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 the concentration of lead 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 Toledo is requiring Lead-Safe Certificates for the most at-risk properties. To obtain a Lead-Safe Certificate, units must pass a lead clearance test conducted by an independent, licensed local lead inspector.
Because the majority of Toledo’s housing stock was built before 1978, we have inherited a large, toxic legacy of lead paint. Every year, hundreds of Toledo children test high for lead in their blood, 5 µg/dL or greater. There is no safe level of lead in the bloodstream. 5 µg/dL represents the highest 2.5% of children ages 1-5 in the entire U.S. population. You can read more about elevated blood lead levels on the CDC’s website.
- Owners of all residential rental properties in Lucas County must register with the Auditor. Compliance for the rental registry portion will begin enforcement in Toledo on June 30th, 2021.
- Owners of 1-4 unit properties built before 1978 must also get a Lead-Safe Certificate from the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department. Those who operate family childcare homes (e.g. in-home daycares) also need a lead-safe certificate but do not need to register with the Auditor’s rental registry.
- Housing Choice Voucher (formerly Section 8) properties are not exempt and must get a Lead-Safe Certificate.
- Applications for the Lead-Safe Certificate require a lead-safe report (e.g. clearance report) and a $25 fee and may be completed entirely online.
- Those owners who received a lead-safe certificate or a clearance inspection under previous ordinance versions will be grandfathered in automatically and do not need to repeat work already done in good faith or submit a new application.
- Qualifying properties must pass a visual and dust wipe inspection performed by a local lead inspector. The certificate is valid for 5 years. Fully abated properties are eligible for a 20-year certificate with proper documentation.
- The City of Toledo’s Department of Neighborhoods will coordinate the program and wraparound services with the Lead Safe Coordinator.
- After the first compliance date (June 30th, 2022 for the most at-risk census tracts), the Division of Code Enforcement will enforce the lead law under the current nuisance housing code.
Visit our For Owners page for more information and resources available to property owners.
If you received a lead-safe certificate under the previous ordinance, you are grandfathered-in under the new ordinance and do not have to do anything further. Your new lead-safe certificate will be mailed to you at the address you provided on your previous application no later than June 30th, 2020 with a new expiration date of 5 or 20 (in the case of full abatement) years from the ordinance’s date of passage.
If this property is no longer under your ownership, you can transfer the certificate to the new owner before the expiration date by resubmitting the Lead-Safe Certificate Application with a $10 refiling fee.
If you had a Local Lead Inspection under the previous ordinance but did not receive a certificate, you can use that same clearance exam / lead report for your application. Prior inspections from 2016 forward will be honored. You do not have to complete this inspection again. You should contact the Local Lead Inspector you hired if you need a copy of their report.
We know that the majority of lead poisoning occurs in homes built before 1978 from the ingestion of lead-based paint and the consumption of lead-dust. Visual inspection alone cannot tell us if this granular level of lead-dust is present; dust wipe analysis is recognized by health departments across the country and the EPA to determine lead-dust levels. Dust wipes are currently our best available scientific tool for measurement and enforcement of lead safety.
- Only family childcare homes and residential rental properties with 1-4 units built before 1978 fall under the lead-safe certification law.
- The fee for the lead-safe certification is $25 instead of the previous $45.
- The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department will issue the lead-safe certificates, while the City of Toledo’s Department of Neighborhoods will coordinate the program, and Code Enforcement will enforce.
- Lead-safe certificates are available for 5 years, or 20 years in the case of full abatement.
- Residential rental properties must also be registered with the Lucas County Auditor.
This law was passed unanimously by City Council on October 20, 2020.
You can check the status of Lead-Safe Certificates for any property online at our Lead-Safe Map.
You can find a list of currently active Local Lead Inspectors here. This list is updated regularly.
Please note: We strongly recommend that property owners only hire Local Lead Inspectors who have general liability insurance. The list we provide includes only those licensed and registered with the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department to do this work. You should verify their credentials yourself to confirm they are insured. We make no guarantees on insurance coverage of Local Lead Inspectors.
Besides being required under law, there are many benefits to rental owners for getting their Lead-Safe Certificate.
- You will have additional peace of mind that your property is considered lead-safe for pregnant women and children to live in.
- Your rental will be listed as lead-safe for potential tenants to find on this website.
- A Lead-Safe Certificate provides a clear record of the owner’s work to address lead safety if someone later tries to make a legal claim based on lead poisoning.
The City of Toledo Department of Neighborhoods currently has two grant programs available to help owners become lead-safe:
- Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Grant: designed to assist eligible homeowners and landlords in the identification and remediation of lead hazards in eligible units within the City of Toledo. Under this program, the City coordinates and manages the assessment and any abatement-related work. Owner-occupants may receive up to $16,000 of assistance, and rental owners can receive up to $14,000. Click here to learn more and download the application.
