Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions2022-01-20T16:16:08+00:00
What does lead-safe mean?2022-01-20T16:29:43+00:00

Lead-safe is a proactive approach. It means making sure homes don’t pose a lead risk before a child is 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 Ohio Department of Health. 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 exam conducted by an independent, licensed local lead inspector.

What are the current lead dust levels?2022-01-20T16:31:08+00:00

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) sets the levels for Lead Dust Clearance. For the City of Toledo’s Lead Safety Ordinance, in order to receive your certificate, you must pass a visual and dust wipe inspection at or below these levels. This inspection must be performed by a local lead inspector (licensed by Ohio as a Clearance Technician, Lead Inspector, or Risk Assessor) who is registered with the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department. You can find a list of current inspectors on our website.

ODH Lead Dust Clearance Levels: (as of 01/03/2021)
Floors – 10 micrograms/ft2
Windowsills – 100 micrograms/ft2
Window Troughs – 100 micrograms/ft2
Exterior Living Area – 40 micrograms/ft2

How big is the problem in Toledo?2022-01-20T16:03:57+00:00

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, a value of 3.5 µg/dL or greater. There is no safe level of lead in the bloodstream. 3.5 µg/dL represents the highest 2.5% of children ages 1-5 in the entire U.S. population. You can read more about the blood lead reference value on the CDC’s website.

What are rental owners supposed to do under the ordinance?2022-01-20T16:33:05+00:00
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
    1. Housing Choice Voucher (formerly Section 8) properties are not exempt and must get a Lead-Safe Certificate.
  3. 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.
    1. Those owners who received a lead-safe certificate or a clearance inspection under previous ordinance versions are grandfathered automatically and do not need to repeat work already done in good faith or submit a new application.
    2. 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.
  4. The City of Toledo will coordinate the program and wraparound services with the Lead Safe Coordinator.
  5. After the first compliance date (June 30th, 2022 for the most at-risk census tracts), the Division of Code Enforcement will enforce the lead ordinance under the current nuisance housing code.

Visit our For Owners page for more information and resources available to property owners.

What if an owner did work under a previous ordinance?2022-01-20T16:35:17+00:00

If you received a lead-safe certificate under the previous ordinance, you are grandfathered under the new ordinance and do not have to do anything further. Your new lead-safe certificate should have already been mailed to you at the address you provided on your previous application with a new expiration date of 5 or 20 (in the case of full abatement) years from the ordinance’s date of passage. If you have not yet received your grandfathered certificate, please Contact Us and include the address of the unit.

If this property is no longer under your ownership, the new owner can transfer the certificate into their name 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.

Why do we need dust wipes?2022-01-20T16:17:53+00:00

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 dustVisual 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 the measurement and enforcement of lead safety.

How is the new lead ordinance different from previous versions?2022-01-20T16:36:38+00:00
  • Only family childcare homes and residential rental properties with 1-4 units built before 1978 fall under the new ordinance.
  • 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 will coordinate the program, and Code Enforcement will enforce it.
  • 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.
  • Housing Choice Voucher (HCV, formerly known as Section 8) properties are not exempt.

The ordinances were passed unanimously by City Council on October 20, 2020.

Download a copy of the Lead Safety ordinance.

Download a copy of the Rental Registry ordinance.

How do I know if a property is certified lead-safe?2022-01-20T16:38:37+00:00

You can check the Lead-Safe Certificate status of any property on our Lead-Safe Map.

How do I hire a Local Lead Inspector?2022-01-20T16:40:00+00:00

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 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.

Why should rental owners do this?2022-01-20T16:40:57+00:00

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 knowing 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.
Does this City have grants to help owners?2022-01-20T16:41:59+00:00

The City of Toledo Department of Neighborhoods currently has two grant programs available to help owners become lead-safe:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
Do Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) properties need certified?2022-01-20T16:42:47+00:00

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 Lucas Metropolitan Housing to streamline this process for HCV rental owners who need additional help getting these inspections done.

What if my rental is titled in the name of a trust or business entity?2022-01-20T16:44:33+00:00

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.

What is the 12-month grace period for early certifications?2022-01-20T16:45:22+00:00

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 of 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 of 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.

What is the rental registry?2022-01-20T16:54:16+00:00

The rental registry is part of Ohio Revised Code 5323 and is 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. Download a copy of the Rental Registry ordinance.

What does the rental registry have to do with the lead ordinance?2022-01-20T16:54:57+00:00

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.

What qualifies as Residential Rental Property?2022-01-20T16:56:07+00:00

Under the City’s 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.

What qualifies as Immediate Family?2022-01-20T16:56:36+00:00

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.

What qualifies as a Family Childcare Home?2022-01-20T16:57:05+00:00

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/.

What about properties on Land Contract?2022-01-20T16:57:31+00:00

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.

What if properties are Leased with an Option to Purchase?2022-01-20T16:57:56+00:00

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.

What if I just purchased a property that isn’t certified?2022-01-20T17:07:53+00:00

Rental properties or family childcare homes that are not yet certified and past their phase-in deadline must have their lead-safe certificate before they are occupied by a tenant or used as an in-home daycare, respectively. Violations of this law will be enforced under the City of Toledo’s nuisance housing code.

You can check a property’s current Lead-Safe Certificate status and phase-in deadline on our Lead-Safe Map.

If the rental property is currently occupied when you purchase it, we recommend you get your lead-safe certification as soon as possible to avoid fines and penalties.

What are the symptoms of lead poisoning?2022-01-20T16:58:45+00:00

Lead poisoning affects young children and pregnant women most severely, and the damage can last the rest of that person’s life. There is no cure for lead poisoning, though some treatment options are available. If you suspect you or your child is suffering from lead poisoning, consult your doctor immediately and request a test. The Toledo Lucas County Health Department also performs lead testing in our community.

Ohio law requires all children age 6 and under in high-risk zip codes, which cover 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
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Sluggishness and fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Hearing loss
  • Seizures
  • Eating things, such as paint chips, that aren’t food (pica)
What about lead in our water lines?2022-01-20T16:59:17+00:00

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.

I want to help. How can I get involved?2022-01-20T16:59:47+00:00

We’re glad you want to help make Toledo Lead-Safe! Please subscribe to our newsletter below or Contact Us directly to get involved.

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