Thursday, February 19, 2015

Seattle Rental Inspection Program

The Seattle Rental Inspection Program is now underway, and affects all rental properties located within the City of Seattle. Here is some information about it from the City of Seattle website:
What Is It?
The Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance (RRIO) helps ensure that all rental housing in Seattle is safe and meets basic housing maintenance requirements. The program will educate property owners, managers, and renters about City housing codes and their responsibilities; and require owners to verify their properties meet these standards when registering with the City.
  • The Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance requires landlords to register all rental housing units in Seattle, from single-family houses to large apartment buildings.
  • Exceptions to the registration requirement include commercial lodging, state-licensed facilities such as adult family homes, and housing owned by government groups or by housing authorities such as Seattle Housing Authority. See the ordinance for more detail.
  • Landlords must register their properties according to the following schedule:
    • All properties with 10 or more units should have registered by September 30, 2014. If you own one of these properties and have not yet registered, you will be assessed a $20 late fee and you may be subject to additional penalties and fees.
    • All properties with 5 to 9 rental housing units must be registered by March 31, 2015.
    • All properties with 1 to 4 rental housing units will be registered from 2015 to 2016. We will base specific deadlines for these properties on the ZIP code where the property is located.
  • Registrations must be renewed every 5 years.
  • The ordinance requires that all registered rental properties be inspected at least once every 10 years.
  • The owner must hire a qualified rental housing inspector or City inspector to do the inspections.
  • Rental properties with prior enforcement action will be inspected early in the program. See the ordinance for more detail.
This ordinance does not cover complaint-based enforcement of City housing standards. We will continue our complaint-based process for housing code violations. Our City housing and zoning inspectors will continue to enforce all housing code standards and other applicable codes.

As an investor, I would be watching this closely, as I believe it has several implications for rental properties, owners and investors in the Seattle market. What do you, my readers, think?
 Tomorrow I will post some of my thoughts on the implications of this program for real estate investors in Seattle.
 Happy Investing!

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