Cleveland Coalition Pushes for Lead Safe Rental Registry

As national awareness of lead poisoning continues to grow, some local action groups are taking the health and safety of their community into their own hands. Lead paint that was used in residential units built on or before December 31, 1978 is still a primary cause of lead poisoning for children aged six or under. Contractors can do their part by getting their lead renovator certification, but exposure to lead is still a concern, especially in lower income and rental properties. Now, the people of Cleveland are saying enough is enough.

A coalition of community groups plans to put forward a ballot initiative to require all rental property in Cleveland be certified lead safe by 2021.

Cleveland Lead Advocates for Safe Housing (CLASH) said in a press release it plans to put the proposal to voters in November if Cleveland City Council does not pass the ordinance itself.

This would be a major step toward lead poisoning prevention in Cuyahoga County, where 41% of all children with elevated blood lead levels in Ohio live. Under this model, lead hazards would be able to get discovered and mitigated prior to occupation, preemptively protecting children from any lead paint contamination.

Under the proposal, landlords would see a new question on their rental registration application, requiring them to document if the property is lead safe, lead free, exempt, or not lead safe. To be certified lead safe, the property must pass a lead risk assessment or lead clearance test. It does not mean the property must be lead free. Failing properties must be remediated before they can be rented.

The goal is to address lead contaminated homes before children are poisoned.

An important aspect of this process is educating tenants and residents, providing them with access to powerful resources. One such requirement outlines maintaining a database to look up a property’s lead status, which must be accessible to the public.

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