Under Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) Chapter 22.214, Seattle landlords are required to register their rental properties with the City of Seattle (registration requirements can be found here). The Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance (RRIO) has been in place since 2014, however, the deadlines for registration have been implemented over time based on the different area codes within the City of Seattle.
The final set of deadlines for registration are: September 30, 2016 (area codes: 98117, 98118, 98125 and 98168) and December 31, 2016 (area codes: 98101, 98104, 98115, 98121, 98124, 98134, 98154, 98164, 98178, 98181 and 98191). A full list and map of area codes and registration deadlines can be found here. Registration can be done online, in-person, or by mail, and must be renewed every 5 years. (Registration fee is $175 for the first rental unit and $2 for each additional unit after that, penalty fees apply to late registration or failure to register)
It is imperative that Seattle landlords understand the RRIO, register their unit(s) and ensure that the unit is inspected and meets the minimum standards as established by the City of Seattle. Compliance must be confirmed by a RRIO inspector (see RRIO checklist). RRIO requires all registered rental properties to be inspected at least once every 10 years, beginning in 2015. Landlords have a choice to choose to hire a private qualified rental housing inspector or hire a City inspector. Upon completion and passing of the inspection, the inspector will issue a signed Certificate of Compliance to the property owner who is then responsible for submitting the certificate to the RRIO program.
Failure to adhere to these inspection requirements and failure to meet the minimum standards for a rental unit exposes landlords to violation notices and penalties. Of greater significance, landlords may not evict residential tenants from a rental unit if the units are not properly registered with the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections as required by RRIO.
If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact an attorney at Holmquist and Gardiner, PLLC.