Rental Property Inspections
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I register my property? Registration of rental properties is accepted online, by mailed-in paper application, and in person at the Applicant Service Center on the 20th floor of the Seattle Municipal Tower. Check the RRIO website for more information: www.seattle.gov/RRIO.
2. What does it cost to register my property? Your registration is valid for five years and the fee is $175 for a property and the first rental unit, plus $2 for each additional unit. See the example below:
Number of Rental Housing Units
Base + Unit Fee Total for Five Years: 1 Unit - $175 + $0= $175, 2 Units - $175 + $2 $177, 20 Units - $175 + $38 $213. Online payment must be made by credit or debit card. If you pay by check, you will need to fill out and submit a paper registration form available at www.seattle.gov/RRIO or you can register online and pay by check using this instruction sheet. Checks should be made out to the City of Seattle.
3. What is my registration deadline? Your registration deadline is based on the number of units at your rental property and your zip code.
4. I want to become a private inspector for the RRIO Program. How do I do this? You must create a RRIO online user account, register with the program (which includes a training fee of $50), then go through City-provided training. This can be done at https://mydpdservices.seattle.gov/RRIO/. You request a training session as part of your online registration. You must also hold a current City of Seattle business license and possess one of the following credentials: American Association of Code Enforcement Property Maintenance and Housing Inspector certification; International Code Council Property Maintenance and Housing Inspector certification; International Code Council Residential Building Inspector certification; or Washington State home inspector under RCW 18.280.
5. What if I know that some part of my property doesn’t meet standards – can I register? The registration process asks the owner or owner’s agent to declare that the property and all units registered either meet the standards or WILL meet the standards before they are rented. If a unit doesn’t meet the standards, it may be registered along with the rest of the units, but it may not be rented until it meets the standards. If your property has long-term maintenance issues that cannot be corrected by the registration due date, please contact the RRIO Program at (206) 684-4110.
6. When will my property be inspected? How often will my property be inspected? Inspections began in 2015. All properties will be selected for inspection by RRIO at least once every 10 years. Every year, RRIO will randomly select at least 10% of properties to be inspected. In addition, beginning in 2020, RRIO will select at least 10% of properties with inspections more than five years old to be re-inspected. RRIO will issue a notice of inspection to the owner in advance of the required inspection. The property owner will have at least a 60 day window to complete and pass the RRIO inspection.
7. Will all rental units be inspected? All properties, but not all units, will be inspected. The percentage of units to be inspected depends on the number of units on a property. Every single-family home that is rented will be inspected over the first ten year inspection cycle. Two units will be inspected at properties with two to twenty units. Fifteen percent of units will be inspected at properties with more than twenty units.
8. What is the criteria being used for inspections? What are you looking for? The items which are being evaluated in the inspection are detailed on the RRIO Checklist. The RRIO Checklist is a subset of the City of Seattle Housing and Building Maintenance Code, and focuses on basic life, health, and safety concerns. The RRIO Checklist can be found on the program website at www.seattle.gov/RRIO.
9. What if I fail an inspection? If an inspection fails a significant maintenance checklist item, indicated by an asterisk (*), this item must be repaired to meet the inspection requirement. Deficiencies which are noted but which are not indicated by an asterisk (*) should be repaired as well, but are not required in order to pass the inspection. However, owners should be aware that if a tenant were to later call and complain about non-mandatory items on the RRIO Checklist, they are required to be repaired under the Seattle Housing and Building Maintenance Code. The inspector will issue a RRIO Certificate of Compliance after the property passes the RRIO Checklist inspection. The owner must submit a RRIO Certificate of Compliance to the RRIO Program by the inspection due date.
10. Can I move my tenants out to make repairs? Or, can I move my tenants out and make it a non-rentable unit? The City of Seattle Municipal Code requires “just cause” for eviction of tenants. A summary of valid reasons for which tenancy may be terminated is provided in TIP 604. If you need to find housing for your current tenants, they may qualify for payment of relocation assistance (if low income) and advance notice of the planned development under the City’s Tenant Relocation Ordinance. The ordinance can be found here: http://web1.seattle.gov/dpd/cams/CamDetail.aspx?cn=123