CLE residents believe city lead vacate notices have given them an unreasonable deadline

Residents report they've been given just two weeks
Posted at 12:30 PM, May 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-19 12:30:12-04

Some Cleveland residents believe they've been unfairly given an unreasonable deadline, after the city started to issue lead vacate notices to lead paint affected homes across the city.

Quana Johnson said she got the notice on May 17, telling her she had two weeks to take care of lead paint issues at her home, or she would be ordered out of her home by police.

Johnson told News 5 the city contacted her about lead paint problems at her home in 2014, but she claimed the city never followed up with her family.

Johnson believes the city now telling her she has two weeks to comply is simply unfair.

RELATED: Cleveland pressures state lawmakers to not pursue state-wide lead inspection plan

"How do you even find a contractor to do this thing in 14 days, you know, to even get money to even try to move in 14 days," said Johnson. "We should have at least 6 months, or a couple of months, but definitely not two weeks."

More notices to come

Spencer Wells with the Cleveland Lead Safe Network told News 5 that vacate notices were issued to 37 other homes, but believes up to 300 additional houses, all facing lead issues, could be slapped with vacate placards in the coming weeks.

Wells said the City of Cleveland, under its Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative, is scrambling to comply with Ohio law, which states notices must be sent to lead paint effected homes one year after the problem is discovered.

He said the city is finally complying with the law, but it's left residents with an unreasonable deadline to abate lead paint at their homes.

What's the plan?

Wells is also concerned the city doesn't have an adequate plan to help residents relocate if they're forced to move, or effectively track down children who may have been exposed to lead poisoning.

"Well, we're real concerned about it," said Wells. "The city officials couldn't tell us how its plan worked, they just said here's a phone number and the email address."

"We're advocating that the city of Cleveland pass an ordinance that says the house has to be shown to be lead free, before somebody moves in. That way you don't have to poison a child to find that there's a problem." -Spencer Wells

News 5 contacted Cleveland city hall to get details on the two week deadline, and it responded by issuing a timeline of enforcement.

The city said anyone getting a vacate notice should have received a notice by mail 90 days earlier. The city explained residents can file for an extension to get back into their homes, once lead paint issues are addressed.

However the city did not get specific as to how it would help residents relocate.

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