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Christopher Sandys
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Passing a Lead Safe Toledo Inspection

Posted Mar 13 2023, 11:35

If anyone has been through the Lead Dust Wipe Inspection for Toledo and is willing to share their experience, please share it here. That would include any particular inspector that you feel lives up to the spirit of trying to work with landlords to create a lead safe Toledo, i.e. if you ran into an in inspector that, in your opinion, was overzealous, you are free to share that information also.

As a starter for the conversation, I have gleaned what I think are the most notable points from the Lucas County Health Department guidance:

Preparation Tips for a Lead Dust Wipe Inspection

Preparation-Tips-for-a-Lead-Dust-Wipe-Inspection.pdf (

They have a video here:

For reasons I will explain later, I think the video is outdated.

Visual inspection of all surfaces, interior and exterior, to ensure there is no chipping, cracking, or peeling paint.

Paint debris, paint dust, and paint chips are failure of the inspection.

Basements and attics that are directly accessible from inside the unit are subject to the inspection. This includes any areas that are locked-off. For example, if the landlord has a room within the basement that is not accessible to the tenant, it is still subject to visual inspection.  You must unlock it and give the inspector access.

The attic and the basement will only be visually inspected. There will be no wipe test in the attic or basement.

Window sills, window wells, and floors are subject to dust wipes. The tips sheet explicitly states those three areas, and it adds that if there are no windows in a room that the room may still be tested on the floor. Conspicuously absent is any mention of walls or ceilings. Is that accidental, or is the procedure that (a) all areas are open to visual inspection, but (b) only the three, aforementioned locations are subject to dust wipes?

Also –the aforementioned three areas are also subject to visual inspection. If is there is dust there, you will fail. This is a visual inspection. The dust may or may not have lead, but you will still fail if the window sills, wells, or floor are dusty.

Exposed/Bare Soil: Within three feet of the drip line (the exterior of the house) this will fail. Cover any bare soil with mulch. If you have the time, a permanent ground cover, like grass or other landscaping, is ideal.  I say this is ideal, because it is long-term solution to passing every subsequent inspection.  

Keep in mind, every time you walk inside of your home you drag in micro particles of lead. In other words, lead is always being dragged into your home, so you need to clean immediately before the inspection. They require that your last-minute cleaning be completed at least 1 hour before the inspection.

The Youtube video that I posted above states that there are two certificates, but I think this may be bad information from the Health Department…

3 Year Certificate: You failed the first inspection, but passed a subsequent inspection. You DO not want to be on this schedule.

6 Year Certificate: You pass the inspection on the first try.

I now see something about 5 year versus 20 year certificates. Ostensibly, the 20-year certificate is for those that can prove that their house is entirely lead free. Even after proving this, you will be required to reprove it 20 years later, just because... that is what Toledo City Council does. It is the way they think.  Razor sharp minds at work.  As if you might visit the Philippines a decade from now and secretly bring home some leaded paint for the nursery in your rental home.  Don't try it!  They'll know.

My understanding is that if you fail a 5-year certificate, the punishment is that you must pay a lead-certified remediation professional to fix the failures.  So, you'll pay huge money to have someone mop your floor, for example.  

Can anyone contribute to this with additional knowledge, tips, or experience?

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