Toledo to review lead-safe rules: City council may extend, stagger compliance deadline and eliminate registry

By Lauren Lindstrom, Toledo Blade 

City council will consider changes to Toledo’s rental lead-safe ordinance to extend and stagger the compliance deadline, eliminate a required registry of names and addresses of affected tenants, and create a hardship extension program to help landlords be in compliance.

Council members discussed the potential changes at a committee of the whole meeting Tuesday and are expected to vote on it next week.

The law requires rental properties with one to four units and day-care facilities to be inspected visually and tested for lead dust before the properties can be issued a lead-safe certificate and rented to tenants. Proposed changes would set staggered compliance deadlines by census tracts, beginning with those identified as having the highest risk for lead hazards to poison children.

Those in the first group would have to have their properties registered by June 30, 2018; the second group by June 30, 2019, and the third by June 30, 2020. It marks a significant extension from the original Sept. 17 deadline, when all of the estimated 50,000 affected units were to have been inspected and registered. To date, 60 properties have lead-safe certificates, according to the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department.

Scrapped in the amendment is the original requirement to submit tenant names and addresses from affected rental units as part of the certificate application, a provision that was unpopular with some tenants and landlords.

Health Commissioner Eric Zgodzinski said the changes will improve the law.

“This is the culmination of a lot of work looking at the old ordinance trying to make it better,” he said. “A lot of our concerns are alleviated. We’ve listened to not only the tenants but the landlords. … I don’t think any of us got everything that we want. I think it’s a much better product, and implementing this is going to be a lot easier from the health department’s perspective now that we have the three-year roll out.”

The amendment uses an analysis from the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University to identify high-risk census tracts using the number of rental properties within the census tract, age of the housing stock, and number of children with confirmed elevated blood lead levels to form a “targeted approach.”

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The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity was established in 2003 as a center for interdisciplinary research at The Ohio State University. The Kirwan Institute works to create a just and inclusive society where all people and communities have opportunity to succeed.