Housing & Building | The City of Lakewood, Ohio

Housing & Building

Division of Housing & Building

12650 Detroit Avenue
Lakewood, Ohio  44107
(216) 529-6270
Hours: 8 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday,
Payments accepted until 3 p.m.

New for 2024:

  • The Automobile Business Operator’s License is now open on the CitizenServe Portal.  Please click here to register your business.  The deadline to register is July 1, 2024. Click here to view more information about this license. 
  • The 2024 Ohio Building Code changes will go into effect on March 1, 2024.  Click here to view the 2024 Ohio Building Code. 
  • Legislation has passed requiring the City of Lakewood Building Department to inspect new rental properties prior to the housing license being issued. This addition to LCO 1173.01 will formally be enforced starting 1/1/2024. We do encourage new rental owners to have this completed prior to the 1/1/2024 date. This ordinance is for new rental properties, not properties with current housing licenses. If you are a new owner looking to rent a property, please call (216) 529-6270 and request a Safety and Maintenance inspection on your property.


Submit 24/7 online anytime, can be mailed, emailed, or faxed.

City of Lakewood
Division of Housing & Building
12650 Detroit Ave
Lakewood, OH 44107

24/7 Online: citizenserve.com/lakewoodoh
Email: building.permits@lakewoodoh.gov
Fax: 216-529-5930

CONSTRUCTION PLANS with the correct (commercial or residential) plan review application, if less than 25MB, can be emailed to building.permits@lakewoodoh.gov.
Plans must be flattened and submitted as full sets; individual pages are NOT acceptable.
(Note: All information on the application is REQUIRED.  If your application is not complete, it may be rejected)

Here at the City of Lakewood we prioritize customer satisfaction. The opportunity to switch to online is just one more step to serve you better.

The benefits of switching to online from paper:

If for any reason, you are not able to access a computer, the Building Department offers public computers for your use during business hours.

  • Resources/Code Requirements+-


    State of Ohio Recommended Plan Review Checklists

  • Building Department Staff+-

    Click here to meet the Building Department Staff.

  • Building Permits+-

    The Division of Housing & Building issues permits covering any alterations, repairs or new construction, contractor registration and licensing and housing licenses, as well as permits for peddler and/or solicitor’s licenses. The Division inspects all structures in the City either by mandatory inspection or upon request.

    Click here for to view LCO Chapter 1309 Permit Fees.

    • Beginning January 1, 2021 any new principal structure or addition to a principal structure requires a legal property (boundary) survey.
    • Effective immediately, an owner acknowledgement for property lines form will need to be submitted for garage, fence, and paving (driveway) permits. Click here for the form.  Please fill out and upload this document with your permit application.


    Click here to go to Citizen Serve for your building department needs.

    For more information about submitting your application, please call 216-529-6270.

  • CitizenServe+-

    Apply for Licenses, Registrations and Permits

    The Division of Housing & Building uses the CitizenServe portal to facilitate licenses, registrations and some permits.  If you are new to the portal, you will be asked to create a user ID and password.

    Please click here to be taken to the CitizenServe portal.

  • Climatic and Geographic Design Criteria+-

  • Code Compliance and Point of Sale Inspections+-


    Effective September 1, 2019, certificates of code compliance, formerly known as certificates of occupancy, are required for new and changes of retail tenancies and before the sale of all non-owner-occupied residential rental properties. (L.C.O. §§ 1173.01, 1306.53.) Inspections – sometimes known as point-of-sale inspections – are required before these certificates may be issued. These inspections include the interior of a commercial space and the interior, exterior and yard areas of residential rental properties.  See a sample checklist here

    To request an inspection, click here to go to Citizen Serve to fill out an online form or click here to download and fill in the form.

    Please contact the Division of Housing and Building at building.permits@lakewoodoh.net or (216) 529-6270 to learn how to submit your request and schedule an inspection.

  • Contractor Registration+-

    Are you a contractor looking to get registered?
    Click here to go to our CitizenServe portal.


    Currently Registered Contractors in Lakewood:

    This list is updated monthly by the Division of Housing and Building and includes those contractors currently registered with the City of Lakewood.  It is not an endorsement and offers no consumer protections:

  • Donation Boxes+-

    Click here to read LCO Chapter 721 which explains the regulations for donation boxes permits in the City of Lakewood

    The following are the required documents to apply for a donation box permit:

    1. Site plan showing the location of the box on the property.
    2. Written authorization from the property owner to place the box on their property
    3. A copy of their tax exempt certification.

