The city of Seattle has implemented a new Rental Registration & Inspection Ordinance with the intent of “Improving and preserving safe and healthy housing for all Seattle renters”.
RRIO is an ordinance requiring owners (or their representatives) to register their Seattle rental properties with the city, and to have an inspection on each property submitted to the city within a predetermined time-frame, based on the zip code.
Seattle Rental Management can handle the entire process for you if you’d prefer!
We’ll schedule the inspection, hire the inspector, attend the inspection and file all paperwork on your behalf for a separate fee of $75 to Seattle Rental Management.
There will also be the $175 + $2 /unit city fee, (see fees noted below) plus the inspection fee of approximately $150 + $25/unit). If you’re interested in having us manage this for you, please let us know so we can get the process underway!
What Is It?
The Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance (RRIO) helps ensure that all rental housing in Seattle is safe and meets basic housing maintenance requirements. The program will educate property owners, managers, and renters about City housing codes and their responsibilities; and require owners to verify their properties meet these standards when registering with the City.
- The Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance requires landlords to register all rental housing units in Seattle, from single-family houses to large apartment buildings.
- Exceptions to the registration requirement include commercial lodging, state-licensed facilities such as adult family homes, and housing owned by government groups or by housing authorities such as Seattle Housing Authority. See the ordinance for more detail.
- Landlords must register their properties according to the following schedule:
- All properties with 10 or more units should have registered by September 30, 2014. If you own one of these properties and have not yet registered, you will be assessed a $20 late fee and you may be subject to additional penalties and fees.
- All properties with 5 to 9 rental housing units must be registered by March 31, 2015.
- All properties with 1 to 4 rental housing units will be registered from 2015 to 2016. We will base specific deadlines for these properties on the ZIP code where the property is located.
- Registrations must be renewed every 5 years.
- The ordinance requires that all registered rental properties be inspected at least once every 10 years.
- The owner must hire a qualified rental housing inspector or City inspector to do the inspections.
- Rental properties with prior enforcement action will be inspected early in the program. See the ordinancefor more detail.
This ordinance does not cover complaint-based enforcement of City housing standards. We will continue our complaint-based process for housing code violations. Our City housing and zoning inspectors will continue to enforce all housing code standards and other applicable codes.
Read the Code
Read the text of the Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance.
See our Rental Registration and Inspection page to learn how we're implementing the ordinance.
When are the Registration Deadlines?
Rental properties must be registered by the following deadlines:
- All properties with 10 or more unitsshould have registered by September 30, 2014. If you own one of these properties and have not yet registered, you will be assessed a $20 late fee and you may be subject to additional penalties and fees.
- All properties with 5 – 9 units must be registered by March 31, 2015.
- Single-family, duplex, triplex, and fourplex properties with rental units will be registered throughout 2015 and 2016. We will base specific deadlines for these properties on the ZIP code where the property is located. See our complete scheduleto find out when you need to register your property.
Some government-owned, government-operated, and institutional rental housing may not need to be registered. Find out if your property may meet the registration exceptions.
What You Will Need
To register a property, you will need some basic information about the property:
- The parcel number for the rental property, which can be found on the King County Assessor's website. If you check the box at the bottom, you will be taken to a page where you can enter your property address to receive your parcel number.
- Three contact types for each property registered: Applicant, Owner(s), and Tenant Contact for Repair.
- The number of rental units on your property.
What are the Registration Fees?
The fee is $175 for a property and its first rental unit, plus $2 for each additional unit. For example:
- A 1-unit rental property, like a single-family home, is $175
- A 2-unit rental property is $177
- A 10-unit property is $193
Your RRIO registration fee is good for 5 years from the date you register your property.
How Do I Get an Inspection?
We will start inspecting registered properties in early 2015 by notifying property owners when their rental property needs to be inspected. You can hire either City inspectors or qualified private inspectors. If you hire a City inspector, the inspection fee will be $130 for the property including the first unit, and $25 for each additional unit being inspected on the same property. We will only inspect a portion of registered properties each year, and inspect all properties at least once every 10 years.
Note: You may not need a RRIO inspection if you've already had an inspection by one of the pre-qualified agencies listed below. You will need to provide us with a letter or email indicated you have passed the property inspection conducted by one of these alternate agencies.
- Seattle Office of Housing
- Washington State Housing Finance Commission
- King County Housing and Community Development
- Washington State Department of Commerce, Housing Finance Unit
- Seattle Housing Authority, Housing Choice Voucher
Violations and Penalties
If you do not follow the RRIO requirements, we may issue a violation and penalties, and we may take legal action. Our goal is to work with you to make sure you meet our requirements. If you face RRIO penalties or a violation, call us immediately to resolve the situation before the penalties grow and become a costly lawsuit.
You may get a violation for:
- Not registering a rental housing property by the due date
- Not completing a property inspection by the due date
- Renting a property to tenants that does not meet the minimum standards in the RRIO checklist
Penalties are $150 per day for the first 10 days and $500 per day after that.
Once you receive a Notice of Violation letter, you must comply or contact us immediately about one of the other choices, such as an extension or appeal. You may request a review of the violation of penalties by following the steps in this instruction sheet.
If you do not comply or request review, we will send the case to the City Attorney’s office to file a law suit to compel you to meet the RRIO requirement and pay the penalties. We will notify you when we refer the violation to the City Attorney.
For more information, download our RRIO Violations and Penalties flyer.
Learn More About RRIO
For more information about RRIO, see our About RRIO page.