Lakewood: The City of Beautiful Homes
Lakewood has a total of 32,000 housing units citywide including 12,700 one- or two-family homes. With research and a comprehensive housing survey, the continuing Housing Forward initiative has provided the city with more data on these 12,700 homes than ever before.
By using this solid data in the Division of Housing and Building — and sharing that data with homeowners — Lakewood has seen the number of residential building permits continue to climb.
Stewardship, options, quality+-
A city’s building department is a part of its backbone and growth source. It exists to enhance safety, improve housing and commercial buildings, and to curb signs of blight. This is especially true in a city such as Lakewood, whose homes are entering their second century of life.
Lakewood has a total of 32,000 housing units citywide including 12,700 one- or two-family homes. Through research and a comprehensive housing survey, the city’s Housing Forward initiative has provided the city with more data on these 12,700 homes than ever before.
By using good data in the Division of Housing and Building, and sharing that data with homeowners, Lakewood has seen the number of residential building permits increase since 2010.
Inspecting, preventing, assisting+-
The Division of Housing and Building provides code enforcement and plan examination services. Here’s a list of all work that would require an inspection. For a closer look at the city’s building and housing code, click here. Also, here’s the link to the Ohio Building Code and the link to the national electric code. The city conducts annual inspections on rental property, permit inspections, complaint inspections, and prior to sale inspections (see a sample checklist here). The Division issues permits on new construction, repairs, and alterations. The Division maintains a registry of contractors able to work in the City. It also accepts applications for the Board of Zoning Appeals, Board of Building Standards, Architectural Board of Review, and the Planning Commission. To apply or register with the building department, click here. For more information, call (216) 529-6270 or send an email to email@example.com.
The building and housing department is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, with payments accepted until 3 p.m.
- Joseph A. Meyers, Building Commissioner
- Mark D. Jewitt, Property Maintenance Supervisor
Investing in our neighborhoods+-
As a city with a population of more than 50,000 people, the city of Lakewood is a Community Development Block Grant entitlement community. The CDBG program provides annual grants on a formula basis to entitled cities and counties to develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment, and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for low- and moderate-income persons.
To receive its annual CDBG entitlement grant, a grantee must develop and submit to HUD its Consolidated Plan, which is a jurisdiction’s comprehensive planning document and application for funding under the following Community Planning and Development formula grant programs: CDBG, HOME Investment Partnerships, Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA), and Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG). For more information, or to find out more about elibility requirements, call 216-529-4663 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) is 17-member committee responsible for making recommendations on the allocation of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG), HOME, and American Dream Downpayment Initiative (ADDI) funds that are granted on an annual basis to the City of Lakewood by the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Litter Control, high grass, weeds+-
Refuse must be stored in cans with tight fitting lids and not placed on the tree lawn before 6:00 PM the evening prior to pick up. Property owners can be cited for insanitary conditions if refuse is not properly contained. (Refer to LCO, Chapter 17, Sanitary Code. Every property owner in the City is responsible for keeping their lawns mowed and free from weeds. Grass or weeds six inches or higher are in violation of Chapter 1775 of the Lakewood Codified Ordinances and are subject to citation. If the property owner, occupant or management does not remove high grass and weeds after receiving a citation, the City of Lakewood may remove them at a cost of $100/hour. If you would like to report a property with high grass and/or weeds, please use the Report Problem/Concern form.
This list is updated monthly by the Division of Housing and Building and includes those contractors currently registered with the City of Lakewood. Any contractor offering services in the city must register on an annual basis and have valid insurance on file with the city. The city is prohibited from recommending any particular contractor and strongly encourages that references be obtained prior to entering into a contract. Complete list of Registered Contractors.
Housing Financial Assistance+-
The Lakewood HOME Program provides one of the best mortgage financing packages available to qualified first time homebuyers interested in purchasing a Lakewood home. Assistance, which comes in the form of a 0% interest, no monthly payment second mortgage is used to assist with both down payment and closing costs. Learn more
The Department of Planning and Development offers a variety of other housing financial assistance programs that may suit your needs. Learn more
To get more information — or to find out if you qualify — call (216) 529-HOME (4663) or send an email to email@example.com.
