Division of Records Administration

Department of Building & Housing

Additional Contact Info


SectionPhoneEmail Fax
Certificate of Occupancy216.664.3095cs2@clevelandohio.gov216.420.7582
Rental Registration216.664.2827, 216.664.4216, 216.664.3745bhrental@clevelandohio.gov216.420.7582
Certificate of Disclosure216.664.2930cmills@clevelandohio.gov216.420.7582
Building Records216.664.2825mjacobs@clevelandohio.gov216.420.7582
Lead Safe Certification216.664.2274LeadCertCLE@clevelandohio.gov 

Resource Links

Accela Citizen Access

Rental Registration Ordinance

Affidavit of Local Agent in Charge

System Certification of Rental Unit Heating System (commercial 4 units or more)

Rental Registration Renewal

Rental Registration Payment by mail 

Certificate of Disclosure Application

Rental Registration Online Payments

Records Request Form


The Cleveland Division of Records Administration is responsible for handling, storing, and maintaining all building and commercial permits for the Department of Building and Housing. 

In addition, Records Administration oversees and administers the Rental Registration Program, Lead Safe Certification,  Certificates of Disclosure, Certificates of Occupancy, statements of authorized use letters, and code violation letters.

The Division serves as the public information portal for the Department of Building and Housing and is also responsible for the Retention and Disposal of residential and commercial plans according to the State of Ohio Retention Schedule.

Although this Division is responsible for several of documents, every property/structure may not have every document type or record. Permit history/ certificate of occupancy is dependent on the owner notifying the City and retrieving proper work permits and/or legally establishing or changing the use of the property with the Department. If the owner doesn’t pull a permit to perform work, the City may not have an accurate history for work performed at the property.

Rental Registration

The Cleveland Rental Registration Ordinance requires any owner who rents or offers to rent a dwelling or rooming unit (whether year-round, seasonal, weekly, or daily) to register annually with the Department of Building & Housing. The fee is $70 per year, per dwelling or unit. 

The Rental Registration billing cycle is from March 1 - March 31. Any payments received on or after April 1 are considered late and subject to a $100 late fee. The purpose of the ordinance is to help ensure that residential property owners maintain decent, safe, and sanitary units operated in ways that prevent them from becoming nuisances, influential in fostering blight or deterioration, or that negatively affect those reinvesting in Cleveland neighborhoods.

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 fees can only be exempted for two reasons: (1) the property is vacant and not habitable, or (2) money or anything of value is not exchanged for rental occupancy. Please note: for either reason, the owner is subject to a consent inspection or other verification.

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 Inspector will identify problems and concerns that threaten the health or safety of occupants. 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. If a rental certificate has been issued prior to an inspection and violations and/or hazardous conditions are found, the Director of Building and Housing has  the authority to revoke the rental certificate.

A permit must be obtained for most work. The Department of Building and Housing Permit Section can be contacted at 216.664.6424 for information on specific permit requirements. 

Certificates of Occupancy

A Certificate of Occupancy  is a legal document issued by the Department of Building and Housing that certifies compliance with both the Ohio Building Code and the City of Cleveland Building Code and ordinances. The document identifies the legal use of an establishment, occupant load, allowable load, 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.

A Certificate of Occupancy 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.

In order to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy, the building owner must submit their golden rod sign-off sheet to the Department of Building and Housing, City Hall, room 517. The sign-off sheet must include signatures from the Building Inspector, Fire Inspector, and any applicable Mechanical Inspectors. 

The golden rod sign-off sheet is included in the permit process when the permit is secured. The $60 certificate of occupancy fee is usually paid during the permit process. If you did not receive a sign-off sheet during the permit process, you may pick one up from the Division of Permit Construction, City Hall, room 505. The sign-off sheet will list required approvals and signatures that must be obtained by the applicant. The applicant must retain the sign-off sheet until approvals have been secured. 

Once the building has been inspected and sign-offs and approvals are secured, the completed sign-off sheet may be submitted to the Department of Building and Housing, Records Administration, Room 517.  If the certificate of occupancy was not paid for during the permit process, $60 will be required when submitting the golden rod sign-off sheet. An additional $60 is required if you are applying for a Time- Limited certificate of occupancy, or multiple certificates of occupancy that were not captured in the original permit process.  Initiating the certificate of occupancy process begins when the completed sign- off sheet is submitted to Records Administration, Room 517.

If 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, and a new owner may obtain a certificate of occupancy in their name by paying $60 for the name change.

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 30 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.

Certificates 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 one to four (1-4) residential dwelling units within the City of Cleveland. 

City of Cleveland parcel numbers begin with “0” or “1”.  This document provides violation/condemnation and legal use information to the potential home buyer.  This is not a point-of-sale inspection.  The purpose of this document is to apprise all parties of the property’s code enforcement history, to maintain accurate and current ownership information, and to ensure properties are being used according to City records and in compliance with all City ordinances.

There is a $60 fee for the certificate. Certificates of Disclosure may be requested through the online payment system.  You may also mail in the certificate of disclosure application or drop it off at the address listed above. However, paper submittals may take longer to process. Any party to the real estate transaction can request the Certificate of Disclosure Application, but it is usually requested by the title company.

The certificate must be processed by the City prior to transferring the property. Typically, it takes three to five (3-5) days to process. If the status is "closed," he certificate can be reviewed or printed.

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 a property is voluntarily transferred, which includes quit claims. Foreclosure is not considered a voluntary transfer of ownership.

Use and Code Letters

When there is a transfer of residential property (five (5)+ or more dwelling units and/or commercial properties), 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.   Commercial structures with residential units must comply with the City of Cleveland’s Rental Registration and Lead Ordinances.

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

This letter identifies outstanding building and housing violations, condemnations, or zoning violations on a property. We will identify and provide information on all active/open violations.

With the exception of condemnation notices, there is a two (2) years statute of limitations on code violation notices. Upon request, City personnel will research records and provide information based on the violation history of a property. This is not a point of sale inspection, but rather, information according to City records at the time of the research.

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. If you only need 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 violations may be obtained by sending a Records Request Form to the address above. There is a $20 fee for a Code Violation Letter.