Seattle’s Rental Registration & Inspection Ordinance

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    Rental Registration & Inspection Ordinance, Seattle

    After an in-depth public participation process, the Seattle City Council developed the Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance (RRIO). The RRIO assists in making sure all rental homes in Seattle are safe and meet the minimum home maintenance standards. 

    All Seattle rental property owners must register their properties with the City. Inspectors will ensure that all registered properties meet the primary housing and safety requirements at least once every 5 to 10 years.

    RRIO supports Seattle’s agenda on Housing Livability and Affordability by ensuring that all rental homes are safe and comply with the basic maintenance standards.

    What does RRIO do for Seattle residents?

    Over time, RRIO helps to upgrade and maintain the quality of rental housing in Seattle. This scheme benefits Settle residents by:

    • Protecting the community and quality of life
    • Educating tenants, property owners, and inspectors on RRIO standards and promoting good maintenance of rental properties. 
    • Conducting periodic inspections to ensure all rental housing meet the same minimum standards.
    • Establishing clear communication between the City and rental property owners in the case of any emergencies. 

    Requirements for Owners and Managers

    There are two main requirements for owners of rental housing:

    1. The RRIO should have all rental housing properties (with some exceptions) registered in the program. From January 2019 onwards, this also includes non-owner-occupied short-term rentals.
    2. Rented properties must complete the inspection requirements at least once every 5 to 10 years.

    There are other Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance provisions, for instance, enforcement, which may apply. 

    How RRIO Helps Renters

    The RRIO helps to guarantee all Seattle rental properties meet the major home maintenance and safety requirements. With a few exceptions, Seattle requires that all rental properties are registered with the City. Also, every 5 to 10 years, a qualified or city inspector may carry out a home inspection. When a property is due for an inspection, property owners and renters need to work together and get it done. For more information, check out Seattle’s Rental Inspection Brochure.

    Property owners can visit the Seattle Services Portal to determine whether they have registered their property. Then enter its address in the search box. They will be able to see all rental registration records of the property and associated documents.

    What is an RRIO inspection?

    The RRIO inspection is a look for specific maintenance elements. Inspections, however, do not include looking at the property, a property owner’s lifestyle, or their activities in the living space. In fact, RRIO inspections are limited to a checklist that includes the following:

    • No visible holes or leaks in the ceiling or wall
    • Sinks, toilets, and other plumbing fixtures are working properly 
    • Doors and windows are working correctly and safely
    • Permanently installed and reliable heating system that works well

    Who will carry out the inspection?

    • A City inspector
    • A qualified private inspector who must meet the city’s requirements. Requirements also include training. The City also monitors this inspector’s work.

    When and how will residents know if their Unit is being inspected?

    The owner or manager of a building or unit must notify residents at least two days before the inspection of the premises. After that, residents should organize an inspector visit by working with their owner or manager. City and state laws state that homeowners or residents shall not refuse inspector’s access without reason. 

    What can residents do?

    There are some steps residents can take to ensure that their home is nicely maintained and a safe place to live in:

    • Encourage their homeowner or landlord to register
    • Understand the RRIO’s basic safety and maintenance guideline
    • When things need fixing, notify the property owner or landlord
    • Call Seattle’s Code Compliance Unit if the landlord refuses to repair or participate in the program

    See the RRIO Checklist for more information on the minimum housing standards that the RRIO uses to evaluate rental units. 

    Also, to view Seattle’s Short term Rental Regulations, Click Here.