Attention Seattle landlords: If you own a rental property in the city of Seattle, you are now required to register it with the city under the Rental Registration and Ordinance Program. You are subject to periodic inspections.
For small rental properties, the deadlines are beginning shortly and the penalties for non-compliance are expensive, so you will want to be on top of this. There are very few exceptions to this law, so almost anyone who owns a rental property is required to register.
The registration deadline for large apartments of more than 10 units has already passed: September 30, 2014.
If your apartment has 5-9 units, you were supposed to be registered by March 31, 2015.
For rental properties of 1-4 units (this includes single-family homes and condos), your deadline for registration varies by ZIP code. Some as early as June 30, 2015 and some as late as December 31, 2016. You can look up your registration due date on the city’s website.
The city will inspect rental properties at least once every 10 years. When the city notifies you that your property needs to be inspected, you have 60 days to comply. Inspections can be carried out by a city inspector or a qualified private inspector.
You will want to review the checklist that city inspections will follow for your rental. The city can enforce repairs based on these inspections if they do not meet the requirements of the inspection ordinance.
Registration Fees & Fines
Registration for a 1-unit rental costs $175. Each additional unit adds $2 to that amount. Registration is valid for 5 years.
While the registration fees are fairly nominal, the fines for violation and non-compliance are not. Penalties for not registering or not complying with inspection requirements are $150 for the first ten days and $500 per day thereafter. Ouch!