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Revitalizing Cleveland: Unveiling the Residents First Housing Policy

Revitalizing Cleveland: Unveiling the Residents First Housing Policy

Residents First housing policy

Cleveland has implemented a fresh housing policy prioritizing residents, aimed at combating blight and holding non-local landlords accountable. Recently approved by the Cleveland City Council, named Residents First housing policy by Mayor Justin Bibb, fortifies and streamlines code enforcement measures.

Mayor Bibb emphasized the significance of this legislation, dubbing it the most comprehensive housing initiative passed by the city in nearly thirty years. He expressed confidence that the policy would contribute to the restoration of housing across all neighborhoods.

The policy encompasses three key provisions:

Local Accountability

Landlords residing outside Cuyahoga or adjacent counties must designate a local representative responsible for addressing violations. This addresses the challenge of tracking down out-of-state landlords, ensuring a designated person is available for property maintenance and potential court appearances.

Civil Ticketing System

City inspectors, from the building and housing department, gain the authority to issue $200 tickets for code violations, accumulating daily. This streamlined process replaces the time-consuming approach of taking owners to housing court. Unpaid tickets will be added to the owner’s property tax bill.

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Point-of-Sale Inspections

Inspectors will document exterior code violations on vacant homes during sales, with buyers mandated to rectify them as a condition of the sale. Originally proposed for both exterior and interior inspections, concerns about imposing excessive repair costs on small buyers led to a compromise. This facet of the legislation is set to sunset in two years unless renewed by the council.

On the opposing front, the Akron Cleveland Association of Realtors voiced opposition during a council hearing and created a website lobbying against the legislation. They argued that the Cleveland market is still in recovery, urging the city to focus on enforcing existing laws before introducing additional hurdles for residents.