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.

City Council Approves Registration & Inspection of Rentals

There has been alot of hype in the real estate realm around whether the City Council should approve the program which will require the registration and inspection of all rental properties. But yesterday afternoon  City Council must have agree with the tenant and landlord groups who’ve advocated that tenants have the right to healthy and safe living conditions, because the program was approved.

While many tenants and support groups are excited for the change to take place in 2014, other landlord groups are concerned about the potential fees from rental inspectors that could begin at $150 a day for those refusing to correct the problems. Under the program, all properties that have 10 or more units will need to register with the city prior to Dec 31, 2014, and properties with 1-4 units by Dec 31, 2016. According to the Seattle Times, the vote was 5-0 in favor of the program. For more information on rental property inspections, visit the Seattle Times.