As many renters can attest, conditions in rental units can vary widely among properties, and getting repairs done can sometimes turn into a lengthy process, depending on the responsiveness of your landlord. The City of Seattle’s recently instituted Rental Registration & Inspection Ordinance is aiming to alleviate some of the worst conditions in rental properties in the city, after learning through the 2009 American Housing Survey that 10 percent of rental housing in the Seattle area has “moderate to severe” physical problems.
The ordinance will require all rental property owners to register their properties and hire either a City or private inspector to ensure their property is meeting minimum standards in areas such as smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, making sure broken or leaking windows, walls, and roofs are repaired, and making sure each unit does not have insects or rodents. The city has begun accepting registrations for properties, and registration will continue through 2016. Properties will be inspected at least once every 10 years thereafter.
According to The Seattle Times, owners are not required to register some types of rental properties, including units owned or managed by the government or a housing authority; housing associated with nursing homes and hospitals; transitional housing; housing associated with a religious order; or short term rentals such as vacation rentals and hotel rooms. The city is hoping this program will preserve quality of life in neighborhoods by educating all parties involved in renting units – landlords, renters and inspectors – to ensure everyone is on the same page in terms of what maintenance standards should be met.
For more information about Seattle rentals contact your local real estate agent today.