Avondale Property Enhancement Program

Example: 560 Hale

Avondale Property Enhancement Program Guidelines

The Avondale Property Enhancement Program (APEP) is designed to improve community sustainability by addressing residential properties that are in disrepair.  The APEP exists to provide financial assistance to residential homeowners to make essential repairs when they lack sufficient resources, giving priority to those properties identified through the City of Cincinnati’s Neighborhood Enhancement Program (NEP).  Through APEP, homeowners may receive a financial grant-rebate to assist with exterior repair to their home.

A homeowner may be eligible for assistance under the APEP, if the following conditions are met:

The home

  1. Is a detached single or detached two-family dwelling units

  2. Is located within Avondale NEP area (see attached map)

The applicant

  1. Owns and occupies the property as his/her principal residence on a year-round basis,

  2. Provides documentation confirming that all payments for City-provided utilities are current for the property,

  3. Certifies they will not market, sell, or lease the residence for at least one year after completion of work funded by APEP,

  4. Completes and submits an APEP application provided by the Avondale Development Corporation (ADC).

  5. Copy of valid Government Identification, i.e. State Identification, State Issued Driver’s License, or Passport

In reviewing APEP applications, ADC reserves the right to give priority to the following groups (no order implied):

  1. Homeowners who have received written citations from the city.

  2. Homeowners that live within Neighborhood Enhancement Program (NEP) area.

Eligible Projects
Eligible projects are limited to the exterior of the residential dwelling.  Eligible repairs should achieve one or more of the following objectives:

  1. Bring the dwelling into compliance with the City’s residential housing/building standards,

  2. Protect the health and safety of the residents and/or neighborhood,

  3. Improve the aesthetics of the property,

  4. Improve the energy efficiency of the residence.

Examples of eligible repair include:

  • Accessibility Modifications (wheelchair ramps, handles, walkway railings, etc.)

  • Concrete and driveway repair or replacement

  • General repair projects (siding, fascia, trim replacement)

  • Fencing replacement

  • Exterior door replacement, locks, and door hardware

Exterior housing painting

  • Foundation repair

  • Gutter installation and drainage repairs

  • Residential structures demolition (accessory structures included, e.g. sheds, carports, patios, pergolas, etc.)

  • Roofing repair or replacement

  • Tree trimming, removal, and replacement

  • Walkway repair or replacement

  • Weatherization (building envelope insulation and ventilation, exterior caulking, etc.)

  • Window repairs and replacement

Ineligible Projects
Although the APEP is designed to respond to a wide variety of problems, there are limits as to what it can address.

It is primarily a rehabilitation program.  Often, the most recent item, system, or structure to fail in a home may prompt the homeowner to seek assistance from the APEP, while many other items are also in need of immediate repair.  The APEP is designed to respond to the most urgent need of a home’s exterior that, if left unrepaired, would lead to further deterioration or to the house becoming unlivable.  Staff may provide guidance to homeowners on a logical priority for repairs, and the City may identify repairs that take precedence.

It is not assistance for home sellers.  The homeowner must certify they will own and occupy the home for at least one year after completion of the work funded by the APEP.  The funds are not intended to assist in selling the property.

It is not a remodeling service.  To extend assistance to as many households as possible, items must be determined to be in disrepair or decay.  Solely cosmetic repairs are not eligible for assistance.

Unsafe or Substandard Structures.  Unsafe or substandard structures that cannot be made safe for habitation with the matching funds under this program are only eligible for demolition.  The City will provide notice of the hazards, and the reason(s) assistance is limited to demolition only.

Driveway Expansions, Accessory Structures, etc.  Driveway expansions (except as an accessibility modification), sidewalks expansions, or repairs to an accessory structure (examples include pergolas, patios, gazebos, storage sheds, carports, unpermitted garage conversions, etc.) are not eligible for funding through the APEP.

Regulation of Work
The Avondale Property Enhancement Program is not retroactive for completed projects – applicants must submit a completed application before a project begins, and before a construction contract is signed by the applicant.  ADC will not accept applications for repairs that have already been purchased began construction, or that are completed.  ADC will have vetted and bonded contractors bid on the work.  