- Best Rental Practices: A Manual for Lakewood Landlords
The City has provided a guideline for landlords to help with various issues including applicant screening, rental agreements, crisis resolution, working with our building and housing officials and other problems facing landlords.
- A Friendly Lakewood Landlord Quiz
Take a short quiz to test your knowledge as a landlord!
How to be a GREAT Landlord in the City of Lakewood
Here’s a brief list of the steps you must take to become a well-informed and effective landlord within the City of Lakewood.
- Tenant Screening Discount Program
Lakewood Landlords are entitled to deep discounts on tenant screening services. Click here to find out more.
- Landlord Training Seminar Presentation
Take a look at the Powerpoint presentation for the most recent Landlord Training Seminar.
- Landlord Training Seminar Video
Take a look at the most recent Landlord Training Seminar video.
- Best Rental Practices: A Manual for Lakewood Landlords
Homeowner's Tax Abatement Program+-
The City of Lakewood was the first municipality in the State of Ohio to enact legislation allowing homeowner’s to qualify for a property tax abatement that defers a property tax increase for five (5) years on qualifying home improvements. This was done to encourage property owners to reinvest in their properties.
The Tax Abatement Program is administered through the Cuyahoga County Property Appraisal Department and applies to one- and two-family dwelling units. The abatement is for certain new construction and improvement projects that cost at least $2,500 and cause an increase in the assessed value of the property. The City of Lakewood automatically notifies the County of all qualifying projects once work is complete and permits have been closed.
Eligible Projects are:
- Accessory Buildings (Garages)
- Indoor Fireplaces
- In-ground pools
- Major Rehab Projects
- New Whole House Air Conditioning
- New Decks and Porches (Not Replacements)
(Note: Not all projects raise property values and do not qualify for abatement)
The County utilizes the information from the City of Lakewood when determining the value for your property.
Housing License Renewal+-
To renew your one- and two-family or your multi-family housing license, please click here to fill out the application.
Downloads: For Homeowners, Contractors, and Landlords+-
- Anatomy of a Porch
- Contractor prequalification for dye testing
- Cuyahoga County Board of Health “Lead Safe” initiative
- Downspout Diagram
- Dye Test FAQs
- Financial and Technical Resources
- Garage Fire Resistance Rating Requirements – 2016
- Garage PFG and Shallow Foundation Attachments
- Garage Prototype 2018
- How To Fill Out Your 1 & 2 Family Housing License Online
- Landlord Guide to renting to pet owners
- Non Residential Energy Assessment
- One- and two-family home attic remodel worksheet
- Permit Fee Schedule
- Permit Requirements
- Point of Sales Inspection (ordinance)
- Required Inspections by Permit Type in Lakewood
- Side-yard air conditioning
- Site Plan Template
- Small Business is Big Business in Lakewood
- Stairway Design
- Swimming Pool Brochure – 2016
- Tips on securing your Certificate of Occupancy
- Trees In Lakewood
- Vacant Housing License Application
State of Ohio Recommended Plan Review Checklists
Housing and Building Department FAQs+-
Q: What is the zoning of a particular property?
A: A city zoning map can be referenced at this link: www.onelakewood.com/zoningmap– OR- contact the City Planning & Development Department (216) 529-6631 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Can I operate a business out of my home?
A: Some limited home occupations are permitted with a Conditional Use Permit approved by the Lakewood Planning Commission. See Lakewood Codified Ordinance Chapter 1145 for specific information and restrictions. Please contact the Planning & Development Department at (216) 529-6631 or by e-mail at: email@example.com if you have any questions.
Q: My neighbor’s tree is hanging over/damaging my property. What can I (you) do about it?
A: Full information about Trees in Lakewood may be found at: http://www.onelakewood.com/pdf/2012_TreesInLakewood.pdf Generally, tree limbs hanging over onto your property may be trimmed up to the property line. Disputes about trees that are located directly on the property line are a civil matter between property owners. For more severe circumstances or questions please contact the Streets & Forestry Division by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Can you recommend a contractor?
A: The city is prohibited from steering people to any specific contractors. However contractors are supposed to register annually with the city and have proof of insurance. The list of contractors who have registered with the city may be found at the following link: http://www.onelakewood.com/apply-register/registered-contractors/. It is still recommended that references be obtained from all contractors prior to agreeing to have any work performed.
