Property Owners

Laws and regulations on being a property owner.


Cleveland Housing Court has jurisdiction over criminal cases filed by the City of Cleveland and the Village of Bratenahl against property owners or persons in control of property in these areas.

These criminal cases involve violations of city or state laws relating to housing, building, fire, zoning, agriculture, health, sidewalks, waste collection, safety and air pollution. Fines and jail time are punishable outcomes if found guilty. These offenses are minor misdemeanors or first degree misdemeanors. Convictions on these offenses are punishable by fines and jail time.

Housing Court's Role in Criminal Cases

As outlined by Judge Patrick Carroll in City of Lakewood v. Krebs, 150 Ohio Misc.2d 1, 901 N.E.2d 885, 2008-Ohio-7083:

In a criminal case, the prosecutor has complete discretion in deciding whether to bring a criminal charge, as well as the nature of the charge to bring.

While the court has a general interest in the building, health, and safety codes being followed, as with all criminal laws, it is not within the authority of the court to encourage the prosecutor to file a criminal case.

A judge is not a law-enforcement officer. Judges and law-enforcement officers are separately defined, with separate duties and responsibilities.

The Ohio Supreme Court has noted, a “judge who observes a crime outside the courtroom has only the power of an ordinary citizen.”

The responsibility of a judge is to decide matters that have been submitted to the court by the parties.

A judge has no authority over a person or situation unless a case is properly filed and the court has jurisdiction.

A judge has no authority to decide the type or number of cases that will be filed with the court. The judge is limited to hearing and issuing decisions in the cases that are filed with the court. The decision to file a criminal case rests solely with the prosecutor.

Once a criminal case is filed, the control of the case shifts from the prosecutor to the court. The judge decides, within the limits of the law, how a case is conducted, when hearings are held, and what evidence may be submitted. If the judge or jury makes a finding of guilt, whether after a plea or a trial, it is the judge's responsibility to determine the sentence to be imposed.


Cleveland Housing Court works closely with a number of partner agencies. Here are a few key organizations that are of particular interest to landlords.

Cleveland Restoration Society

This organization’s Preservation Services Program involves a range of assistance, including surveys of historic neighborhoods, historic structures reports, acceptance of donated property for resale with preservation covenant, and taking action in municipal housing court under the State of Ohio Housing Receivership statute to stabilize a historic property victimized by foreclosure or other problem. CRS has completed surveys of buildings associated with Cleveland’s African American community and of the city’s transportation corridors, created building assessments for municipalities, managed rehabilitation projects for historical societies, and other services on a fee-for-service basis. Included under Preservation Services is assistance to Greater Cleveland’s many sacred landmarks. CRS staff gives technical assistance in preserving historic religious properties of all faiths and supervising the lighting of steeples through our Steeple Lighting Project.

Find Out More

Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity partners with people in your community, and all over the world, to help them build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage.

Find Out More

Neighborhood Link

This is an information clearinghouse of housing resources in the Cleveland area.

Find Out More

National Center for Healthy Housing

This organization conducts research to find scientifically valid and practical strategies for making homes safe and healthy. Through its education and training programs, NCHH alerts families and those who serve them to hazards in the home environment. NCHH's policy work translates its scientific and technical work into government and nongovernmental standards, programs, and policies.

Find Out More

Department of Building and Housing

The Department of Building and Housing registers building contractors, inspects all new and major rehabilitation construction, and provides nuisance abatement to condemned properties. The Director's office supervises and manages the Code Enforcement, Construction Permitting, and Records Administration Divisions.

Find Out More

Community Development Services

The Department of Community Development is responsible for planning, administering, and evaluating HUD funds. The Department implements programs designed to conserve and expand the housing stock; revitalize commercial areas; acquire, maintain, and market vacant land; improve the quality of human services; and develop small area or neighborhood strategies.

Find Out More

All legal forms & applications in one place.

View Forms

We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience, monitor site performance, and assist in our marketing efforts. By using our website you agree to the use of storing cookies.