Lead amendment not enough for some landlords

An inspector looks over a rental property for signs of lead (Toledo Lucas Co. Health Dept.)

In August of 2016, the City of Toledo passed a Lead Safe Ordinance requiring all rental properties with four units or less built before 1978 to certify as lead-safe.

"What the inspection entails is going inside the home, making sure that it's cleaned, the walls are smooth, there's no holes, there's no peeling paint...things of that nature," said Eric Zgodzinski, Director, Toledo Lucas County Health Dept.

This ordinance has drawn criticism from many landlords.

"It's a ridiculous law, it's just ridiculous," said Carol Walls, a housing provider in the city of Toledo.

Toledo City Council voted Tuesday to extend the initial deadline for compliance to June 30, 2018 for houses facing the highest lead risk in Toledo.

While the extension gives landlords more time to get their properties ready for inspection, Walls believes the cost to the renter will go up.

"To pay for all of that is probably going to be an increase of, even over the course of the year...probably at least $30 to $50 a month increase in rent," said Walls.

But the health department says this is necessary due to the dangers of lead poisoning.

"There's a major concern about kids getting lead poisoning (and) this is a process that's been come up with to attack that problem," said Director Zgodzinski.

Walls concerned that increasing her rent to her tenants will cause them to find housing elsewhere.

"They are not going to be able to afford those kinds of increases and what's going to happen is that's going to chase my good tenants to an apartment building that isn't affected by this," said Walls.

However, the health department believes this will not be as difficult as some landlords envision.

"This is relatively easy to pass, again, it's a maintenance type of issue, so all that type of work can be done before hand," said Director Zgodzinski.

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