New Seattle Ordinance May Apply to Your Rental Property

If you own a residential rental property in Seattle, then you will want to pay attention to the new Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance (“RRIO”).  RRIO requires landlords to register all rental housing units located in Seattle with the City of Seattle.  The purpose of RRIO is to help ensure that all rental housing in Seattle is safe and meets basic housing maintenance requirements.

Registration is required for all residential rental properties, from single-family houses to large apartment complexes. Exceptions to the registration requirement include commercial lodging, state-licensed facilities (such as adult family homes), and housing owned by government groups or housing authorities.

Landlords must register their property according to the following schedule:

  • All properties with 10 or more units must be registered by September 30, 2014.
  • All properties with 5 to 9 rental housing units must be registered by March 31, 2015.
  • All properties with 1 to 4 rental housing units will be registered from 2015 to 2016, depending on the unit’s zip code.  See specific dates here.

Registration can be done online, in person, or by mail, and must be renewed every five years.  The registration fee is $175 for the first unit and $2 for each additional unit.  Penalty fees apply to late registration or failure to register.

The ordinance requires all registered rental properties to be inspected at least once every 10 years, starting in 2015.  Property owners may choose to use a private qualified rental housing inspector or hire a City inspector.  Once a rental property has passed 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.

The RRIO has severe penalties for non-compliance:

Section 22.214.086 Penalties

A.        In addition to the remedies available according to Sections 22.214.080 and 22.214.085, and any other remedy available at law or in equity, the following penalties shall be imposed for violating this Chapter 22.214:

1.         Any person or entity violating or failing to comply with any requirement of this Chapter 22.214 or rule adopted under this Chapter 22.214 shall be subject to a cumulative civil penalty of $150 per day for the first ten days the violation or failure to comply exists and $500 per day for each day thereafter.  A separate violation exists for each day there is a violation of or failure to comply with any requirement of this Chapter 22.214 or rule adopted under this Chapter 22.214

2.         Any person or entity that knowingly submits or assists in submitting a falsified certificate of compliance, or knowingly submits falsified information upon which a certificate of compliance is issued, shall be subject to a penalty of $5,000 in addition to the penalties provided for in subsection 22.214.086.B.1.

The City has prepared a checklist for the inspections.  The entire Ordinance can be found here.

For additional information, contact Larry Glosser at

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