Is Your House Up to Code?

About 14 percent of Lakewood's homes don't meet city code. So we've put together a searchable database to help you find out if your home is one of them.

More than 1,700 homes in Lakewood need some help getting up to housing code.

That’s according to the city’s finished comprehensive housing survey.

Lakewood Patch has compiled a complete database to look up the properties in Lakewood that need some work.

However, city officials said that since the housing survey was finished in March, about 50 property owners have fixed their issues.

the initial results of the study — with Ward 4 data not yet available — following months of neighborhood canvassing. 

Hundreds of color-speckled dots on a satellite image of Lakewood tell the story of the current state — as well as the future — of the city’s aging housing stock. 

Red is bad, green is good.

Last summer, and building and housing officials set out on foot to examine 11,000 homes in the city. 

The result is the Residential Housing Survey, a collection of data that highlights areas of Lakewood that need some attention. 

Dru Siley, the city’s director of planning and development, said the city will begin to focus its efforts on one portion of the city: from Marlowe to Woodward avenues and Detroit to Madison avenues.

The city has ; hosted a ; and , through LakewoodAlive, for residents to paint their homes.

“Overall, our quality of housing is very good — 85 percent,” he recently told Lakewood Patch. “That still means 15 percent of that housing is challenged. We want to make sure that all housing, at the very least, is decent, safe and sanitary." 

