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Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance

Do you know the new rental licensing requirement, SMC 22.214 (Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance)?

The Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance (RRIO) requires landlords to register ALL rental housing units in Seattle, from single-family houses to large apartment buildings. ALL properties must be registered from 2015 to 2016, with specific deadlines based on the ZIP code where the property is located.


What Is RRIO?

Seattle has approximately 148,000 rental housing units. But according to the 2009 American Housing Survey, an estimated 10 percent of Seattle-area rental housing has “moderate to severe” physical problems. The Seattle City Council established RRIO to ensure that all rental housing in Seattle is safe and meets basic housing maintenance requirements.

RRIO requires landlords to register all rental housing units in Seattle. At least once every 10 years, an inspector will make sure each registered rental property complies with minimum housing and safety standards.


RRIO Registration

  • All properties with 10 or more rental housing 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.

NoteExceptions 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.


RRIO Inspection

  • All registered rental properties must 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 ordinance for more detail.

Note: This ordinance does not cover complaint-based enforcement of City housing standards. The City will continue its complaint-based process for housing code violations, and City housing and zoning inspectors will continue to enforce all housing code standards and other applicable codes.

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