Toledo Lead Ordinance Update

84 Replies

Alright we have had a significant update on the Toledo Lead Paint Ordinance and wanted to post the details for those of us who own property in Toledo (or Ohio, we have several municipalities such as Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati/Dayton who are enacting similar versions once they felt licensing and inspecting was a source of income).

Lucas County Docket Filing 3-19-2018 - Dismissal of ABLE from Case

The lawsuit filed by the Property Investor's Network (PIN) here in Toledo challenged the constitutionality of the lawsuit (there are about 300 pages on the docket with each side arguing their case).

Click on the "Public Documents" link at the top left to see the various filings.

Anyway- so today the judge has made her first ruling on the case...removing ABLE and a lead paint affected tenant from the case. (ABLE and the citizen attempted to join the case as an interested and affected party. Thankfully the judge excluded the emotion from a constitutional lawsuit)

Of note- see pg 8: "Moreover, Jenkins' interest in protecting her son from lead-poisoning is inconsistent with the lead-paint ordinance as written, as the ordinance does not apply to all rental properties in Toledo." (A MAJOR basis for our lawsuit, under Toledo's ordinance properties with over 4-units are exempted from inspection and compliance.)

The response concludes "Finally, time is of the essence here because the deadlines for complying with the lead-paint ordinance are fast-approaching."

This infers we should have a final decisive response from the judge soon. 

Toledo and communities through out Lucas County and Ohio have to grapple with the hazard of lead-paint. Hopefully with the successful conclusion of the lawsuit we can take the discussion to a cooperative mode with all citizens working toward a resolution: landlords both local and out-of-town, tenants and home owners, private industry experts such as @Adam A. and our local government administrators and leaders.

I see far more work ahead by winning than losing...the next step will be in leading the discussion towards a workable solution.

This is the link to the Go Fund Me campaign for current and political activism...really just an ongoing war chest for future needs across Ohio.

The Ohio REIA keeps a similar fund and we have chapters across the state uniting to be more active and assertive legislatively.

The Toledo lead-paint ordinance is 85% funded already, three individual, myself included, took personal liability to ensure the lawsuit's $35k would be paid in full. (I think we have $5,000 remaining)

Please consider contributing to PIN's current and future activism. (Join your local REIA, stay active, and be ready to file your own lawsuit should the situation necessitate it. Ultimately is the only responsible defense against government when you have exhausted talking and have still been walked-over)

@Andrew Fidler I personally never thought the intervention by ABLE on the behalf of a tenant is vital.  It's not over till it's over.

At the same time, Here is what's really scary from a hard core Ohio republican senator Rob Portman on the federal level. This was introduced just last December. 

I've been warning landlords about new regulations in the process at the federal levels for about 2 years now. In April 2017, one of the first initiatives Ben Carson passed when he became HUD's Secretary was lowering the thresholds to pass the dust wipes sampling. HUD lowered the floor from 40 micrograms/SQFT to 10, window sills from 250 to 100 and window troughs 400 to 100.

Now, we see senator Portman who is a hard core conservative republican join others, including democrats, on this issue.

For those who think that dust wipes ought to be omitted from the Toledo Ordinance, Portman's new regulation assures that dust wipes are necessary and visual inspection as is, is now obsolete.

"Requiring HUD to issue rules requiring an initial risk assessment for low-income housing constructed prior to 1978 for lead-based hazards prior to a family with a child under 6 years of age moving in and clarify that a visual inspection is insufficient for an initial risk assessment;"

Portman's initiative is going above and beyond the Toledo Ordinance. The Ordinance does not require a full risk assessment but only visual inspection and dust wipes to keep cost down. Risk assessment costs 3 time more than the way the Ordinance written.

"Requiring HUD to issue rules requiring an initial risk assessment for low-income housing constructed prior to 1978 for lead-based hazards prior to a family with a child under 6 years of age moving."

Those who thought accepting Section 8 to avoid the Toledo Ordinance and dust wipes, might face stringent regulations soon.

I hate the Ordinance as much as any other landlord. However, when I got involved, became a lead inspector and joined the Lead Task Force, I found the Toledo Ordinance is a lot more lenient than other ordinances adapted by other cities such as Rochester, New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, etc.

Again, the lead issue is becoming more serious not just on the local level but on the national level also,

Adam Atassi

@Adam A. - interesting reading. Let us know if it goes anywhere. 

The federal initiative seems to be pointed at HUD and HUD housing which I concur will filter down to our local section 8 administrators LMHA.

Still, with the current administration about all they have succeeded marvelously at is doing nothing but creating a lot of flying fur and spitting so I don’t see the legislation becoming a reality. 

I prefer to think, act, and invest locally. 

@Andrew Fidler Portman is our senator in this area.  