Q: How do I register to do work in the City?
A: Registration is required every calendar year. See the following link for Contractor Registration Packet including an application and instructions: http://www.onelakewood.com/apply-register/registered-contractors/
Q: What smoke detectors or carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are acceptable to the City?
A: Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors which are not wired directly to the building’s power supply must be operated in a plug-in outlet which is fitted with a plug-restraining device, provided the outlet is not controlled by any switch other than the main power supply. Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors with a digital read out are preferred. Single use, battery-powered carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are not acceptable.
Lakewood Code requires tamper resistant smoke detectors in all rental units. As for placement of detectors it is recommended to have one in the living room away from the kitchen, one in the hall between the bedrooms and one in each sleeping room. As for the type of detector many people believe in the photo electric, however it is recommend that you purchase the type of detector with a ten (10) year battery. Experience in Lakewood has been that most injuries and deaths occurred when the battery was removed from the detector and not replaced.
Q: Do I need a permit/inspection for the City sidewalk in front of my house repaired/replaced?
A: Any work that is located in the public right of way (city sidewalks, street aprons, tree lawns, in the street, etc) requires permits and inspections from the Building Department. Please call (216) 529-6272 with any questions.
Q: Why do I need a dye test before connecting to the City sewer(s)?
A: Because of the age and limited capacity of the city’s sanitary sewer system, the City of Lakewood by code requires the elimination of storm water from entering the sanitary sewer system. A dye test verifies that storm water is not being directed into that system. The city website has more information and FAQs about Dye Tests at the following link: http://www.onelakewood.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Dye-Test-FAQ-Final-3-30-16.pdf This procedure is intended to incrementally detect and eliminate this primary cause of overflows of the sanitary system which pollute our waterways. It also is intended as a proactive approach to prevent a United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) finding against the City of Lakewood which would likely require the construction of massive water storage tunnels similar to the Mill Creek and Euclid Creek Interceptors that the North East Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) has been forced to build at a cost of several billion dollars paid for through higher sewer rates.
Q: Where can I report problems with mold, asbestos, lead etc.?
A: Mold: Areas where mold has grown should be thoroughly dried and cleaned. The moisture source must be eliminated in order to eliminate the occurrence or reoccurrence of the mold problem.
Asbestos: A permit is required for the containment, removal and disposal of asbestos. The City of Cleveland Department of Health Division of Air Quality is the enforcement agency on behalf the Ohio EPA. See the attached link: http://www.clevelandhealth.org/AirQuality/
Lead: All contractors are now required to have lead abatement training. For questions call Cuyahoga County Board of Health at (216) 201-2001 x 1262
Q: With last night’s storm, I got water in my basement. Where can I report it/get help?
A: You may report this problem to the City Water Department (216) 529-5941. A representative will evaluate the issue to determine the best course of action. To prevent such occurrences, it is recommended that as part of routine maintenance of your property that your storm and sanitary sewers be cleaned from the street to the building periodically. See the attached link for a list of registered contractors that do sewer work: http://www.onelakewood.com/apply-register/registered-contractors/. In addition, dye tests can also uncover issues in your sewers and water lines. The city website has more information and FAQs about Dye Tests at the following link: http://www.onelakewood.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Dye-Test-FAQ-Final-3-30-16.pdf
Q: How can I find Lakewood housing that accepts Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) tenants?
A: See the following link for HousingCleveland.org: http://www.socialserve.com/tenant/OH/Search.html?city_id=30965&ch=CLE&type=rental
Q: How can I dispute my high real estate taxes?
A: Property values can be disputed through the Cuyahoga County Board of Revision at the attached link: http://bor.cuyahogacounty.us/. Disputes or errors in tax bills should be directed to the Cuyahoga County Fiscal Office at the attached link: http://treasurer.cuyahogacounty.us/en-US/real-estate-taxes.aspx
Q: How can I find out who owns the absentee landlord property next to me?
A: See the attached link for the Cuyahoga County Auditor’s Office: http://fiscalofficer.cuyahogacounty.us/AuditorApps/real-property/REPI/default.asp You will only need the address of the property to search for the owner’s information.
Q: How can I obtain a vendor’s license?