All work performed must meet the following requirements and failure to do so may affect reimbursement:

Lead-Based Paint
The use of lead-based paint materials on any surface, interior or exterior, is prohibited.  Contractor shall comply with the provisions of 29 CFR Part 1926 (OHSA), governing the protection of worker disturbing lead paint surfaces.  The contractor shall comply with any state or local laws or regulations governing environmental hazards and their remediation.

Insurance Requirements for Contractors
Contractors performing work on APEP-funded projects must:

  1. Provide proof of General Liability Insurance (ACORD),

  2. Register as a general contractor with the City’s Building Inspections Department,

  3. Provide minimum one year written warranty for the completed work.

The Contractor and all subcontractors will be responsible for obtaining and paying for all permits and licenses, as may be required by the City of Cincinnati, Hamilton County, State of Ohio and all other applicable regulatory agencies necessary for the completion and execution of the work and labor to be performed.

Funding Assistance Levels
Eligible applicants and projects may be approved for up to a fifty-percent (50%) matching grant, which will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Once the project is completed and the payment is disbursed, no additional assistance may be requested.  APEP Grants are awarded on a First come First serve basis and applicants may apply for and receive an APEP grant once.  A minimum grant amount of $250 may be requested and maximum is $5000. 

Match amounts based on income and homeowner’s ability to pay and required/needed repairs.

The City does not discriminate in housing or services, directly or indirectly, based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, familial status, or disability.

How to Apply for Assistance
Avondale residents can apply for the APEP by filling out an application and scheduling an inspection of the property with ADC staff.  Further information on the program can be obtained by calling ADC at (513) 861-2232, or by downloading the application here

Sequence of Events
The following is an outline of the normal sequences of events for a APEP application.

Step 1 – Application:  Gather documents and complete the APEP Grant Application.
The applicant is required to furnish the following documentation to verify eligibility:

1)    Avondale Residency Verification:  Copy of a valid government issued photo identification supporting that the applicant lives in and owns the property.

Income Verification:  If the applicant intends to apply for the higher match amount for low-to-moderate income homeowners, the following documentation shall be required:

1)    The most recent tax filings for each legal homeowner.
2)    In lieu of submission of a tax return, an applicant may submit all documentation certifying their annual income, including social security statements, pension statements, three months of checking and savings statements, income from child support, alimony, etc.   For clarification and submission requirements, please contact ADC.

Step 2 – Initial Inspection of Property.
Interested applicants that have filled out an application and gathered the necessary documentation should contact ADC for a mandatory on-site project conference.  At the conference, ADC staff will conduct an inspection of the property, and take photographs of the pertinent work areas.

ADC staff and the applicant may execute an amendment to the submitted scope of work if issues are encountered on the project after construction begins.  For additional information, see the “Amendments to Scope of Work” section, below.

Step 3 – Application Review.
ADC will review the application and determine if the project meets program guidelines.  If the application is not sufficient, ADC staff will coordinate with the applicant to collect the necessary documentation.

Step 4 – Commence Work.
If the project is approved by ADC and CCHMC, the applicant will be notified of the grant award, and matching funds will be reserved.  ADC makes no financial commitment to applicants until an application is accepted and a Commencement of Work (CoW) is issued; the CoW is valid for 180 days.  All required permits, if any, for the project must be acquired from Building Inspection prior to beginning construction.  The homeowner will receive a letter or email from ADC authorizing the commencement of work on the project.

Step 5 – Project Closeout.
Within 180 days of the date of the commencement of work letter, all work listed in the scope of work must be completed, and all necessary paperwork submitted by the applicant.  Under extenuating circumstances, applicants may request extension to their CoW.  Requests for an extension must be submitted by email or mailed 7-days prior to the CoW expiration, accompanied by a detailed explanation of the reason for the delay.  The Contractor/Homeowner must demonstrate that the cause of the delay is out of their control, along with a calendar estimate detailing substantial progress toward project completion.   Thirty (30) day extensions will be granted at the sole discretion of the ADC Program Administrator.  APEP participants forfeit their incentive reservation once the CoW has expired.  Once the site, and ensure repairs were completed according to the scope of work.  Staff will document the work completed with “after” photographs of the work site.

Amendment to the Scope of Work.
The ADC Program Administrator may authorize an amendment to the scope of work in cases where there is a danger to life, health, and/or safety.  The Program Administrator must approve any amendment to the scope of work prior to the commencement of said work, even if the cost of the project will not change.