    The permit fee is $100.00

    Click here to apply for a donation box permit.

  • Food Trucks+-

    Attention: Food Truck Operators:

    Visit citizenserve.com/lakewoodoh to apply for/renew your license.

    All food truck licenses expired on 5/1/24.  Do not send any documentation to the building department, it is the license holder’s responsibility to upload the required documentation. Please provide the following with your application:

    • Current (2023) food service operation license from the Cuyahoga County Board of Health
    • Proof of general liability coverage in the amount of at least $1,000,000 naming the City of Lakewood as additionally insured
    • A third-party inspection completion form certifying the LP connections
    • Written permission from the property owner to operate on the property
    • Provide payment for the application. Businesses inside the city limits pay a $50.00 licensing fee and business outside city limits pay $150.00

    Once the application is reviewed, documentation is verified, and the license is paid for you will get e mail notification to call the Lakewood Fire Department Division of Fire Prevention (216)529-6660 to schedule your inspection.

    Mobile Food Unit Checklist

    Food Truck FAQs



    The food truck legislation is found in Ordinance No. 44-18 and was adopted by City Council on March 5th, 2019. This ordinance is codified in chapter 743, Mobile Food Services Operation.  Click here to view the ordinance.  Click here for the third party inspection form.


    Chapter 743 Mobile Food Service Operation will go into effect on January 1st, 2020. Applications for mobile food service licenses are available on the Department of  Housing and Buildings online portal citizenserve.com/lakewoodoh. Paper applications are not available.


    The Division of Housing and Building’s online portal citizenserve.com/lakewoodoh can be accessed from any device connected to the internet. You can do this from your home, office, or in our office at one of our customer service kiosks. You first need to create a user account at the top right-hand corner of the screen, or in the log in screen (New to our Portal?). Once the account is created select “Apply for Mobile Food Truck License” under my account or home.


    Yes, you do. During the application several fields will have a red hash mark to the left of the requested information.  This is REQUIRED information. During the application process you will be prompted to upload your CURRENT Mobile Food Service Operation License issued by the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, your proof of general liability insurance coverage in amounts of at least $1,000,000 per occurrence as well as naming the City of Lakewood as an additionally insured, AND THE Mobile Food Vending Installation & Pressure Leak Test Certification.


    Upon completion the Division of Housing and Building will be prompted to review the application (approx. 2-3 days).  After confirming that the required documentation has been uploaded the department will approve the application, and you will receive an e mail to pay for the license, and to schedule your inspection with the Lakewood Fire Department. If you have provided misinformation your application will be put on hold and go no further in the


    Existing businesses within the City of Lakewood that have food trucks will pay an annual fee of $50.00. Food trucks coming from outside city limits will pay an annual license fee of $150.00. All Food Truck Licenses expire on May 1st of each year. The licenses are non-transferable, will not be prorated, and cannot be removed and placed on any other Mobile Food Truck.


    After payment is made, it is time to schedule your inspection with the Lakewood Fire Department. Food truck inspections will be conducted by the Lakewood Fire Department at Station #1 14601 Madison Ave. Please call (216) 529-6660 to schedule your inspection and be directed where to enter the fire station property. Hours of inspection are as follows; inspections will occur the first Wednesday of the month from 10am-3pm (BY APPOINTMENT ONLY).  After inspection one of two determinations will happen Pass or Fail. If your vehicle fails, you may re-schedule with the Lakewood Fire Department while on site. When you pass your inspection, you will be provided with a sticker to be applied to the vehicle in a conspicuous area and/or a printed document stating you have passed. Your license will be available to be printed from your Citisenserve account.


    “At any time, the scheduled final inspection appointment for a mobile food vending vehicle may be cancelled or postponed due to the operational requirements of the Lakewood Fire Department. The final inspection appointment will be re-scheduled at the earliest convenience by the Fire Prevention Bureau. All pre-requisite inspections must be completed prior to scheduling the final inspection appointment. The Lakewood Fire Department, and the City of Lakewood will not be held responsible for alterations, modifications, or damage done to the mobile food vending vehicle and its systems after permit issuance.”

  • Housing and Building Department FAQs+-

    Q:        What is the zoning of a particular property?    

    A:        A city zoning map can be referenced by clicking here – OR- contact the City Planning & Development Department (216) 529-6631 or by email at: planning@lakewoodoh.net.

