Random Rental Safety Inspections Begin This Month

Apartment KitchenLast year, the city of Seattle implemented the Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance (RRIO), which requires all Seattle landlords to register their rental properties and have them inspected for basic maintenance compliance, and this month random inspections will begin. While the city has previously relied on renters registering complaints as a way to ensure landlords are performing maintenance, the ordinance aims to establish a system of regular checks on properties to make landlords are adhering to basic standards across all units. The 2009 American Housing Survey reported that an estimated 10 percent of the 148,000 rental units in Seattle had “moderate to severe” physical problems. The new requirements apply to units in both apartment buildings and rental houses.

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, the Department of Planning and Development is planning to inspect about 2,000 units this year, with a goal of inspecting 6,000 annually going forward. Inspectors won’t be showing up unannounced – landlords will be given 60 days notice to make sure they’re complying with the RRIO checklist, which includes items such as ensuring there is a functioning heat source in every habitable room and bathroom, no leaks in roofs or windows, and making sure all toilets flush. Properties will be inspected at least once every 10 years.

The DPD is hoping the clear guidelines will increase awareness among landlords and rental property owners of what basic standards are for their rental properties, and decrease the reliance on tenant complaints.

If you are interested in renting in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.