Property Owner Responsibilities

Beginning March 31, 2021, the City of Cleveland is requiring all residential rental units built before 1978 to receive a Lead Safe Certification.

The Lead Safe Certification Process

Lead safe is a proactive approach. It means making sure homes don’t pose a lead risk before a child could be poisoned. A home is lead safe when lead risks – known as lead hazards - have been controlled so that the concentration of leaded dust remains below the threshold set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This means a lead safe home is no longer hazardous but may still contain lead. 

In order to combat lead poisoning, the City of Cleveland has required residential rental units built before 1978 to get a Lead Safe Certification. To obtain a Lead Safe Certification, rental property owners must pass a Lead Clearance conducted by an independent, certified lead safe worker. 

What does this mean for rental property owners?

  • Rental property owners with units built before 1978 must obtain a Lead Safe Certification.
  • The Lead Safe Certification is only valid for two years, after which rental property owners must re-apply for certification.
  • In order to receive the certification, the unit must be lead safe-- lead hazards must be remediated within the home and the unit must be inspected by an independent, certified Clearance Technician.
  • Rental property owners can hire Renovation, Repair, & Painting (RRP) Certified Contractors for lead remediation, or can obtain RRP certification to complete work on their properties themselves.
  • Units can be exempt from the lead safe certification requirements if the unit has been abated of all lead hazards and comprehensive lead risk assessment has been conducted.
  • Financial assistance is available to help property owners obtain their certification.

What does this mean for other property owners?

  • If you own a property built before 1978, the Coalition strongly encourages you to follow the same Lead Clearance process and ensure your home is lead safe.


Need help? Visit the Lead Safe Resource Center

The Resource Center is our community's one-stop-shop for lead poisoning prevention and is available to answer any questions you may have.

Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions


There is no standard cost for remediation. Cost is based on the amount of work to be completed.

Interim controls can be used to create a lead safe home and comply with the new Lead Safe Certification requirements. Interim controls are a set of measures designed to temporarily reduce exposure to lead hazards. Interim controls require less intervention and are less costly than the lead free approach of abatement. Interim controls may cost between $500 and $5,000 based on property condition.

If you need financial assistance, please visit CHN Housing Partners.


The average fee for a Lead Clearance is between $250 to $500, but costs may vary.

If you need financial assistance, please visit CHN Housing Partners.

Remediation is the process by which a property has undergone work to reduce lead hazards and clearance is the process by which a property is determined to be lead safe; free of dust, debris, deteriorated chipping/peeling paint and/or lead dust hazards, confirmed by a lead dust wipe analysis.

There are two types of Lead Remediation though Lead dust hazards can always be present.

  1. Interim Controls are temporary mitigation strategies that need to be monitored including an environmental clean, at minimum, covering bare soil (mulch), and stabilizing deteriorated paint.
  2. Abatement is the longer-term mitigation strategy that can last up to 20 years. It includes removing and replacing components (i.e. windows & doors), or covering large surfaces including walls, ceilings, & exposed soil (i.e. remove and replace soil or pave-over) to ensure property is free of all traces of lead.

To comply with the new lead-safe law, the remediation process employs interim control activities to address researched and tested signs of lead risks and hazards. Interim controls are measures that are taken to ensure a property is lead safe. In using interim controls The video below will outline various risks and hazards and the standard interim controls to remediate a property before and/or after a lead clearance.

Cleaning Procedure (Link to Ch. 14 HUD)

  1. Pick up large chips and debris with a damp paper towel and throw away in a garbage bag.
  2. If a HEPA vacuum is available, vacuum all horizontal surfaces, such as tops of window casings, sashes, doors, trim and floors. Give special attention to window troughs, sills, cracks and crevices. Start at the top and work down, cleaning floors last.
  3. Use two buckets, one for wash water and one for clear water rinse. Wash surfaces with the all-purpose cleaning solution (wear gloves if harsh detergents are used. Start up high and work down to the floors. Follow the wash procedure with the clear water rinse. Change the wash and rinse water frequently (at least once per room) and use disposable towels.
  4. After the cleaned surfaces have completely air dried, HEPA vacuum all surfaces again.
  5. Put all cleaning items (towels, disposable mop heads, etc,) in a plastic bag. Tie the bag closed and throw away in garbage. Remove paint chips and empty water down a toilet


  • Change the wash and rinse water frequently (at least once per room) and use disposable towels.
  • Be sure to wear old washable clothing and avoid smoking or eating while cleaning.

A lead clearance examination can be broken up into two steps:

  1. Visual assessment:
    1. The licensed professional will visually assess the inside and outside of the property, looking for visible lead hazards such as chipping or peeling paint, dust, bare soil, or other forms of deteriorated paint.
    2. If no visible lead hazards are found, the licensed professional will then move onto the next step.
    3. During the visual assessment, the licensed professional may take pictures of the property and create a floor plan for the report.
  2. Dust wipe samples
    1. Once the visual assessment has passed, the licensed professional will take dust samples of at least 12 areas of the home or unit.
    2. These dust samples are sent to a certified lab to determine the level of lead dust. (link)

Once the lead clearance has passed each stage, the licensed professional will create a Lead Clearance report, which will include the findings from the visual assessment and dust wipe samples. Property owners can then submit the lead clearance report to the City of Cleveland Department of Building & Housing to obtain the lead safe certification for the rental property.

Property Owners

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