    Q:       Can I operate a business out of my home?  

    A:       Some limited home occupations are permitted with a Conditional Use Permit approved by the Lakewood Planning Commission. See Lakewood Codified Ordinance Chapter 1145 for specific information and restrictions. Please contact the Planning & Development Department at (216) 529-6631 or by e-mail at: planning@lakewoodoh.net if you have any questions. 

    Q:        My neighbor’s tree is hanging over/damaging my property. What can I (you) do about it?  

     A:        Full information about Trees in Lakewood may be found by clicking here.  Generally, tree limbs hanging over onto your property may be trimmed up to the property line. Disputes about trees that are located directly on the property line are a civil matter between property owners. For more severe circumstances or questions please contact the Streets & Forestry Division by e-mail at: streets@lakewoodoh.net

     Q:        Can you recommend a contractor?  

    A:        The city is prohibited from steering people to any specific contractors. However contractors are supposed to register annually with the city and have proof of insurance. The list of contractors who have registered with the city may be found by clicking here. It is still recommended that references be obtained from all contractors prior to agreeing to have any work performed. 

    Q:        How do I register to do work in the City?    

    A:        Registration is required every calendar year. Click here for Contractor Registration Packet including an application and instructions.

    Q:        What smoke detectors or carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are acceptable to the City?  

    A:        Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors which are not wired directly to the building’s power supply must be operated in a plug-in outlet which is fitted with a plug-restraining device, provided the outlet is not controlled by any switch other than the main power supply. Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors with a digital read out are preferred. Single use, battery-powered carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are not acceptable.

    Lakewood Code requires tamper resistant smoke detectors in all rental units.  As for placement of detectors it is recommended to have one in the living room away from the kitchen, one in the hall between the bedrooms and one in each sleeping room.  As for the type of detector many people believe in the photo electric, however it is recommend that you purchase the type of detector with a ten (10) year battery.  Experience in Lakewood has been that most injuries and deaths occurred when the battery was removed from the detector and not replaced.

    Q:        Do I need a permit/inspection for the City sidewalk in front of my house repaired/replaced?  

    A:        Any work that is located in the public right of way (city sidewalks, street aprons, tree lawns, in the street, etc) requires permits and inspections from the Building Department. Please call (216) 529-6272 with any questions.

    Q:       Why do I need a dye test before connecting to the City sewer(s)?    

    A:        Because of the age and limited capacity of the city’s sanitary sewer system, the City of Lakewood by code requires the elimination of storm water from entering the sanitary sewer system. A dye test verifies that storm water is not being directed into that system. Click here for more information and FAQs about Dye Tests.   This procedure is intended to incrementally detect and eliminate this primary cause of overflows of the sanitary system which pollute our waterways. It also is intended as a proactive approach to prevent a United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) finding against the City of Lakewood which would likely require the construction of massive water storage tunnels similar to the Mill Creek and Euclid Creek Interceptors that the North East Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) has been forced to build at a cost of several billion dollars paid for through higher sewer rates. 

    Q:        Where can I report problems with mold, asbestos, lead etc.?  

    A:        Mold: Areas where mold has grown should be thoroughly dried and cleaned. The moisture source must be eliminated in order to eliminate the occurrence or reoccurrence of the mold problem.

    Asbestos: A permit is required for the containment, removal and disposal of asbestos. The City of Cleveland Department of Health Division of Air Quality is the enforcement agency on behalf the Ohio EPA. See the attached link: https://clevelandhealth.org/programs/air/about/

    Lead: All contractors are now required to have lead abatement training. For questions call Cuyahoga County Board of Health at (216) 201-2001 x 1262

    Q:        With last night’s storm, I got water in my basement. Where can I report it/get help?    

    A:       You may report this problem to the City Water Department (216) 529-5941. A representative will evaluate the issue to determine the best course of action. To prevent such occurrences, it is recommended that as part of routine maintenance of your property that your storm and sanitary sewers be cleaned from the street to the building periodically. Click here for a list of registered contractors that do sewer work.  In addition, dye tests can also uncover issues in your sewers and water lines. Click here for more information and FAQs about Dye Tests.

    Q:        How can I find Lakewood housing that accepts Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) tenants?    

    A:         Visit the CMHA website by clicking here.

    Q:        How can I dispute my high real estate taxes?    

