Lead Safe Certification

Lead poisoning is a public health crisis with a housing solution. 

If we proactively create lead safe homes, children won’t be exposed to lead-based paint hazards in the home. The Lead Safe Certification is a proven, low-cost approach to prevent lead poisoning. 

Creating lead safe homes with the Lead Safe Certification

Any home built before 1978 is reasonably presumed to contain lead-based paint. Beginning March 1, 2021, residential rental units built before 1978 must have a Lead Safe Certification from the City of Cleveland’s Department of Building and Housing.  

View the City Ordinance

What does it mean to be lead safe?

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.

Rental Property Owners: Owners of the most residential rental units will be required to provide to the City of Cleveland a copy of a clearance examination or lead risk assessment showing that lead hazards were not identified in the unit.

There are some exceptions:

  • Pre-1978 rental properties with more than 5 rental units will only be required to inspect a portion of the units according to federal guidelines
  • If an owner provides proof that their rental unit is free of lead hazards by providing a copy of a comprehensive lead risk assessment and paint inspection report verifying that the unit has been abated of lead hazards (as opposed to lead safe)

The Lead Safe Certification will be rolled out in phases. There is a quarterly schedule for property owners to get their Lead Safe Certification between March 2021 and March 2023. The quarterly schedule is according to the zip code of your rental unit. 

The Lead Safe Certification is valid for two years. The quarterly schedule will repeat with the same zip code groups in 2023-2024, 2025-2026, and so forth. Thirty days prior to expiration, a property owner will re-apply for their Lead Safe Certification by providing an up-to-date copy of a clearance examination report or lead risk assessment showing that lead hazards were not identified in the unit.

View the Quarterly Schedule

How to Get Your Rental Property Lead Safe Certified


Contact the Resource Center

Have questions? The Resource Center is here to help. 


Prepare Your Property

If your property was built before 1978, start here to determine your next steps. 


Remediate Lead Hazards

If lead hazards are present, hire a certified lead safe worker or become certified to complete the work yourself. 


Clean Your Property

You are highly encouraged to complete an Environmental Cleaning 24-48 hours prior to your clearance examination.


Get Lead Clearance

Pass a clearance examination or risk assessment.


Apply for Lead Safe Certification 

Submit passed clearance examination or risk assessment to the City to receive two-year certification.

Monitoring the Impact

By law, the City of Cleveland will automatically review the impact of the Lead Safe Certification every year to identify any other negative, unintended consequences. If negative impacts are occurring or have occurred, the City will re-evaluate the Lead Safe Certification and work toward eliminating any negative impacts.