’We are disappointed in the process’: Cleveland City Council questioned over lead legislation that could prove costly

A realtors associations says they’re disappointed with the way Cleveland City Council handled an independent study that estimated costs for a new lead ordinance.

’We are disappointed in the process’: Cleveland City Council questioned over lead legislation

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - More than $100 million is how much a local realtors association says it will cost the city of Cleveland to be compliant with a new lead safe ordinance.

Last week, Cleveland City Council members passed an ordinance that would hold landlords accountable for ensuring their homes are free from lead.

The new ordinance includes requiring landlords to pay for private inspections and have lead-safe certificates. If they don’t comply, the city can issue tickets, fines, and even charge a landlord with a misdemeanor.

An independent study from the Akron Cleveland Association of Realtors, working with the Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition, showed it would cost the city more than $120 million to be compliant with new laws that would require landlords to have lead testing and abatement.

The association also stated Cleveland would need 213 licensed lead workers to meet demands.

Council members like Blaine Griffin agreed the shortage of licensed lead inspectors is a concern.

“We need to expand that. When we have more than 80,000 rental units in the city of Cleveland, we definitely have to increase that workforce,” stated Griffin, Ward 6, Cleveland.

City leaders said that’s part of the reason the law won’t be enforced until 2023. They also said the city was awarded $2 million from the state and have another $1 million in the budget for tackling the lead problem.

The realtors association said they urged city leaders to look at this study before passing the law, but they claim a vote was taken before the study was complete.

In a statement, the associations CEO Mike Valerino stated:

“We’re disappointed in the process. The lead problem needed to be addressed urgently, but Council still has a responsibility for due diligence.”

While it’s unclear where the remainder of those funds needed will come from, $117 million, as suggested from the realtors association, council members like Griffin are soliciting help from the business community.

“We need the philanthropic community. We need people to step up to the plate to join us in this effort because we all love Cleveland and we all know if we really love Cleveland we have to do what’s right by our children,” Griffin said

The realtors association cited concerns with a potential affordable housing crisis, an increase in vacant properties, and a housing shortage if the city can’t come up with funding.

Council member Anthony Brancatelli (Ward 12, Cleveland) stated he didn’t support passing the legislation without the first seeing the study.

19 News reached out to a representative of the Gund Foundation, who city leaders stated was working on a cost analysis. 19 News is waiting for a response.

Cuyahoga County has a list of homes that are considered “lead safe.” You can click here to find out more.

You can contact your local health department to schedule an appointment for lead testing.

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