Housing & Building | The City of Lakewood, Ohio

Housing & Building


Division of Housing & Building

12650 Detroit Avenue
Lakewood, Ohio  44107
(216) 529-6270
housing.building@lakewoodoh.net
Hours: 8 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday,
Payments accepted until 3 p.m.


Click here to view significant changes to the Residential Code of Ohio.


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.

  • Building Permit+-

    Getting it done

    The Division of Housing & Building issues permits covering any alterations, repairs or new construction, contractor registration and licensing and housing licenses, as well as permits for peddler and/or solicitor’s licenses. The Division inspects all structures in the City either by mandatory inspection or upon request.

    Click here to go to Citizen Serve for your building department needs.

    For more information about submitting your application, please call 216-529-6270.

  • Downloads: For Homeowners, Contractors, and Landlords+-

  • Food Trucks+-

  • 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: planning@lakewoodoh.net.

    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: planning@lakewoodoh.net 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: streets@lakewoodoh.net

     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: housing.building@lakewoodoh.net 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: law@lakewoodoh.net 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.

  • Housing License Renewal+-

    If you have a question about your 2018 housing license, please contact the Division of Housing & Building at (216) 529-6270.


    ANNOUNCING CHANGES TO 2019 HOUSING LICENSE PROGRAM

    In 2019, ALL HOUSING LICENSES ARE DUE ON NOVEMBER 1.

    Click here to go to our CitizenServe portal to apply for your housing license.

     

    Lakewood housing license regulations were updated by City Council at the end of 2018. By making all housing licenses due at the same time, license processing will be more efficient and the customer experience will be simplified.  The customer experience will be further improved by a new user-friendly online application.  A link to the new online Housing License Portal will be made available here in ample time to meet the November 1 deadline.

    Other important Details about the Lakewood Housing License Application 

    • Non-owner Occupied Condominium: The fee for non-owner occupied condominium units is now $45.00 per unit.
    • Owner Occupied Condominiums & Condominium Buildings: There is no longer a fee for owner occupied condominium units or for condominium buildings.
    • Late Fees: Owners not securing a Housing license by November 1 will be assessed a late fee of twenty-five ($25.00) per unit.
    • Updated Housing License fees for 2019 are:
    Non-owner-occupied condominium units: $45.00 per unit
    Rooming house containing two or more tenants: $60.00 per unit
    Non-owner occupied one-or-two family structures: $75.00 per unit
    Three-family dwellings: $60.00 per non-owner occupied unit
    All other non-owner occupied structures: $45.00 per dwelling unit
    Multi-family buildings single license: $3,500.00 per building
    Vacant Property License: $200.00 per building

     

    This is the first of multiple forms of communication we will be using to provide housing license updates over the coming months. Our goal is to provide ample notice and clear communication about these changes so you can prepare your applications for housing licenses in an appropriate and timely manner.  We encourage you to reach out to our department at (216) 529-6270 or housing.building@lakewoodoh.net if we can help answer any questions about the housing license application process moving forward.

    Thank you for your continued commitment to and investment in the Lakewood community.

    Click here to go to our CitizenServe portal to apply for your housing license.

  • 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 housing.building@lakewoodoh.net.

    The building and housing department is open from 8 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, with payments accepted until 3 p.m.

    Contacts:

    • Joseph A. Meyers, Building Commissioner
    • Mark D. Jewitt, Property Maintenance Supervisor

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  • 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.

  • Paving+-

  • Registered Contractors+-

    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.