Division of Records Administration

Records Administration is responsible for handling, storing and maintaining all building and housing documents for the Department. In addition, this division oversees the complaint intake center, Rental Registration Program, Issues Certificates of Disclosure and Certificates of Occupancy, and statements of authorized use letters. It also handles freedom of information requests.

Records Administration is also responsible for researching and providing information related to conditions and uses for property. Information and document types availabe include legal use, permits and permit history, violations and violation history, certificates of occupancy, and plans/drawings (within two years of submission). Some records date back to the late 1900’s.

Every property/structure may not have every type of document or record. Permit history is dependant on an owner notifying the City and retrieving proper work permits. If the owner doesn’t pull a permit to perform work, the City will not have a record/permit for the work performed.

Information is maintained on various mediums including microfiche, microfilm, archive books, and files. Most current information is stored electronically.

Record Administration:

Section Phone Email Fax
Certificate of Occupancy 664.4355 email 420.7582
Rental Registration 664.2994 email 420.7582
Certificate of Disclosure 664.3963 email 420.7582
Building Records 664.2825 email 420.7582
Plans 664.2085 email 420.7582

Rental Registration Ordinance

The Rental Registration Ordinance requires owners who rent or offer to rent a dwelling or rooming unit (whether year-round, seasonal, weekly, or daily) to register annually with the Department of Building & Housing at a fee of $70 per dwelling or unit. The purpose of the ordinance is to help ensure that residential property owners maintain decent, safe and sanitary units operated and maintained in ways that prevent them from becoming nuisances or influential in fostering blight or deterioration, or that negatively affect those reinvesting in Cleveland neighborhoods. 

Registering Rental Property

Any person, firm, partnership, or corporation operating, maintaining, or offering rental property in the City of Cleveland can register and obtain a Certificate of Rental Registration. It is unlawful for a person to offer for rent or occupy a residential rental unit without a current certificate. Once fees are paid, the City will issue the Certificate of Rental Registration.

Rental Registration Payment  with application form and routing instructions

For Rental Registration payment here

Affidavit For Rental Registration Exemption


Interior and exterior inspections are required. Exterior inspections are done throughout the year. Property owners are notified by mail to arrange interior inspections if deemed necessary. During the inspection, the City Code official will identify problems and concerns beginning with life safety issues. If any items are found to be deficient, the property owner will be required to bring the property into compliance with all applicable codes. A re-inspection will then be scheduled by the inspector. Once the property is in compliance, the Rental Registration Certificate will be renewed.

Permits For Repair Work

A permit must be obtained for most work.  The Building & Housing Permit Section can be contacted at 216.664.6424 for specific permit requirements or a Building & Housing Inspector.

Contact via phone: 216.664.2825
In person, by mail: Division of Records Administration
Cleveland City Hall, Room 517
601 Lakeside Avenue, 44114

Certificate of Occupancy Permit Process

The certificate is a legal document issued by the Department of Building and Housing which certifies compliance with the Ohio Building Code and the City’s Building Code.  It identifies the legal use of an establishment, the occupant load, the allowable load, the zoning district and any special conditions relating to the use of the establishment. It is not the same as a permit or rental registration certificate.

When it is Required

It is required for new construction, change in use of an existing structure or establishment, extensive renovations and/or rehabs that include altering the building use, additions that would change the use classification, and repairs to fire-damaged and condemned structures. 

Obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy

In order to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy, the building owner must submit paperwork to the address below. The required paperwork includes a current building permit and a sign-off sheet with all required building, fire, and mechanical approvals and signatures. These can be picked up at the Division of Construction Permitting at City Hall Room 505.  The sign-off sheet and permit will list required approvals and signatures that must be obtained. The applicant must retain the sign-off sheet until approvals have been secured. Once the building has been inspected, and sign-offs and approvals secured, the completed sign-off sheet may be submitted with a $60 fee to the address below to begin the certificate of occupancy process. 

Renewal Not Required

As long as there aren’t any changes (extensive alternations or additions, change in use , fire, or anything that will change the classification or construction type of the structure/building) the certificate of occupancy remains active and does not need to be renewed. It is linked to the structure, not the owner, so a new owner may obtain a certificate of occupancy in their own name by paying $60 for the name change.

Time Limited Certificate of Occupancy

A Time Limited Certificate of Occupancy may be approved by the Chief Building Official for using part of a structure if it is safe to occupy and does not pose any danger or have life-threatening violations.  Proper inspections and approvals are required for Time Limited Certificates of Occupancy. The fee is $60.00 per thirty days. If additional time is needed, the owner is required to write a letter to the Chief Building Official, at the address above, identifying what is needed to complete the project.  If additional time is granted, an additional $60 is required.

Contact via phone:

In person, by mail:

Division of Records Administration
Cleveland City Hall, Room 517
601 Lakeside Avenue, 44114


Certificate of Disclosure 

Certificates of Disclosure are issued by the Department of Building and Housing, Records Administration section. This document is required when there is a sale/transfer of residential dwellings. The document provides violation/condemnation and legal use information to the potential home buyer to make a well-informed decision when purchasing residential property.  This is not a point of sales inspection.  The purpose of this process is to apprise all parties on the property's code enforcement history.

Applying for a Certificate of Disclosure

There is a $60 fee for the certificate. Certificates of Disclosure may be requested through the online payment system. To make a request by mail or in person at the address below, the Certificate of Disclosure Application is required. Any party to the real estate transaction can request the Certificate of Disclosure, but it is usually requested by the title company.

Transferring Property

The certificate must be processed by the City prior to transferring taking effect. Typically it takes 3-5 days to process, and status can be checked online. If the status is "closed", the certificate can be reviewed or printed out. 

Additional Information

If a property is purchased in cash, a Certificate of Disclosure is still required. It is not required for refinancing a loan. The Certificate of Disclosure is only required when ownership of property is voluntarily transferred.  Foreclosure is not considered a voluntary transfer of ownership.

Contact via phone:

In person, by mail:

Division of Records Administration
Cleveland City Hall, Room 517 
601 Lakeside Avenue, 44114

Statement of Authorized Use Letter

When there is a transfer of residential property (5+ dwelling units and/or commercial property), the seller is required to obtain a Statement of Authorized Use Letter. This identifies the last legal use of the property according to City records. Legal use is established with a permit and/or Certificate of Occupancy. 

Use Letters can be ordered online here. They may also be obtained by sending a Records Request Form to the address below. There is a $40 fee for a Statement of Authorized Use Letter.

Code Violation Letters

This letter identifies outstanding building and housing violations, condemnations or zoning violations on a property. An outstanding violation is any open violation in the last two years. Upon request, City personnel will research records and provide information based on the violation history of a property. This is not a point of sales inspection, rather it is information according to City records.  If there are no violations found, this does not mean that the property is “free and clear” of violations. It means there were no violations at the time of inspection or the property has not yet been inspected by the City inspector.

For those seeking a verbal "yes" or "no" regarding property violations, there is no fee for this service. There is a $20 fee if an official document with violation results is required.

Code Violation Letters can be ordered online here. They may also be obtained by sending a Records Request Form to the address below. There is a $20 fee for a Code Violation Letter. 

Contact via phone:

In person, by mail:

Division of Records Administration
Cleveland City Hall, Room 517 
601 Lakeside Avenue, 44114