A: Contact the Cuyahoga County Fiscal Office at the following link: http://fiscalofficer.cuyahogacounty.us/en-US/vendors-license.aspx
Q: What is the number you should call before you dig to avoid hitting underground utility lines?
A: The “Before You Dig #” is “811”. You may also dial (1-800) 362-2764 or see the following link at: http://www.oups.org/HomeSideMenu/ContactUs.aspx
Q: My neighbor has not cut his grass (or shoveled his walks). Who can help me?
A: You may go to “Report a Problem” on the city website onelakewood.com at the following link: http://www.onelakewood.com/report-a-problem-concern/. You may also contact the Division of Housing and Building by e-mail at: email@example.com or call (216) 529-6970.
Q: My water pressure is low. How do I report this?
A: Please contact the Division of Water and Wastewater Collection by phone at (216) 529-6820 or by e-mail at: Water@lakewoodoh.net
Q: My mother is elderly. Can someone with the City help with snow removal/grass cutting?
A: The Lakewood Department of Human Services does have a Snow Removal Program for seniors. Please contact the Division of Aging at (216) 521-1515 for more information. You can also refer to the following link for registered contractors that perform such services: http://www.onelakewood.com/apply-register/registered-contractors/
Q: My landlord is not responding to my complaints? What can I do?
A: Disputes over lease obligations are civil matters strictly between tenants and landlords. Contact the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland’s Tenant Information Line at (216) 861-5955 or go to: https://lasclev.org/get-help/housing/ for additional information.
Q: How can I put my rent in escrow until my landlord fulfills his obligations?
A: Chapter 5321 of the Ohio Revised Code specifies the procedure to place money into escrow. See the following link: http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/5321 The Cleveland Tenants Organization may be able to assist you, also. See the attached link: http://www.clevelandtenants.org/. The Lakewood Municipal Court may also provide assistance. Call (216) 529-6700 or an application for Rent Escrow may be found at the following link: http://www.lakewoodcourtoh.com/courtforms.html
Q: Do you have to be registered to go door-to-door in Lakewood selling goods or services?
A: Yes an individual needs to register with the Building Department in accordance with Lakewood Codified Ordinance Chapter 741 – Peddlers, Vendors and Solicitors. The permit is issued to the individual NOT the organization. Each individual from an organization that will be knocking on doors must register as there is a criminal background check done before a permit is issued. NOTE: Non-profits (e.g. Girl Scouts, school programs) and Canvassers (e.g. politicians) are exempt from the need to obtain a permit
Q: What do I do if a solicitor that comes to my door is aggressive in their sales to the point it is inappropriate and intimidating or is asking for my personal information or copies of my utility bills?
A: First of all, if you are concerned for your safety, you should never hesitate telling the individual to leave and that you are calling the police. Second, you should always ask for identification from the individual first. Write their name down and the organization they are representing. Do not give them any personal information or copies of any of your invoices or bills. Ask them to provide you with information on their organization so that you can check it out and follow up with them if you are interested. Third, if the caller is from a utility company (i.e. gas or electric) and you have a complaint about the interaction please call the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), the oversight organization for organizations providing utility services in Ohio to report your complaint:
PUCO – Customer Complaints – (1-800) 686-7826.
Q: Is there a way I can prevent solicitors from knocking on my door?
A: Yes, the City of Lakewood has a “Do Not Knock Registry”. You may sign up for the “Do Not Knock Registry” on the city website at: http://www.onelakewood.com/do-not-knock/ You must renew your registration each year. If you receive solicitors and you have signed up for the Do Not Knock Registry you may report it to the Law Department at: firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to include your Name, Address, Name of the Individual that came to the door and the name of the organization they represented. If however the solicitor was representing a utility company, report it to the PUCO at: (1-800) 686-7826.
