October 1, 2012 the Seattle City Council approved a program to require registration and inspection of all rental property, beginning in 2014.
The legislation will require that all properties with 10 or more rental register with the city by July 1, 2014; from 5 to 9 units by Dec. 31, 2014, and from one to four units by Dec. 31, 2016.
Property owners of rental units will complete a checklist certifying that the housing meets city health & safety codes. The city will then inspect all rental units within 10 years and, once inspected, will be on a five-year cycle for re-inspection.
The Seattle Times reports:
Tenant advocates and landlord groups agreed that renters, who make up about half of all Seattle residents, have a right to healthful and safe living conditions.
But some landlord organizations told the council they remained concerned about the costs of the program and the potential for a “mega-bureaucracy” of rental inspectors, registration requirements and penalties, which could start at $150 per day for landlords who refuse to correct problems.
“This program could grow at many times the rate of inflation. The City Council needs to monitor it closely or the costs will get out of hand,” said Jamie Durkan, with the Rental Housing Association.