Tax Abatement

The City of Cleveland’s Residential Tax Abatement program is the temporary elimination of 100% of the increase in real estate property tax that results from certain eligible improvements on eligible residential/housing projects (Remodeling or New Construction).  It is available to stimulate investment in new development or redevelopment of residential housing in the City of Cleveland. The length or term of abatement is 15 years at 100% of the dollar amount by which the eligible new construction or remodeling activities increased the assessed market value of the property. These types of developments may qualify:

  • New construction of single-family or two-family dwellings, or multifamily investor-owned properties (15 years);
  • Rehabilitation of residential multifamily (three or more units) structures (or conversion of a nonresidential building into a multifamily dwelling) when eligible costs are greater than $15,000 per unit or $500,000 per structure (15 years); and
  • Rehabilitation of single-family and two-family dwellings (or conversion of nonresidential building into a single-family or two-family dwelling), when eligible costs are greater than $2,500 and the improvements increase in the assessed value of the property (15 years).

Tax Abatement is available to both homeowners and developers. All work must be completed under a true and accurate permit issued by the City of Cleveland Department of Building and Housing, and the property must be located in the City of Cleveland. Tax Abatement applications will not be accepted for improperly permitted improvements. Examples of improperly permitted improvements include work completed under a permit that does not accurately reflect the true cost of the work, or work completed that is outside the scope of the work described on the permit. Additionally, for whole-house rehabilitations and new construction, the building permit must require a Certificate of Occupancy upon completion, and a final Certificate of Occupancy must be obtained and submitted as part of the application package.

The Cuyahoga County Fiscal Office determines the abatement amount based on the type of improvements. Timing of the abatement term is dependent on the time that the permitted improvement(s) to the dwelling create new taxable value according to County records. Taxes may increase or decrease during the abatement period when voted changes in tax rates, state-mandated reappraisals, or updates reflecting neighborhood trends take effect.

The property owner will be responsible for paying property taxes based on the assessed value of the land and the building(s) prior to improvements. Tax savings realized by developers are passed on to tenants in the form of lower rents.

Tax Abatement applications are processed in the order they are received. Depending on season and volume, processing time may vary. If an applicant’s submission is incomplete, processing time restarts upon full and final submission of all application materials.

In order to ensure timely processing of applications, all tax abatement applications must be submitted to the City of Cleveland by November 1st of the year following the year in which the Building Permit was issued. For example, if a Building Permit was issued in March 2017, the tax abatement application must be submitted to the City of Cleveland on or before November 1, 2018.

The contact number for further information is 216.664.3442.

Proposed Residential Tax Abatement Program Boundary

See the Proposed Residential Tax Abatement map for information on the proposed program boundaries.

Cleveland Tax Abatement Study Available

In summer 2019, the city of Cleveland’s Office of Community Development and the Equitable Community Development Working Group engaged with Reinvestment Fund, PFM, Greater Ohio Policy Center, Neighborhood Connections and Leverage Point Development, to study the City’s residential tax abatement program. The study was commissioned to better understand the historic usage of the program, the value it generated for the City, and to identify potential adjustments to the program that would help the City advance an Equitable Community Development Strategy as part of the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative.

Cleveland Tax Abatement Study 2020

Tax Abatement Requires Meeting Cleveland Green Building Standards

Residents and developers seeking tax abatement for residential projects must meet Cleveland Green Building Standards found in the Cleveland Green Building Standard Handbook.

Applicant must select a Compliance Method: Enterprise Green Communities Criteria, National Green Building Standard established by the NAHB, or LEED (Silver) Certification.

Each method relies on a roster of independent third party professionals known as Green Raters or Verifiers who provide assistance and confirm that the project meets the standards for that method. The resident or developer must hire a third party professional from the appropriate roster in the planning stages of the project. This will assure that the project can be certified as eligible for tax abatement by complying with the requirements of the selected method and the Cleveland Green Building Standard.

The Certification Form and the list of Green Raters required to certify compliance can be found here:

Cleveland Green Communities Certification Form
Cleveland Green Communities Green Verifiers

NOTE: Removal of dilapidated sheds and garages will result in those items being removed from the tax duplicate. For clarification on all matters dealing with real estate taxes, contact the Office of the Cuyahoga County Auditor at 216.443.7100.

Improvements which DO NOT increase assessed value of residential property:

    Exterior Residential Improvements         

Interior Residential Improvements

New roof installation
Aluminum siding installation
Siding repair
Storm window/door installation
Adding windows/doors
Repair/replace/add shutters
Install awnings
Add/replace gutters/downspouts
Repoint, repair, replace masonry
Add window boxes
Repair/replace porches/steps
Install outdoor lighting
Install sprinkling system
Plant lawns/shrubs/grass/plants
Scrape/paint house
Install/repair/replace sidewalks

Remodel kitchen
Add closets
Resurface floors
Resurface ceilings/walls
Repair plaster
Install window blinds
Add built-in bookcases
Add built-in cabinets
Replace furnace with same kind
Replace hot water heater
Replace oil or gas burner
Replace hot water heater
Replace plumbing
Rewire completely
Add electrical circuits/outlets
Install/replace light fixtures

Note: normal repairs and maintenance will not increase the real estate tax assessment

Improvements which DO increase the assessed value of residential property:

  • Add additional living area
  • Gut and renovate a home or apartment building.
  • Convert all or part of a non residential building to a residential use
  • Build new or enlarge garage
  • Install new additional bathroom or toilet
  • Add new porch
  • Install stall shower
  • Install indoor fireplace
  • Finish attic, second floor or bedroom with panelling, plaster or plasterboard