Please Help! Legal Troubles.

9 Replies

I am trying to open a HUD-VASH home. I am trying to rent out a 3br SF by the bedroom. The City of Cleveland has specific regulations for these types of homes. I am in the correct zoning district, I have paid rental registration, I have been personally in touch with Zoning Board AND Building Department throughout the entire process. Here is the issue- The City Zoning Board tells me I need a Certificate of Occupancy. They told me to go to the Building Department Office. I have gone there, 3 times and spoke with multiple people. I want EVERYTHING to be 100% legal. The building department told me, in exact words, "You'll be fine. Certificate of Occupancy, and inspections and such are for commercial properties. You are good to rent out your rooms, it would be different if there were 5 or more bedrooms, I assure you, THIS IS ALL YOU NEED." I reached back out to the Zoning Planner and he told me that he didn't know why I was told this. So I went BACK to the Building Department, spoke with the same employee, and he told me that I am good to rent out my rooms, and I do not need this certificate. I have tried to contact the administrator 6 times, and of course, nothing. I have documented every conversation, email, and name, for my security. Please advise me on what to do, I don't want to build a business around "What-if." I want to buy multiple HUD-VASH homes this year, and the City is telling me 2 different things. The State of Ohio has informed me that I do not need anything from them. (licenses etc.) I do need inspections for HUD-VASH approval, but I am worried about the City fining me down the road for not having all of my legal permits. I AM TRYING TO GET PERMITS! I am trying to play by the rules. What should I do.

I would rely on any written correspondence from the city stating it is fine to proceed. If somebody comes back and states it is not legal you have other advice from the city as your defense.

@James Wise   Jim What say you on this predicament

@Jay Hinrichs @Joshua Hollandsworth

Well, that's the city of Cleveland for you. Unfortunately it's pretty common to ask 5 city employees a question & receive 5 completely different answers. To put this situation in perspective lets all note that for the longest time the city of Cleveland did not actually enforce it's own rental registration requirements. Most people didn't even know that rental properties were supposed to be registered. There are roughly 90,000  rental properties in the city with around 66,000 of those remaining unregistered until the city decided it needed to raise funds to pay for the new lead paint inspections they are doing.

You need a certificate of occupancy for this property. The employee telling you that you only need it for commercial properties or homes with more than 5 bedrooms is incorrect. As you are changing the use of the house an update to the existing certificate of occupancy is needed. 

See info graphic below. Take this back up there & talk to a supervisor of anyone telling you something that contradicts what this info graphic says. Odds are good you'll be up there all day & will need to go back & fourth with several employees. But hey, that's just how it is working in #TheLand. 😂😂😂

@James Wise Thanks a lot, I was hoping you would comment. How do I get the certificate of occupancy? Do I need inspections, blue prints? What's the process?
Originally posted by @Joshua Hollandsworth :
@James Wise Thanks a lot, I was hoping you would comment. How do I get the certificate of occupancy? Do I need inspections, blue prints? What's the process?

 You gotta go up there & talk to them. Once you get a supervisor they should walk you through it.

Be nice and tell the employee , " If I dont need one , could you give me one anyway , since its not required , its only a piece of paper , Thanks " 

Sounds like me dealing with the BATF> I had one call me telling me I was violating the law. When she started yelling and screaming at me (power crazed) I told her a few choice words. Then I called the local office and they thought I was breaking the law too. I educated THEM with THEIR regs LOL. I now call them the Bureau of Answers True and False:) If they are not anti-landlord, they should help. Be sure and explain you WANT to comply and stay legal. As far as the BATF--I am still out of jail:)


You cant do everything above board. They will NEVER agree on everything. The city building dept and zoning and county, etc... do not communicate! I am not telling you to break the law, but I am advising you to stay off of the radar as much as possible.

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