comments and questions on the new guidance to Emily Collins at ecollins@clevelandohio.gov by 5 p.m. on April 26, 2024.

Taylor Wizner is a health reporter with Ideastream Public Media.