  1. A documented and specific hardship exists; and

  2. The amendment will further the goals, purposes and effectiveness of the APEP.

In the case of an emergency, the Program Administrator or his/her designee may verbally authorize an amendment in the field.  It is understood that a written and fully executed amendment to the scope of work will be processed on the next working day after the emergency approval was granted.

The APEP is subject to the availability of funds.  Applicants are subject to all guideline changes.  These guidelines are subject to change without notice.

Appendix B – Specific Requirements by Project Type
The below requirements are minimum standards enforced by ADC and CCHMC; these minimum requirements are meant to serve as a guide to homeowners and contractors to perform work that meets or exceeds the goals of the Avondale Property Enhancement Program.  ADC reserves the right to impose additional requirements on specific projects when the unique variables inherent to the individual property or scope of work merit additional requirements.  For clarification on specific projects, please contact ADC at (513) 861-2232.

1)    Concrete Driveway/Sidewalk Replacement
a)    A design schematic or drawing must be submitted, showing the materials, design, dimensions, and placement of the driveway/sidewalk on the property.
b)    A flatwork/driveway permit is required from Building Inspections.

2)    Demolition of Residential Structures Minimum Requirements
a)    Residential properties that have been designated substandard by a City Building Inspector, Building Official, or City Council are eligible for an APEP Grant for demolition only.
b)    Applicants must submit a future-use plan to ADC, detailing the intended usage of the property after demolition.
c)    Applicants must agree to a pre-demolition inspection and audit of property and contents.  All hazardous household materials, chemicals, and waste products must be removed and delivered to an appropriate recycling facility prior to demolition – an invoice of proper hazardous waste disposal must be provided.
d)    All structures must be demolished, including fencing sheds, pools, decking, flatwork, etc.  No household items, trash, trashcans, debris, wood, concrete, or other artificial materials may be left on the property.
e)    Demolition activities must make every effort to restrict damage to trees and other plants located on-site.
f)    Biodegradable (Non-Plastic) erosion control fabric must be applied to bare soil; Secure the fabric to the soil with metal or wooden staples placing them every 3 to 5 feet down the vertical length of the fabric.  Additionally, stagger staples horizontally, spacing them 18 to 24 inches apart.  Fabric must be buried 3” – 6” at terminating ends.

3)    Foundation Repair Minimum Requirements
a)    Applicant must submit a Schedule B Foundation Inspection Report from a licensed Structural Engineer with their grant application.
b)    The Schedule B Foundation Inspection Report must have been completed within the previous six months.  The cost of this inspection is not eligible for reimbursement through the APEP Grant.
c)    Only foundations with vertical movement equal to or greater than three inches (3”) are eligible for assistance.
d)    Foundation repair estimates must include exterior mortar repair of masonry (if applicable).
e)    A foundation repair permit must be obtained from Building Inspections.

4)    Retaining Wall Replacement Minimum Requirements
a)    Retaining walls must be adjacent to or parallel to a public thoroughfare street, alley, and/or sidewalk.
b)    Retaining walls must be in disrepair or in decline/decay.
c)    Replacement retaining walls may be constructed from masonry, concrete, stone, landscape blocks, bricks, stone gabion, or other approved materials – wooden rail ties posts, or other organic materials are not eligible.
d)    Homeowner/Contractors must submit a design detail/schematic drawing showing wall dimensions, materials, and location.  A property survey showing the location of the wall must also be submitted.

5)    Roofing Repair/Replacement Minimum Requirements
a)    Only one layer of shingles may be installed.
b)    A minimum 5-year warranty on roofing materials is required.
c)    A roofing permit must be obtained from Building Inspections.

6)    Window Replacement Minimum Requirements
a)    Windows must have a U-Factor of 0.29 or less AND a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) of 0.22 or less.
b)    Windows must be installed in a conditioned area.
c)    A window permit is required from Building Inspections.
d)    A lead inspection from an EPA Certified Inspector is required if the home was built during or before 1978; this inspection and/or clearance testing may be included in the project budget.
e)    An EPA Lead Certified Contractor may be required to perform the replacement, depending on the Lead Inspection results.