Last October the City of Seattle passed the Rental Regulation & Inspection Ordinance that aims to establish a standard for cleanliness and healthy living conditions for all rental properties in the city, and the deadline for the first phase – registering properties with 10 or more units in preparation for inspections – is tomorrow, September 30. Inspections are expected to begin early next year, and inspectors will be looking to make sure that all carbon-monoxide and smoke detectors, locks, windows, hot and cold water, and a heat source are working; making sure there are no infestation issues; and that walls, roofs, and ceilings are in good condition.
The ordinance was put in place after a 2009 survey revealed that an estimated 10 percent of the 148,000 rental units in Seattle had “moderate to severe” physical problems. Over the next two years, most rental properties in Seattle will be required to register and subsequently be inspected, with the exception of owner-occupied properties where an individual room is being rented out, and “accessory dwelling units” that are occupied by an immediate family member of an owner. Units that already have inspection reports on file will not need to be re-inspected.
The city is hoping the ordinance will encourage owners to keep rental units up to the same minimum standard and deal with maintenance issues without having to rely on tenant complaints. Units will be inspected at least once every 10 years, and eventually prospective renters will be able view an online database of all registered properties that have passed inspection. Read more about the program here.
If you are interested in renting in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.