    A:        Property values can be disputed through the Cuyahoga County Board of Revision at the attached link: http://bor.cuyahogacounty.us/. Disputes or errors in tax bills should be directed to the Cuyahoga County Fiscal Office at the attached link: http://treasurer.cuyahogacounty.us/en-US/real-estate-taxes.aspx

    Q:       How can I find out who owns the absentee landlord property next to me?

     A:       See the attached link for the Cuyahoga County Auditor’s Office: https://fiscalofficer.cuyahogacounty.us/en-US/REPI.aspx .  You will only need the address of the property to search for the owner’s information.

    Q:        How can I obtain a vendor’s license?  

    A:        Contact the Cuyahoga County Fiscal Office at the following link: http://fiscalofficer.cuyahogacounty.us/en-US/vendors-license.aspx

    Q:        What is the number you should call before you dig to avoid hitting underground utility lines?  

     A:        The “Before You Dig #” is “811”. You may also dial (1-800) 362-2764 or see the following link at: https://www.oups.org/

     Q:        My neighbor has not cut his grass (or shoveled his walks). Who can help me?  

     A:       You may use “Report a Problem” feature on  the website by clicking here.   You may also contact the Division of Housing and Building by e-mail at: housing.building@lakewoodoh.net or call (216) 529-6970.

    Q:        My water pressure is low. How do I report this?  

     A:        Please contact the Division of Water and Wastewater Collection by phone at (216) 529-6820 or by e-mail at: water@lakewoodoh.net.

    Q:        My mother is elderly. Can someone with the City help with snow removal/grass cutting?  

    A:        The Lakewood Department of Human Services does have a Snow Removal Program for seniors. Please contact the Division of Aging at (216) 521-1515 for more information. You can also refer to the following link for registered contractors that perform such services: http://www.lakewoodoh.gov/apply-register/registered-contractors/

    Q:       My landlord is not responding to my complaints? What can I do?  

     A:        Disputes over lease obligations are civil matters strictly between tenants and landlords. Contact the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland’s Tenant Information Line at (216) 861-5955 or go to: https://lasclev.org/get-help/housing/ for additional information.

    Q:        How can I put my rent in escrow until my landlord fulfills his obligations?  

    A:        Chapter 5321 of the Ohio Revised Code specifies the procedure to place money into escrow. See the following link: http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/5321 The Cleveland Tenants Organization may be able to assist you, also. See the attached link: http://www.clevelandtenants.org/. The Lakewood Municipal Court may also provide assistance. Call (216) 529-6700 or an application for Rent Escrow may be found at the following link: http://www.lakewoodcourtoh.com/courtforms.html

    Q:       Do you have to be registered to go door-to-door in Lakewood selling goods or services?

    A:        Yes an individual needs to register with the Building Department in accordance with Lakewood Codified Ordinance Chapter 741 – Peddlers, Vendors and Solicitors. The permit is issued to the individual NOT the organization. Each individual from an organization that will be knocking on doors must register as there is a criminal background check done before a permit is issued. NOTE: Non-profits (e.g. Girl Scouts, school programs) and Canvassers (e.g. politicians) are exempt from the need to obtain a permit 

     Q:       What do I do if a solicitor that comes to my door is aggressive in their sales to the point it is inappropriate and intimidating or is asking for my personal information or copies of my utility bills?

     A:        First of all, if you are concerned for your safety, you should never hesitate telling the individual to leave and that you are calling the police.    Second, you should always ask for identification from the individual first. Write their name down and the organization they are representing. Do not give them any personal information or copies of any of your invoices or bills. Ask them to provide you with information on their organization so that you can check it out and follow up with them if you are interested. Third, if the caller is from a utility company (i.e. gas or electric) and you have a complaint about the interaction please call the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), the oversight organization for organizations providing utility services in Ohio to report your complaint:

    PUCO – Customer Complaints – (1-800) 686-7826.

    Q:       Is there a way I can prevent solicitors from knocking on my door?

     A:        Yes, the City of Lakewood has a “Do Not Knock Registry”. You may sign up for the “Do Not Knock Registry” by clicking here.   You must renew your registration each year. If you receive solicitors and you have signed up for the Do Not Knock Registry you may report it to the Law Department at: law@lakewoodoh.net and be sure to include your Name, Address, Name of the Individual that came to the door and the name of the organization they represented. If however the solicitor was representing a utility company, report it to the PUCO at: (1-800) 686-7826.

  • Register for your housing license+-


    Click here to go to our CitizenServe portal to apply for your housing license.