Kristina May 29, 2012 at 12:57 PM
I agree!! Our house was painted two years ago and we are constantly updating as is typical with an older home. The city should send a letter to residents whose houses are not meeting code that addresses why they are not meeting the code prior to publishing a database such as this.
Colin McHale May 29, 2012 at 01:23 PM
I have been very interested to see the results for my home since this was first released, so I was quite surprised to see my home as "almost meets code" when I looked at this list. My house is probably one of the nicest on the street, and with the amount of work that I have done since purchasing it, it's fairly discouraging. I called the city this morning and asked how to get the results of their study for my house in particular, and all the guy would tell me was "the inspector will reach out to you if he needs to". Well that certainly doesn't help!
Evan Hammersmith May 29, 2012 at 01:58 PM
I think you'll only hear from the inspectors if you have a yellow or red designation. My neighbor got a letter because of significant peeling paint. What the city should do is list everything they're checking for regarding code compliance. Then owners could do their own self assessment.
Marty Jones May 29, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Sounds like a common theme. Typical Lakewood, says almost meets code but doesn't explain what is objectionable. Based on the past experiences with the lame sidewalk inspector, followed by the totally incompetent tree inspector, I will give this all the attention I give a barking dog, ignore it.
Colin McEwen May 29, 2012 at 02:14 PM
If you received your letter, call the number listed on it. However, keep the questions and comments coming, and we'll follow up with the city.
Suzanne Pollack May 29, 2012 at 02:54 PM
We have been dealing with the city for years regarding our neighboring three family property. We've owned our three family for 16 years and have personally witnessed it falling into a blighted condition. We have been brushed off time after time after time. We've sent letters and pictures to City Hall. It has severely impacted us financially, as we've attempted to attract renters since we were unable to sell at any profit when we tried a couple of years ago. NOW our address as well as theirs and two others surrounding us DON'T EVEN SHOW UP ON THE MAP! What a joke...has it struck anyone else that this should have been done by inspectors from outside of Lakewood? Apparently, the owner has "until May" to tear down the garage, replace the driveway and repair and paint the entire house. I am so disgusted...
Lisa Smith May 29, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Only those who "need work" should have received a letter. However, calling the number listed is no help. They did not keep details of each homes issues when they did the survey. They'll be coming back to cite specific issues this summer. I suggest anyone who received a letter call the Lakewood Alive number also listed on the letter. Additionally I'm not happy about the addresses being published, I feel like it opens desperate home owners up to questionable businesses who may be going through the lists.
Evan Hammersmith May 29, 2012 at 03:16 PM
The city should direct owners who receive letters to the registered list of contractors and advice them to beware of predatory contractors who solicit work. Ultimately, since the city opened the can of worms of inspecting everyone's house, they need to investigate contractors doing work on the exterior of homes to make sure permits were pulled (where required). Permits may be the best protection a home owner has against shoddy work (assuming the city properly inspects the work).
Allison Urbanek May 29, 2012 at 04:05 PM
I am also curious about definition of "almost meets code" and "needs work". Homeowners should only work with reputable contractors, check with the City Building Department, Lakewood Alive, Better Business Bureau or Angie's List if you are interested in their service. I think it is good to know that the City is out and about in the community, but it would have been helpful to know what " almost to code" means so I would know what to focus on.
Paul Schneider May 29, 2012 at 05:27 PM
You are aware that your information, including address, name, house value, condition, etc. is all public information, right? http://fiscalofficer.cuyahogacounty.us/ As for getting hit up by businesses going through the lists, it happens every day, as we all receive junk mail from contractors and hangtags on our doorknobs. In any regard, I think it's good the city actually cares about what our homes look like so that values don't go down. However, I also agree that more information would be helpful for those of us who care as well and want to maintain our properties.
Chris May 29, 2012 at 08:56 PM
I think that is ridiculous that they publish a list that all can see, and then do not keep records of exactly why they rated your property that way. That is unacceptable. I still have my certificate they gave me a few years ago when all was good. Now I feel defeated that I take alot of pride in my home and it's upkeep.. and I did not meet code.
M M B May 29, 2012 at 09:39 PM
GOOD NEWS: Lakewood is excellent in checking on how property is kept up to keep pride in being a resident here. BAD NEWS: I agree with Marty, but he is giving too much credit to the "sidewalk inspector". I saw him...try a guy sitting in his car across the street with a clipboard!! Those that care need to know what item(s) do not pass the city code!!!
Missy Toms May 30, 2012 at 01:23 AM
We received the letter, but it said NOTHING about our code violations. We're the only yellow on our block. However, we have several neighbors with peeling paint, grass growing up In the driveway, etc. (For the record we have neither.) The day a person knocks on my door to chat about our violations is the day I take them seriously.
K M Smith May 30, 2012 at 02:36 AM
I am wondering what they are hoping to accomplish by making a list available without listing the violations. When we purchased our foreclosed home several years ago, the list we were given wasn't specific enough... or even accurate... regarding things that needed repair so it was difficult to comply. I was surprised to see that 14 of the 28 houses on our street is in need of work according to the assessment.
Chris May 30, 2012 at 06:11 PM
I must add that I contacted Dru Siley and received a prompt returned phone call today. Again, same info that they did not keep specifics and that "almost met code" basically meant that a minor violation occurred such as peeling paint, a missing porch railing or a cracked driveway... so he basically said don't worry about it if you don't have any of these.
Brandon Scullion May 30, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Hey Lakewood, how dare you tell me that my house, whose paint is peeling and has a small section of gutter hanging low due to rotted fascia board, is not perfect! I had it painted 4 years ago. I thought paint lasted forever! I didn't realize wood exposed to the elements could go bad. I really should have moved to Cleveland where they don't care what happens and I can let my porch steps fall off. It's a win win. I save money on repairs and it makes it harder for someone to break in. I hope it was obvious that I was saying all that in jest but here is my side of it. I believe I have one of the most beautiful homes in Lakewood and yet I seem to be the only person speaking out who truly loves what Lakewood is doing, appreciates their concern for the wellbeing of its/our property value(s), and recognizes that they are continually striving to make us a better, stronger and more vibrant city. For those who feel they have been outed, are you presuming that someone actually cares so much about your house that they are going to seek out your plot on the map and then judge you? Should you care if they are? The city is not trying to bully you or strong arm you into making repairs. They, the City of Lakewood, want to know the condition of the housing stock and notify the owners of the problems they noticed I don’t see how this is so abhorrent to so many.