FY19 Lakewood Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) Process+-
Lakewood’s Citizens Advisory Committee
Lakewood’s Federal Funding Streams
Lakewood CDBG & ESG 5-Year Funding Histories (FY14-FY18)
Plans & Reports
FY19 CAC Schedules
FY19 CAC Meeting Minutes
City Administration FY19 CDBG & ESG Allocation Recommendations
FY19 CDBG & ESG Funding Requests & Applicant Presentations
Presentation Session # 1 (10.3.18)
Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center
North Coast Community Health Center
Lakewood Community Services Center
Presentation Session #2 (10.10.18)
Lakewood Department of Human Services
Presentation Session #3 (10/17/18)
Lakewood Department of Public Works (DPW)
Lakewood Division of Community Development
Lakewood Department of Planning & Development
FY19 CAC Public Notices
Please contact the Cleveland Legal Aid Society’s (https://lasclev.org/) Tenant Information Line at (216) 861-5955 for information and assistance regarding tenants’ rights and landlord responsibilities under Ohio Landlord Tenant Law.
Cleveland Legal Aid Society now (https://lasclev.org/) handles tenants’ questions through a new Tenant Information Line: 216.861.5955. Tenants can call between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and leave a message with their name, phone number and brief description of their housing question. Someone will call back within 24 business hours.
For access to quick housing help, see the info below available by text message and online.
- Tenant Information Line H Call 216.861.5955
- Respond to eviction complaint: Text FAQ EVICTION to 216.242.1544
- Return of security deposit: Text FAQ DEPOSIT to 216.242.1544
- How to rent deposit: Text FAQ REPAIRS to 216.242.1544
- Lead poisoning information: Text FAQ LEAD to 216.242.1544
- For other housing information: Visit https://lasclev.org/category/faqs/housing-faqs/
- How to Rent Deposit when Housing Conditions are a Problem
- Ohio Landlord-Tenant Law: The Basics
- Lead Poisoning: Rights, Remedies & Resources
- Free Legal Advice Clinics 2019
The City of Lakewood is deeply committed to promoting non-discrimination; affirmatively furthering fair housing choice; enforcing local, state, and federal fair housing law; identifying and eliminating barriers to fair housing choice; disseminating information regarding fair housing rights and obligations; and ensuring residents and those seeking accommodations in Lakewood enjoy equal access to decent, safe, affordable housing.
The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of Race, Color, Religion, Gender, National Origin, Disability and Familial Status.
Chapter 516 of Lakewood’s Codified Ordinances expands the list of protected classes from (7) to (9) by prohibiting discrimination in housing on the basis of both Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity or Expression.
FAIR HOUSING COMPLAINT ASSISTANCE
City of Lakewood
If you are a Lakewood resident and believe your fair housing rights have been violated, please complete Lakewood’s Fair Housing Complaint Information Form and contact:
Fair Housing Officer
The Housing Research & Advocacy Center also processes fair housing complaints on behalf of Lakewood residents.
Additional Fair Housing Complaint Resources
U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development
- Online Complaint Form
- Housing Discrimination Complaint iOS App
- Housing Discrimination Complaint Android App
ANALYSIS OF IMPEDIMENTS TO FAIR HOUSING CHOICE (AI)
As a recipient of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Lakewood must affirmatively further fair housing choice. The city’s Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice (AI) is critical to meeting this obligation.
The AI process involves a thorough examination of a variety of sources related to housing, affirmatively furthering fair housing, the fair housing delivery system and housing transactions, particularly for persons who are protected under fair housing law. AI sources include census data, employment and income information, home mortgage application data, federal and state fair housing complaint information, surveys of housing industry experts and stakeholders, and related information found in the public domain.
An AI also includes an active and involved public input and review process via direct contact with stakeholders, public forums to collect input from citizens and interested parties, distribution of draft reports for citizen review and formal presentations of findings and actions the city will undertake to overcome the identified impediments.
FAIR HOUSING ACTION PLAN
Lakewood’s Fair Housing Action Plan sets forth specific actions the city will take to affirmatively further fair housing and address the impediments to fair housing choice identified in the Analysis of Impediments.
LAKEWOOD HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
Lakewood’s Human Rights Commission (HRC) was established in 2016 as part of the city’s comprehensive Human Rights Ordinance which protects citizens from discrimination in the areas of housing, employment, education, and public accommodations. The HRC receives, initiates, investigates, conciliates, and adjudicated complaints alleging unlawful discrimination and partners with community stakeholders in the development of education and outreach programs regarding equal opportunity and fair housing choice. The commission is comprised of Lakewood’s Director of Planning & Development (or his or her designee); a mayoral appointee; and a City Council appointee and members may serve one three year term.
FAIR HOUSING LINKS