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Old West End tenants, landlords plead for extension on lead ordinance

Some houses in the historic district of the Old West End have restrictions on what they can, and cannot fix (WNWO).

It is now 30 days away from the first of three deadlines surrounding the city's lead ordinance.

By June 30th, more than 12,000 homes have to pass inspection.

More than 90 percent of properties, still have yet to pass.

Renters are worried they may be thrown out.

"Once it became clear that compliance was hovering between 7,8,9 percent with only a few months left until it came into effect, there should be reconsideration," said Old West End resident, Laura Shaffer.

Old West End residents rallied in One Government Center on Thursday.

"Keeping lead out of homes and making it safer for families to move into Toledo is a wonderful idea, but there are these unforeseen consequences that I think bear some reconsideration or alterations to the ordinance as it currently stands," said Shaffer.

For some landlords, they simply don't want to face a $50 a day fine for having residents living in a non lead-safe home.

"We have actual cases now at ABEL, where tenants have been evicted because the landlord has said to the tenant, 'We are not going to comply to the ordinance and we are going to evict you.' That's illegal," declared Attorney Robert Cole.

However, there are some landlords who have their hands tied, like Mary Bennett.

As the owner of nine rentals, she decided to not fill six of them over the last two years, so she could begin to work on the lead issues.

She had to present three thirty day notices, though.

"I will. If it's the law, I will do it. The thing I'm sorry about is having to ask the tenants to leave. That's my biggest thing," stated Bennett.

She owns properties in the Historic District of Old West End, where it is illegal to replace windows or change the structure of the house.

Mary would love to see the deadline extended, and her biggest concerns involve the dust wipes from windows involved in inspections and thinks inspections should take place between tenant within the residence.

"They would have a line up. We would all go there. Those are the two biggest factors for us."

Another issue concerning some landlords are the loopholes within the lead ordinance.

Families can rent to their own family members and not face an inspection. If you own more than four units under one roof, such as apartment complexes, they are not tested, as well.

"If this was really about the children, they would go for every apartment," exclaimed Bennett.

Landlords told NBC 24 Friday that, in order to pass an inspection, it would cost more than $500 out of their pockets.

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