What is the Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance?
The Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance (RRIO), was established by the Seattle City Council to ensure that all rental housing in Seattle is safe and meets basic housing maintenance requirements. Beginning in 2014, all rental property owners in Seattle must register their properties with the City. At least once every ten years, inspectors will make sure all registered properties comply with minimum housing and safety standards established by the City of Seattle.
The entire Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance can be found in the City of Seattle’s Municipal Code 22.214 (SMC 22.214).
What are the deadlines for registering?
- If the property has 10 or more units, it must be registered by July 1, 2014.
- If the property has 5-9 units, it must be registered by March 31, 2015.
- If the property has 1-4 units (single-family, duplex, triplex, and fourplex properties), must be registered by December 31, 2016. The City of Seattle has assigned the registration deadlines by zipcode. The deadlines can be found at the City of Seattle website.
An owner who missed the above deadlines can still register, but will have to pay late fees and penalties. See SMC 22.214.040.
How often must an owner register the property?
The City of Seattle charges a registration fee based on the number of units in the property. Registration must be renewed every five years. SMC 22.214.040(C). The registration must be posted in a prominent location on the property or deliver a copy to each tenant.
If a person or entity purchases property subject to the ordinance, the new owner must pay a registration transfer fee and update the current registration within 60 days of purchasing the property. SMC 22.214.040(F). This provision includes the situation when an owner entity changes at least 50% of its ownership. SMC 22.214.040(F).
When will inspections occur?
Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development will randomly select registered properties for inspection. SMC 22.214.050(A). The goal is to inspect at least ten percent of all registered properties each year. SMC 22.214.050(A). Inspections will occur at least once every ten years. SMC 22.214.050(B).
What will happen during an inspection?
An owner must hire a private inspector qualified by the city or use a city inspector. SMC 22.214.050(C). There is a separate fee for the inspection; the registration fees will not cover the inspection. Units will be inspected at random and in response to complaints. SMC 22.214.050. If violations are found, then additional units will be selected for inspection. SMC 22.214.050(C).
Once a property passes inspection, a certificate of compliance will be issued by a qualified rental housing inspector or by a city inspector, based upon the inspector’s physical inspection. SMC 22.214.050(E).
To find out more about the City of Seattle Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance and how it impacts you, contact Dimension Law Group today.
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