    Other important Details about the Lakewood Housing License Application

    • Non-owner Occupied Condominium: The fee for non-owner occupied condominium units is now $45.00 per unit.
    • Owner Occupied Condominiums & Condominium Buildings: There is no longer a fee for owner occupied condominium units or for condominium buildings.
    • Late Fees: Owners not securing a Housing license by November 1 will be assessed a late fee of twenty-five ($25.00) per unit.
    • Housing License fees are not pro-rated.
    • The Housing License Portal for the upcoming year opens August 1. 
    • Housing License fees are:
    Non-owner-occupied condominium units: $45.00 per unit
    Rooming house containing two or more tenants: $60.00 per unit
    Non-owner occupied one-or-two family structures: $75.00 per unit
    Three-family dwellings: $60.00 per non-owner occupied unit
    All other non-owner occupied structures: $45.00 per dwelling unit
    Multi-family buildings single license: $3,500.00 per building
    Vacant Property License: $200.00 per building


    We encourage you to reach out to our department at (216) 529-6270 or housing.building@lakewoodoh.gov if we can help answer any questions about the housing license application process moving forward.

    Thank you for your continued commitment to and investment in the Lakewood community

    Click here to go to our CitizenServe portal to apply for your housing license.

    Rental Property List

    Click here to fill out the Non-Renewal of Housing License Form.

  • Inspecting, preventing, assisting+-

    The Division of Housing and Building provides code enforcement and plan examination services. Here’s a list of all work that would require an inspection. For a closer look at the city’s building and housing code, click here. Also, here’s the link to the Ohio Building Code and the link to the national electric code.  The city conducts annual inspections on rental property, permit inspections, complaint inspections, and prior to sale inspections (see a sample checklist here).  The Division issues permits on new construction, repairs, and alterations.  The Division maintains a registry of contractors able to work in the City.  It also accepts applications for the Board of Zoning Appeals, Board of Building Standards, Architectural Board of Review, and the Planning Commission. To apply or register with the building department, click here. For more information, call (216) 529-6270 or send an email to housing.building@lakewoodoh.net.

    The building and housing department is open from 8 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, with payments accepted until 3 p.m.

  • Landlords+-

    Requirements for obtaining a housing or vacant property license may be found in Sections 1306.43 to 1306.491.  The city is offering the following resources to assist landlords in Lakewood.

    • Best Rental Practices: A Manual for Lakewood Landlords
      The City has provided a guideline for landlords to help with various issues including applicant screening, rental agreements, crisis resolution, working with our building and housing officials and other problems facing landlords.
    • A Friendly Lakewood Landlord Quiz
      Take a short quiz to test your knowledge as a landlord!
      How to be a GREAT Landlord in the City of Lakewood
      Here’s a brief list of the steps you must take to become a well-informed and effective landlord within the City of Lakewood.
    • Landlord Training Seminar Video
      Take a look at the most recent Landlord Training Seminar video.
  • High grass & weeds+-

    Every property owner in the City is responsible for keeping their lawns mowed and free from weeds. Grass or weeds six inches or higher are in violation of Chapter 1775 of the Lakewood Codified Ordinances and are subject to citation. If the property owner, occupant or management does not remove high grass and weeds after receiving a citation, the City of Lakewood may remove them at a cost of $100/hour. If you would like to report a property with high grass and/or weeds, please use the Report Problem/Concern form.

  • New Business Packet+-

    Click here for the new business packet.

  • Paving+-

    Here’s information about the requirements for paving in Lakewood.

    Paving Requirements – Commercial Asphalt-Concrete
    Paving Requirements – Residential Asphalt-Concrete

  • Registered Contractors+-

    Click here for a list of contractors that are registered with the City of Lakewood.

  • 2021 Residential Housing Survey Map+-

    The Division of Housing & Building recently completed the 2021 Residential Housing Survey.  This survey, conducted every three years, evaluates every residential housing dwelling of a one, two, or three family structure.  Ratings are based on code violations.

    The city uses a 1 to 4 rating scale.

    A rating of 1 (green) means no visibile exterior code violations.

    A rating of 2 (blue) means the property  is beginning to show minimal wear and minor maintenance code violations.

    A rating of 3 (yellow) means maintenance code violations are readily apparent with multiple minor codes or a few major violations.

    A rating of 4 (red) means the the property has obvious maintenance violations.

    Click here to view the 2021 Residential Housing Survey Map.