City of Detroit Property Maintenance Code

Amendment to Require Lead Clearance on Rental Property


  1. What does this amendment require?
    This amendment to the Detroit City Code Chapter 9, Article 1, Division 3 requires the following:
  • Owners of rental property built before 1978 in the City of Detroit must have a lead inspection and risk assessment performed to determine the presence of lead based paint and lead based paint hazards
  • If lead based paint hazards exist, the hazards must  be reduced or controlled using interim controls and/or abatement (as defined by State Law) prior to a tenant occupying the rental property
  • After Interim Controls and/or Abatement are performed by the property certified and trained individuals, the owner must obtain a clearance examination and lead clearance.  Owners must obtain this lead clearance in order to receive a Certificate of Compliance from the City.  A Certificate of Compliance is required for occupancy.
  • What will happen if landlord doesn’t meet the requirement of this ordinance?

In order for a property to be occupied in the City of Detroit, a Certificate of Compliance must be obtained. In order to have a rental property in the City of Detroit, the property must have a Certificate of Rental Registration. Neither of these certificates can be obtained without a Lead Clearance.

  1. Under current law, are landlords responsible for lead hazards in their properties?

Yes. Several laws hold landlords responsible for lead hazards in rental properties.

  • It is a criminal offense in Michigan to rent a residential housing unit to a family with a minor child who is found to have an elevated blood lead level where the property owner or manager has knowledge that the rental unit contains a lead-based paint hazard. (MCL 333.5475a.) Penalties include up to 93 days in jail and/or fines up to $5,000.00 for first-time offenders.  Fines increase to $10,000.00 for subsequent offenders.
  • It is also a violation of the Detroit City Codeto maintain a rental property with lead hazards.  Section 24-10-25 of the code provides that it is unlawful for any owner to maintain a dwelling unit in a condition where lead hazards present a danger of lead poisoning to children who inhabit the dwelling. Penalties include fines of up to $500 per day for each day the violation continues.
  • Federal lawrequires landlords to disclose all known lead hazards to tenants at the time of lease or lease renewal.  This disclosure must occur even if the hazards have been reduced or abated.  Failure to disclose this information results in a violation of US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations at 24 CFR Part 35 and 40 CFR Part 745 and can result in a fine of up to $11,000 per violation.
  1. What is the difference between the proposed law and the existing laws?  What is the purpose of creating an additional law?

Under current law, rental properties that contain lead hazards are not identified until after a child has already been lead poisoned.  The effects of lead poisoning and not reversible and last a lifetime.  Under the new law, lead hazards will be fixed before children are exposed, thus preventing the harmful effects of lead poisoning and improving the housing stock in Detroit.

  1. What are the penalties for non-compliance?

Fines are based on size of unit:

*These fines are in addition to the current fines for renting without a Certificate of Compliance.  Furthermore, all landlords may be held responsible for lead in their rental properties under local, state, and federal laws.

Size of Unit 1st Offense 2nd Offense 3rd Offense Past 3rd Offense
One & Two Family Units  $500 $1000 $2000 $2000
All Other Structures except those with 5 stories or more  $1000 $2000 $4000 $4000
Building with 5 stories or more $2000 $4000 $8000 $8000


  1. How often can penalties be assessed? 

Penalties can be assessed daily until compliance is achieved.

  1. When does this ordinance take effect?

For those seeking a new Certificate of Rental Registration on a property, this ordinance goes into effect on January 1, 2010. For all others, on the first date which you renew your Certificate of Rental Registration that falls after January 1, 2010.

  1. Who will regulate this ordinance?

City of Detroit Buildings and Safety Engineering Department (313) 224-2733

  1. How often must properties obtain a risk assessment and clearance?

If Interim Controls are used, a new risk assessment and clearance must be obtained annually in order to receive a Certificate of Compliance. If abatement occurs, they must be obtained every three years.  If no lead based paint is found in the initial inspection or all lead based paint is fully abated, then no further lead inspections or risk assessments are required.

  1. Who can perform the Lead Inspection and Risk Assessment and Lead Clearance?

These services must be performed by a Lead Inspector/Risk Assessor certified by the State of Michigan, Michigan Department of Community Health. You can find a complete listing of certified and licensed Lead Inspector/Risk Assessors at

  1. What is the difference between Interim Controls and Abatement?

Interim controls means a set of measures designed to temporarily reduce human exposure or likely exposure to lead-based paint hazards including, but not limited to, specialized cleaning, repairs, maintenance, painting, temporary containment, ongoing monitoring of lead-based paint hazards or potential hazards, and the establishment and operation of management and resident education programs.

Abatement includes all of the following:

  • The removal of lead-based paint hazards and dust lead hazards, the permanent enclosure or encapsulation of lead-based paint, the replacement of lead-painted surfaces or fixtures, and all preparation, cleanup, disposal, and post-abatement clearance testing activities associated with such measures. All abatement work must be performed by a state certified lead abatement firm.
  • A project resulting in the permanent elimination of lead-based paint hazards, conducted by a person certified pursuant to the Michigan Lead Abatement Act, being MCL 333.5451 et seq, except a project that is otherwise exempt from this act.
  1. Who can perform Interim Controls or Abatement?
  • Interim Controls must be performed by a certified renovator.  Certified renovators are required to have completed a Renovator Training Program accredited by the State of Michigan Department of Community Health.
  • Abatements must be performed by a Certified Abatement Worker.  Certified Abatement workers are required to have completed an accredited training program and be certified by the Michigan Department of Community Health to perform abatement.