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How Housing Court Can Impact Home-Based Health Hazards

How Housing Court Can Impact Home-Based Health Hazards

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How Housing Court Can Impact Home-Based Health Hazards

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  1. How Housing CourtCan Impact Home-BasedHealth Hazards Cleveland Housing Court Judge Ron O’Leary

  2. Areas of Focus 1 Environmental Quality Issues 2 Enforcement 3 Education 4 Resource Referrals

  3. Environmental Quality Issues Lead and health hazard issues in Housing Court can arise directly and indirectly, in criminal cases, civil cases, and special procedures.

  4. Environmental Quality Issues • Eviction hearings • Answers and counterclaims • Motions to compel repairs • Applications for release of rent (deposited with the Clerk of Courts) • Motions to prohibit re-rental • Damages claims

  5. Evidence of Environmental Quality Issues Presented at Hearings R • Testimony • Photos of chipping, paint, mold growths, or bugs. • Health Department or other experts’ documents • Medical laboratory reports I S K

  6. Criminal Enforcement • The City of Cleveland has set minimum standards for property maintenance in Cleveland. • Failing to comply with these standards can subject a property owner to criminal liability in the form of fines and incarceration. • Fines can begin at $1,000 for each day out of compliance. • There is no limit as to the amount of the fine. • Jail time can be up a maximum of 180 days for each day a property is out of compliance (18-month maximum.) • If property is owned by a business, fines can be $5,000 for each day out of compliance

  7. Enforcement • City cites the property owner for code violation for the presence of lead at the property. Defendant must use certified lead contractor to perform corrections. • City cites defendant for property not being “weathertight” (i.e., peeling paint) – defendant must use lead-safe practices in correcting violations. • Community control: properties that are not weathertight, owned by defendant on community control – must use lead-safe practices to make corrections.

  8. Enforcement • Tenant could file complaint or counterclaim for damages because of exposure to lead in rental property. • City, local Community Development Corporation, or other nonprofit could file civil case against property owner because of condition of the property, which could include presence of lead.

  9. Enforcement • Bailiff Communication/No Re-Rent Orders • Bailiff communicates orders prohibiting re-rental of property • Bailiff notes bad conditions when at the property on court business (e.g. move out). • If conditions include peeling paint, deteriorated porches, bailiff gives property owner information on lead and lead-safe practices. • In effort to educate, we encourage property owner to repair before specifically cited by City for lead. • If corrections are not made, court may order inspection, prohibit landlord from re-renting property.

  10. Enforcement • Rent Deposit • Rent deposit: Tenant who is current in rent can give landlord notice of defective conditions and give landlord reasonable time to repair • If no repair – tenant may deposit rent with the Court each month until repairs are made. Repairs may include peeling paint, etc.

  11. Lead Abatement • Is • Is Not • All lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust has been removed; • Permanent enclosure or encapsulation of lead-based paint; • Surfaces or fixtures painted with lead-based paint have been replaced; • Lead-contaminated soil has been either removed or permanently covered. • Preventive treatments; • Interim controls; • Activities designed to repair, restore, or remodel even though these activities may incidentally result in a reduction or elimination of lead-based paint hazards.

  12. Education Community Events • Neighborhood Clinics • What Every Tenant Should Know • What Every Landlord Should Know • What Every Investor Should Know

  13. Resource Referrals • City of Cleveland • Lead Hazard Control Program • Cuyahoga County Board of Health • Lead Safe Cuyahoga • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) • Certified Abatement Firms E D L A

  14. Where the Lead Initiative Stands • Cleveland City Council Introduced “Lead-Safe” Legislation - June 2019 • The proposed legislation would require all landlords and property owners to deem properties built before 1978 to be certified lead-safe by March 1, 2023, with criminal penalties for non-compliance. • Increases rental registration fees from $35 to $70 (Increases cap for single owner from $15,000 per year to $30,000 per year) • Legislation does not require lead testing for young children • WEWS News Channel 5 Story

  15. ? Do you haveany questions? ? ?

  16. THANK YOU! • olearyr@cmcoh.org • www.clevelandhousingcourt.org