Cleveland leaders, tenants demand more rental registration enforcement

Too many CLE tenants in bad living conditions

CLEVELAND - Some Cleveland tenants and city leaders believe more enforcement of the city rental registration law is desperately needed.

Cleveland Councilman Michael Polensek said the law requiring landlords to register all of their rental units has been in place for more than a decade, but he believes it's been poorly enforced.

Polensek said forcing landlords to give all of their contact information better allows the city to hold bad landlords accountable when it comes to cracking down on housing code violations and deplorable living conditions.

"I have experienced families living in conditions that you wouldn't believe," said Polensek. "The Cleveland rental registry really hasn't been enforced, and the question you have to ask is why? Identify the properties, and if they haven't complied with rental registration, dog gone it, cite them, cite them, and if need be put them in housing court."

News 5 took the case the Cleveland Housing Court Judge Ron O'Leary.

O'Leary said rental registration enforcement improvements are already on the way.

O'Leary's court is already hosting a series of neighborhood housing clinics, and is holding landlords who file evictions more accountable for the quality of their rental units.

"Yes, more enforcement is needed," said O'Leary. I think that both building and housing and the law department would agree with that. We instituted a local rule, that if a landlord files an eviction, they have to attach a current certificate of rental registration."

Still, Polensek believes Cleveland has a long way to go when it comes to holding bad landlords accountable, and enforcing the current housing laws on the books.

"In cities that enforce their basic code housing code, and such things as rental registration, they have a better community," said Polensek.

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