Cleveland’s 2019 lead poisoning law imposed requirements on landlords and homeowners.  

One key regulation required landlords who owned Cleveland properties built before 1978 to earn lead-safe certification on their rental units by March 2023. Landlords who did not comply with the new law could be ticketed, fined and charged with a misdemeanor in criminal court. 

To earn lead-safe certification, landlords and property owners had to complete the following steps: 

  • Pay for a lead clearance examiner or lead risk assessor to inspect their rental units and homes. 
  • Submit the report and a lead-safe certificate application (free to file) to the City of Cleveland Department of Building and Housing. 

The process for certification must be completed and renewed every two years from the original filing date of the documentation. Cleveland’s Department of Building and Housing monitors the application process for properties to keep track of landlords who complied with the lead law.

Many landlords expressed concern that they couldn’t afford to clean up their properties. The city partnered with the Lead Safe Coalition to provide financial support and other resources to landlords. 

Progress has been slow. At a City Council committee meeting in January,  Cleveland’s lead safe auditor called for a renewed focus on the issue.  

As of Dec. 31, 2022, here are the numbers that define some of the progress:

  • $1.8 million: Total of grants and loans given to landlords
  • 5,735: Applicants seeking certification
  • 4,907: Homes certified as lead safe
  • 5,800: Callers assisted by the Lead Safe Resources Center 
  • 124: Contractors trained to do lead abatement

For more detail on the progress of the 2019 legislation, click on the ABC Blocks in the image below.

Click here to view the accessible version of this interactive content

Over the next year, Signal Cleveland will be examining the city’s progress in reducing lead poisoning cases and ensuring property owners comply with the 2019 lead law.

We also want to hear from Cleveland residents and property owners about their experiences since the law was passed. To share your stories, tips or concerns, contact Signal Cleveland Health Reporter Candice Wilder at

Read more about the history of Cleveland’s lead poisoning crisis and the 2019 legislation in Part One of this series here

The Lead Safe Resource Center is offering a series of trainings for landlords on lead poisoning and preventions efforts. If you have questions as a tenant or landlord on how to make your home lead-safe, visit the coalition’s website at, or call 833-601-LEAD (5323).

Health Reporter (she/her)
Candice, a Cleveland Documenter since 2020, has been a freelance writer whose reporting and digital media work have appeared in The Daily Beast, VICE, Cleveland Magazine and elsewhere. She has written about health, equity and social justice.