- Early Bird Matching Grant: created to help rental owners and family childcare home operators become compliant with Toledo’s new Lead Ordinance. This grant will reimburse 50% of most compliance-related costs, up to $5,000 per unit. Click here to learn more and apply online or download the application.
Yes. Under the current ordinance, HCV (formerly known as Section 8) rental units must also pass a Local Lead Inspection and receive a lead-safe certificate. The City of Toledo is working with the Lucas Housing Authority to streamline this process for HCV rental owners who need additional help getting these inspections done.
If your rental property is held in trust, an LLC, or other non-natural person entity, you must still complete the lead-safe certificate process, which includes the rental registry with the Lucas County Auditor. Part of this process is identifying a natural person as the de facto agent, contact, or officer for your corporation. A natural person for our purposes is an individual human being that is over 18 years of age and of sound mind.
In order to be successful, rental owners cannot wait until their deadline to have their lead-safe inspection and file for their certificate. By waiting too long, inspectors may be completely booked up, and you run the risk of being fined.
To avoid this, we are offering up to 12 months grace for early certifications. What this means is if you complete your lead-safe certification application process before the property’s initial phase-in deadline, up to 12 months will be considered a “grace period” and expiration will be calculated from the date of your deadline. This means you will not “lose time” on your certificates by filing early.
Here are some examples to help explain:
- 111 Main Street has a phase-in deadline of June 30th, 2022. The owner receives a passing lead-safe inspection on January 31st, 2022, and applies for their certificate. They have 6 months early “grace,” and the expiration date of their 5-year certificate will be June 30th, 2027.
- 222 Main Street has a phase-in deadline of June 30th, 2023. The owner receives a passing lead-safe inspection on June 30th, 2022, and applies for their certificate. They have a maximum of 12 months early “grace,” and their expiration date for a 5-year certificate will be June 30th, 2028.
- 333 Main Street has a phase-in deadline of December 31st, 2026. The owner receives a passing lead-safe inspection on January 31st, 2022, and applies for their certificate. They are 4 years early, but only a maximum of 12 months grace can be given. Their 5-year certificate will expire on January 31st, 2028.
This “grace period” is only applicable to the initial deadline phase-in and does not apply to properties grandfathered in under a previous ordinance or any other renewals, transfers, or other circumstances. Find your initial deadline by searching the Lead-Safe Map.
If you have questions about your particular deadline and grace period, please Contact Us.
The rental registry is part of Ohio Revised Code 5323 and handled by the Lucas County Auditor. It applies to all residential rental properties in Lucas County. This is not new, and most rentals are already registered. The City’s new ordinance piggybacks on the existing registry and provides enforcement under the Division of Code Enforcement.
Right now there is a lack of data about who owns rental property in Toledo. This rental registry will allow us to better understand who our local and out-of-town owners are and how to reach them. Under the lead ordinance, residential rental properties built before 1978 and having 1-4 units must get a lead-safe certificate. The first step to get this certificate is registering with the Auditor’s rental registry.
Under the City ordinance, “Residential Rental Property” means any part of a structure being used or occupied as a private residence, including attached structures such as porches or stoops, occupied by any person or persons other than the property owner and/or members of the owner’s “Immediate Family” regardless of whether or not the owner occupies another portion of the structure.
Under the City’s ordinance, “Immediate Family” includes father, mother, brother, sister, spouse, child, mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, stepmother, stepfather, grandmother, grandfather, and grandchild.
Under the City ordinance, “Family Childcare Home” means a type A Home or a type B Home as defined by Ohio Revised Code section 5104.01.
Detailed information on Family Childcare Homes is available through Ohio Jobs & Family Services and you can search for licensed Type A and Type B facilities at http://childcaresearch.ohio.gov/.
Properties that are sold on land contract are not rentals and do not need to be lead-safe certified. Land contracts should be recorded with the Lucas County Recorder’s office to prove they are not rentals and not subject to the lead ordinance.
A “lease” is a rental, regardless of whether or not there is an option to purchase. Leased properties that are 1-4 units and built before 1978 are subject to the Rental Registry and Lead-Safe Ordinances.
Ohio law requires all children age 6 and under in high-risk zip codes, which covers all of Toledo, to be tested for lead poisoning. Most lead poisoning goes undetected and untreated because a person is asymptomatic or symptoms are attributed to other causes. Therefore, the best way to know if you or your child is lead poisoned is to get a test. There is no safe level of lead in the bloodstream.
Possible Signs and Symptoms in Children:
- Developmental delay
- Learning difficulties
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Sluggishness and fatigue
- Abdominal pain
- Hearing loss
- Eating things, such as paint chips, that aren’t food (pica)
Toledo Public Utilities has replaced city-owned lead service lines systematically for 20 years through its water main replacement program. Visit the public utilities website for more information.
We’re glad you want to help make Toledo Lead-Safe! Please subscribe to our newsletter below or Contact Us directly to get involved.