Division of Code Enforcement
This Division of Code Enforcement inspects properties to ensure buildings are in compliance with housing and zoning codes. In addition, it investigates complaints, building fires, obtains warrants for inspections, remediates non-compliant structures, and prosecutes code enforcement cases.
How Code Enforcement Works
1) Reporting a complaint
Potential violations are discovered through citizen complaints, referrals from other agencies, inspector observations in an assigned area, and systematic inspections in a target area. Once a complaint is received, an inspector will conduct an investigation to determine if there is an ordinance violation.
To report a potential violation, you may contact the City of Cleveland Citizen Support Specialists at 3-1-1 or 216-664-2000. If you are experiencing an emergency, please contact 9-1-1.
2) Violation Notices
If violations exist, a violation notice is issued giving the property owner time to make corrections. If violations are not corrected, legal proceedings can be initiated against the property owner in consultation with the Department of Law. For minor misdemeanor violations, inspectors have the ability to issue tickets.
If you received a violation notice by mail and/or posted on your property, do not ignore it! Remember, this is a “notice” that violations exists on your property. Most violation notices will give you a 30-day period to correct your violation. During the 30 days, you may correct the violations or apply for a permit, if needed, to do so. If you are going to need more time to address your violations, you must, within the 30-day period, appeal your notice to the Board of Building Standards located in City Hall, room 516.
3) Filing an appeal
For instructions on filing appeals – CLICK HERE. The violation notice will also have the name, number, and email address for the inspector that issued the notice. Please contact the inspector for questions or updates.
What if I receive a Condemnation Violation?
This means your property has been inspected and determined to be uninhabitable. The property file will then be submitted to the City Department of Law for demolition approval once the 30-day appeal time has expired. This usually results from a serious fire, maintenance neglect, or because the structure has been compromised and is considered dangerous.
If you wish to rehab the property once it is condemned, bring your rehab plan, along with your violation notice, to the Building and Housing Department, 601 Lakeside Ave, room 505. You can then obtain the necessary permits to bring the property into compliance.
Please note: if the property is considered an imminent danger to lives or personal property, it will be abated (demolished) at the owner’s expense.
How do I appeal a violation notice?
If you are going to need more time to address your violations, you must, within the 30-day period, appeal your notice to the Board of Building Standards located at City Hall (601 Lakeside Ave), room 516.
For instructions on filing appeals – CLICK HERE
If you received a ticket in the mail?
For minor misdemeanor violations, inspectors have the ability to issue tickets. Reasons may include: trash, debris, high grass and weeds, unlicensed or inoperable vehicles, and maintenance issues on or around the property. The reverse side of the ticket will include the fine and payment options. You have the option for a court appearance to make a plea.
When do I need a permit?
Permits are required for all new construction, additions, alterations, demolitions. Minor repairs to structures may be made without application or notice to the Department of Building and Housing. Minor repairs can include patching walls and leaking roof coverings, pointing masonry, the replacement of shingles, siding, and floorboards.
Patching, pointing, or replacement must be of the same material, and the scope of replacement is limited to 10% of the wall, floor, ceiling, roof, or other building components. And while the replacement of broken glass or glazing is considered a minor repair, the replacement of window units is an alteration requiring a permit.