Also, he’s requesting the EPA to act on the same level. Between these 2 agencies  this will domino affects  locally on a much stringent law which we would wish that we still have the Toledo Ordinance ... LOL.

On the local level, I think there is a good chance that judge Jennings will strike the ordinance down based on her statement you pointed out above. The mayor wants to protect the children so he’ll sign to start a new ordinance but with some amendments that make sense for easier implementation. 

@Adam A. - I'm starting to look at the Toledo market and ran across some of your posts on this lead paint ordinance. Have you had to start inspecting your properties yet? Has the city started cracking down on rental properties yet?

Thanks! Obviously the way this goes could directly impact if I choose to purchase in Toledo or not...

I don't totally disagree with homes being lead tested when there is a child under 6 that is going to be living there.  After all, we must all be responsible landlords and, in my opinion, it's the slumlords that don't give a crap.  However, when you aren't renting to tenants with children under 6 or, in my case, no children (they are an older couple), why should you have to comply?  It should be a situation where compliance is tied into the rental agreement.  Perhaps I'm being naïve.  I didn't plan to become a landlord...I just couldn't get a decent price for my house with the housing values in my neighborhood being so poor.

Hi Renee- we know the judge has been occupied with a murder trial so her time has been properly busy. 

We should have had a decision weeks ago and expect one any day now. I will definitely post the ruling when it’s finally here!

@Taylor Chiu Sorry I just noticed your question.

 The Toledo lead ordinance is in effect now and the fines will be imposed for tier 1 coming this July first, if the property is not in compliance.

The compliance is very easy and it's really nothing to fear. I've done hundreds of inspections and I get joy watching landlords faces when they fiquer out who simple the process even when occupied. All my own rentals are in tier 2 and 3 and their deadlines are 6/30/19 and 6/30/20. However, I had to hire another inspector/landlord to do mine when they were empty so I didn't have to clean them 2x.

I had only 4 failed inspections so far and it was due not following my cleaning directions. However, even when an inspection fails, the property will still get a "Lead-Safe Certificate" for 3 years instead of 6. So, it's really not considered "FAIL". I've been trying to negotiate better terms of this pass/fail concept with City Council and the Lucas County Health Department for the last 6 months but without any progress so far.

There will always be regulations and obstacles in real estate. Do NOT let such a minor pothole to distract you for your journey. If Toledo is the market that fits your budget, don't let this ordinance scare you.

Adam Atassi 


@Adam A. Awesome, thank you for the update! Is the clean-up process something that can be handled by the property owner/manager? How long do you think it would take to do on average? And if it has to be taken care of professionally, how much does that cost? 


@Adam A. Is there any grace period once the ordinance is in full effect? Meaning, I have a new Property and want to move a tenant in right away...unfortunately it takes time to get inspected and then for the wipe test to come back, then the longest wait is getting the health department to issue certificate.

@David Hansen There is no such a grace period at this time for tier 1 which will be in full effect 7/1/18. 

I can get the results back and do the report within 24 hours of inspection. However, it's more costly since the lab charges more.  

Post 7/1/18 LCHD will issue the 3/6 years certificate based on the date the inspector signed the report not when they received the paperwork.

I hope this helps.

@David Hansen rental properties 1-4 units built before 1978 can’t be rented, leased, subleased or sold unless they get lead safe certified. 

A property can be sold to as little my as it’s not being rented. So owner occupied or vacant properties can be sold. That’s in Toledo, however, there’s a plan to expand it throughout Lucas County.

@Adam A. seems unfair to be at the mercy of the health department to “process” certifications.  My last lead certification...from the time I submitted the inspection report and passed wipe test lab report, it took several weeks to obtain a certificate from the health department.  That’s lost revenue due to the health department inability/under staffing issues.  

Perhaps a suggestion for the next amendment to the ordinance, it could include a maximum time the health Dept has to “process” certifications or allow properties to be tenanted once the landlord has obtained a passed inspection and wipe test with paperwork submitted to health department. Because at the end of the day, the certificate is just a formality at that point.  Thoughts? Is this something that has been brought up before?

Doesn't anyone feel this is unconstitutional on it's face being it only applies to rental properties? I have a rental on Duncan that only an elderly couple live in but next door there is a "50's" vintage house that houses two kids less than six years old and there is flaking paint all over the exterior of the house. But being it is owner occupied the house is not subject to the ordinance. In the opinion of the writer this is hypocrisy.

If the City is concerned about kids safety then the ordinance should apply to all dwellings including commercial buildings built prior to 1978 and not just rentals. 

Chris, thank you for your support, that would be the basic tenent of why we filed the lawsuit. 

No updates on the lawsuit yet, just waiting for the ruling from the judge.