Peter Grossetti May 30, 2012 at 07:03 PM
I keep hearing the term "up to code" here. It was my impression that this was a cursory, informal review of the general condition of the outside of the structure. It would be great if we had a look at the actual survey form than the inspectors used. My guess is that the form does not have columns or a place to mark which section of Lakewood Codified Ordinances are not "up to code" as per Section 1306 "The Lakewood Property Maintenance and Safety Code."
Allison Urbanek May 30, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Brandon- I totally agree with you-houses constantly need work. I work for a housing nonprofit in Cleveland Heights, which is notorious for city violations and live in Lakewood, which I absolutely adore and believe that there should be violations, but don't you think it is strange that they didn't keep the data? It is hard to improve a house if you don't know exactly what it is that needs to be improved. I whole heartedly believe in maintaining and improving our housing stock, but specfics are essential.
Brandon Scullion May 30, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Allison, as much as I would like to agree with you, I have to point out the fact that I knew well before any "inspector" came around what problems needed to be fixed on my house. However, from what I know of this program, phase one, which is what everybody is discussing at this time, is simply a "Snap shot" - plain and simple. The process is in its early stages. My thinking is that for Lakewood to have managed to review every single house, as quickly as they did, was an impressive feat but of course to do this in the time they did required simply taking a quick look at each home and giving them their 1-4 designation. From here I believe they will be using this data, the data that they still have, and focus their attention on the two worst categories. With this being said, those whose houses fall into those two categories should be expecting something from the city in short time or have received something already.
Suzanne Pollack May 31, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Why are there lots on this map which had designated ratings in previous versions, but now appear blank? Ours is among them, along with the blighted property neighboring us to the north and two others in a row. There are obvious gaping holes in this "shapshot". It certainly makes it appear as though our street is in better condition than it actually is. The City is reponsible for a lack of enforcement which spans years. How else would these properties have gotten this bad? I have further documentation regarding our neighboring property which reflects that the Absentee Landlord's "Property Management" run three family home has absorbed our tax dollars like a sponge ~ as the owner has been pursued and subsequently granted extensions. I noted the recent crackdown will include reimbursement to the city for their costs in pursuing these cases. How are we, those Lakewood homeowners, whose properties are affected dramatically by blighted properties supposed to recoup the loss of equity and decline in rental income potential we have experienced due to our neighboring property? And what about those tax valuations....
Brandon Scullion June 01, 2012 at 08:58 PM
M Blume June 04, 2012 at 04:23 AM
I too saw a almost meets code and wondered what isn't up to code.
Don Wingle June 25, 2012 at 12:13 AM
I agree.
Emily Smith November 14, 2012 at 06:06 PM
I called the building department the last time they put out this list. I was basically told that they cannot tell us specifics without actually citing us. But they did indicate that they would be "happy to send out an inspector to write a citation." So, my advice, don't bother to call. Just accept the fact that you are a "blue house" and hope that you can figure it out before you need to sell your house.
Annasiara Goodloe December 11, 2012 at 04:06 AM
This is bullshit! If we own our home nobody has the right to tell me what they think about it,because my home is clean and beautiful and I could care less what the city thinks, they don't pay my bills!
Brandon Scullion December 11, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Suzanne, while I totally emphathize with your situation, this is far from the experience I have had with the city. I'm not sure if you are familiar with the link on the website but you can quickly and easily report problems to the city and they are followed up on within 24 to 48 hours. This being said, I know for a fact that it works. Each time I bring something up I get an email and a phone call the next day - never fail. Good luck with your neighbor/hood. I hope the owner ends up completing those repairs.
Brandon Scullion December 11, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Paul, great points.
Brandon Scullion December 11, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Annasiara, that is a wonderful attitude. How about the people who live next to a box with windows that is falling apart? For all of their hard work/ my hard work and no matter how beautiful you make your home, your value is tied to the homes surrounding you. I am fairly confident that those who take care of their home are appreciative of this effort by the city. You may think it's BS but in the end, this is for the betterment of all of us - not just a way to make you angry.
DLSJR December 29, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Lakewood wasting our tax dollars at its finest. Why did they walk past 3-4 family properties? Commercial properties like mine for that matter? Across the street there is a 2 fam and a 4 plex. The 2 fam is listed as in "almost meets code", but the 4plex (not listed) next door looks like a crack house compared to the 2 fam. From the street, 2 fam is nicely painted and mows their yard, basically looks nice. The 4 plex never mows their yard (i have called owner and city), is missing awnings from a storm 3 years ago, and has at least 20 pigeons living under the roof overhang on front porch. Whoever inspected/walked around must have been the same people that did the sidewalk project on Clifton. If so, the city should drug test them.
Brandon Scullion December 30, 2012 at 02:22 PM
DLSJR, I'm not sure if you missed this part but the city, which has this info listed as plain as day, is ONLY giving a designation to residential homes. No apartments, no commercial buildings. Commercial is a different division. Regarding your complaints to the owner and the city (please keep in mind I am a homeowner who lives next to a few unsavory structures) Each and every time I contact the city, which they give you more than one avenue, I see a change almost immediately. Not only do I notice the change but they contact me within 24-48 hours to confirm some of the information that I supply to them. I'm not sure what route you are taking but the online reporting is the most efficient by far. I could go on but I'm not trying to be mean as you have. I just wanted to point out some of the obvious.


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