Looking for advice on Cleveland housing codes.

2 Replies

I am a fairly recent investor in the Cleveland area. A few months ago i bought a nice house in the Kams corner area, and as usual, we did some cosmetic repairs to it and pulled a plumbing permit to address a plumbing issue. 

This past saturday i received a notice from the city saying that my garage is a public nuance and has to be repaired or will be demolished. (The front siding of the garage does look crooked, but the overall structure is in a very good shape. has new roof and new trusses ) I only had a week from the date of receipt of the notice to comply. (not sure why it took them 3 weeks to mail it).

Today i receive another letter that summons me to a criminal court for code violation - stating that i've not pulled plumbing, and electrical permits. However i did pull a plumbing permit and had an inspector approve it. No electrical work has been done, so i am not sure why they are requiring that.

Anyway, looks like i can get away from a court visit by paying a $95 fine. But in addition to that they want me to pull all the permits in order for an inspector to inspect the house. Plus they want to have a new slab for the garage (apparently some garages in Cleveland were not built on slabs - i had not idea.) And, they also want me to cement my private driveway, because it has gravel. At this point i don't know what to do. As i have not budgeted for anything near this extensive.

I guess my questions to anyone experienced in this area are:

- can they require permits on stuff that worked had not been performed on?

- can they make me forcefully pave my driveway?

- anyone has a non-slabbed garage? Is that illegal?  

- what should i do?

I am just looking at this from a san francisco point of view. Here , they are very serious about the code, but they won't make you update your 100 year old building to the modern code requirements unless you are specifically touching that area.

Thank you

@Dmitri K.

- can they require permits on stuff that worked had not been performed on? No

- can they make me forcefully pave my driveway? I can't find it in the Zoning or Building code online.

- anyone has a non-slabbed garage? Is that illegal? In general, if a structure is not a danger to the public, they can not make you "fix" it. If there are zoning ordinances about painting or other cosmetic issues, they can enforce those.

- what should i do? Read over the zoning and building codes so you can determine whether or not there are any enforceable codes or zoning ordinances. You could ask a contractor to help if you want. If there is nothing to enforce, then gather up your documentation regarding the permits you did pull, and respectfully challenge them. It will be easier if you reference the sections that pertain to your situation. Look at the section on "work requiring a permit", "existing structures", "driveways", "required yards" etc. If the person who cited you is difficult, go to their superior, or directly to the building commissioner. The key is to be respectful and to read the codes so you can cite them.

Thank you @RobertV3 ! At this point i just think that this guy is just harassing me. He posted another note saying that the trim paint is peeling and has to be repainted :) The house is actually in a better condition then my own home. I've heard that Cleveland is known for "blacklisting" remote investors as slumlords, regardless of their practice. It would be easier if i was local, to just go and appeal these bogus violations, but being remote makes things a lot harder.

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