Escrow Requirements

Beginning in November 2001, an addendum to the City's existing housing ordinance regarding Point-of-Sale matters established an escrow requirement for major housing violations. Well-maintained homes with only minor violations will not require escrow. The following types of violations, which are considered to be Class 'A' violations and are designated as such on the Point-of-Sale Inspection reports, are of particular concern to the City's vital interest in maintaining property values:

  •     Exterior:
    • Concrete replacement or major repair
    • Dead tree removal
    • Downspouts to storm sewers
    • Fences
    • Major porch and step repair
    • Paint and all related carpentry repairs (house and garage)        
    • Replacement of deteriorated windows and/or doors
    • Roof, chimney
  •     Interior:    
    • Foundation - support post, block wall bowed or collapsed
    • Heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) 
    • Major breach of ceilings, walls or floors
    • Major plumbing repair (replacement of stacks, fixtures, supply lines, etc.)
    • Major electrical repair (panel replacement, rewire of basement, etc.) 

If major Class A violations noted on a Point-of-Sale Inspection are not corrected prior to the transfer of title, an escrow account must be established and funds must be deposited to pay to correct the violations.  

Dollar Amount Determined

The dollar amount will be determined by Inspectional Services staff, based on the average price of repairs, multiplied by 125% for an average-sized Cleveland Heights home. Your actual cost may be more or less than the required amount. For example, the cost of a new roof for an average Cleveland Heights home is estimated to be $5,000. The escrow requirement, which is 125% of that cost, would be $6,250. The escrow requirement to paint a single-family home would be $5,625.

Copy of Agreement

Property owners have the option of presenting the Inspectional Service office with a copy of the agreement made with their licensed contractor, signed by the prospective buyer for review by the Housing Programs Manager. The City may accept the contract estimate as the escrow requirement. The contractor must be registered and bonded by the City. Visit the Registered Contractors page for more information. In lieu of funds in escrow, a 203K, FNMA or other rehab loan may be accepted after review by the Housing Programs Manager if the loan addresses all the Class A violations.

Dispersal of Funds

Funds held in escrow will be disbursed only upon written authorization from the City. The City may authorize partial release if it is determined substantial progress has been made in correcting the violations, and that sufficient funds remain in escrow to correct the remaining violations. For more information concerning the escrow requirement, please call  216-291-5909 or email.

Steps To Ensure A Speedy Transfer

In order for your property to transfer title, you must submit the following to the division of Inspectional Services:

  1. A copy of the Acknowledgement Form (PDF) signed by the buyer of the property
  2. Title company information, including the full name of the title company and the escrow officer, the address of the title company, the    phone number and fax number
  3. A letter from the title company stating they are holding the required dollar amount in an escrow account (if required).

Following receipt of this information, Inspectional Services will send a letter to the title company releasing your property for transfer.  This information is required on ALL property (residential or commercial) transferred in the City of Cleveland Heights regardless of whether the property is in compliance or there is escrow required.

If the property is not released for transfer by Inspectional Services, a summons to court may be issued.