Form revised: December 6, 2011






Contact Person/Phone:

CBO Analyst/Phone:

Planning and Development

Faith Lumsden 615-0097

Melissa Lawrie 684-5805


Legislation Title: An ordinance relating to rental housing registration and inspection; adding a new Chapter 22.214 to the Seattle Municipal Code that provides for a January 1, 2014 effective date; retitling portions of Chapter 6.440 as Chapter 22.214; amending portions of the retitled Chapter 6.440; and repealing portions of Chapter 6.440.


Summary of the Legislation: The legislation would implement a rental housing registration and inspection program to take effect on January 1, 2014.  The program establishes a registration requirement that would be phased in between January 2014 and December 31, 2016.  A random inspection program will begin in 2015 and allow for the use of private qualified rental housing inspectors. All registered rental housing units will be inspected once during the first ten years, with a possibility of a second inspection no sooner than five years after the first inspection.  The program provides for a range of exceptions to the registration and inspection requirements, including but not limited to units already subject to an inspection requirement, those owned by or managed for a major institution, and units rented as commercial lodgings. Private qualified rental housing inspectors will meet training and certification requirements and their work will be audited to ensure consistency.


Background:   The Council has a longstanding interest in preserving the quality of the city housing stock and has determined that substandard and unsanitary rental housing units exist within the City of Seattle. On June 1, 2010 the Council adopted Ordinance 123311 which established the basis for the City’s rental housing registration and inspection program.  On that same date, the Council adopted Resolution 31221 and requested the Department of Planning and Development (“DPD”) convene a Stakeholders Group to recommend what the contours of the program should be.  That stakeholder group met fourteen times between December 2010 and January 2012.  The recommendations from that group were used to help develop this ordinance.


The ordinance has a delayed effective date to allow DPD to develop rules for the program and to do outreach to the landlord and tenant communities.


Please check one of the following:


_X___ This legislation does not have any financial implications.   The program is designed to be self-supporting.  Starting January 1, 2014, DPD will begin collecting registration fees to cover ongoing program costs and repay over time the startup costs for the program. A separate ordinance is being developed to cover the registration fee and other program costs. 


____    This legislation has financial implications.