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.

Deadline Is Here For Registering Rental Properties With 10+ Units

Schack1_bigLast 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.

New Ordinance Aims To Establish Standards For Rentals

Photo credit: www.third-estate.com

Photo credit: www.third-estate.com

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.