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Hundreds Of Cleveland Rentals Tested For Lead, 34 Issued Violations

In its first year, Cleveland’s Rental Inspection Unit has completed 763 random tests for lead dust.

Out of those inspections, the city issued 34 violations, with less than half of those properties now cleared of their lead hazard.

Department of Building and Housing Director Ayonna Blue Donald testified before city council’s Development, Planning, and Sustainability Committee Tuesday, saying she wants three additional properties cleared by the end of the year.

11 appeals were filed and Donald said the remaining five violations are heading toward prosecution.

“If there are people out of compliance we have been in consult with the law department,” said Donald.

She said she did not expect the number of violations to be so low, but she says properties are chosen randomly – not necessarily in places with high lead concentration.

“This is also people that have advance notice,” said Donald. “We give them information to say, ‘Hey, this is how you plan for one of our inspections.”

The unit’s 12 inspectors also completed assessments of an additional 8,058 properties looking for hazards such as peeling paint, missing smoke detectors, and overused extension cords.

Most inspections are complaint-based or volunteer-based, said Donald.

“Those properties tend to probably be the better set, because those are people that are complying because they want to comply and they want to be in line with the rules and regulations,” said Donald.

She says the unit’s ‘biggest hurdle” is getting into rental properties where folks aren’t willing to open up their doors.

To that end, the department has been working on more community outreach, according to Donald. They want tenants to know about the Rental Inspection Unit and that landlords should register their properties. She points out it’s illegal to evict a tenant for reporting a possible building violation.

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