Rental Registration & Inspection Ordinance in Seattle, WA

4 Replies

I don't know if this subject has been broached elsewhere on the forum (I did a cursory search and didn't see anything). 

I attended an REIA meeting here in Seattle, about a month ago, and this was the big thing they were discussing at the meeting. There was a handout too that discussed it in more detail w/links to the areas this needed to be checked out. I'd HIGHLY recommend that any individuals that own or manage rental properties in Seattle check out:

Those required to register is anyone who owns or manages  a rental housing unit in Seattle; unless they qualify for an exemption (note: most probably won't qualify for an exemption).

  • All properties with 10 or more units must be registered by September 30, 2014
  • All properties with 5-9 units must be registered by March 31, 2015
  • During 2015 and 2016, single-family, duplex, triplex, and fourplex properties with rental units will be registered. The specific and complete schedule of due dates is available on the site. 

As we know EVERYTHING has to do with $$$$:

Number of Rental Units:

1 - Base Fee property + 1st unit) $175.00 (unit fee 0) Total for five years $175

2 Units - Base fee $175 + $2.00 unit fee - Total for five years $177

10 Units - Base Fee $175 + 18 - Total for five years $193

100 Units - Base Fee $175 Unit Fee $198 - Total for five years $373

Just wanted to give this FYI for those who may be unaware.

Also, during my meeting, a Construction Defect Attorney was there, and he gave FABULOUS information on common areas of inspection and how to spot water intrusions. He discussed what were the best (most recommended) ways to set-up (LLC, Inc, etc) when you were an investor.

How will they know an individual has rental units?

There is no state tax.

This is the first step to rent control in the city and I hear that is coming sooner and faster than this.

Thanks for the info. As a newbie Seattle landlord (soon-to-be) I need this info. I'm also not the LEAST bit surprised that the city is going after more $$$$. Ironically, there will be outcry about how expensive rent is in the city, but the same people complaining about rent are making it more expensive to rent out our property. Sheesh.

This is a result of the actions of a strong tenant union based in Seattle.  Here is an excerpt from their website: 

"Victory! After a 5 year campaign — and almost 20 years for the TU — the City Council unanimously voted in the Rental Housing Registration & Inspection Program, a bill that will dramatically shift the power imbalance between landlords and tenants and hold the slumlords in our community accountable."  -

All Seattle landlords should be aware of this organization.  All other Washington State landlords would do well to pay attention and support our industry lobbyists in Olympia and in our local communities to prevent unfavorable laws from spreading to other areas of the state.  We should all be working towards improving our industry.  We don't need onerous laws hurting those of us who are doing good work. 

@Justin Case, I don't know how they know if an individual owns a rental property. Since I don't own any (currently) I'm not sure how that is monitored.

@Carl Gipson  Good luck to you and your new ventures! You will find in any business endeavors, that there are always those people and/or entities that are standing there with their hands out :) Not saying that's good or bad (as some services are necessary and should be paid for); however, when you are in business, you definitely prefer to see the $$$ flowing in at a higher rate than it's flowing out.

@Marcia Maynard The unfortunate thing about bills like this, is that the people they are trying to rid themselves of or feel are taking advantage, will continue to do so, because (typically) those parties likely have deeper pockets than an individual who owns one or two properties and is renting them out. 

In my very limited experience, I've known a few individuals who've purchased one or two condos and/or single family properties to rent out, and they maintain their properties in good condition, and take care of any issues the tenants let them know about, with minimal delays. 

Oftentimes, these types of bills and measures typically hurt the "little guy," more than anything.

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