Katie Whaley, Coordinator
Rental Housing Inspection Program
Community concerns about health and safety
Based on concerns from renters about health and safety problems in their apartments, the City developed a program to help make sure landlords keep up on basic building maintenance. The City Council passed an ordinance in 2018 to require registration of rental housing, and periodic inspection of multi-family housing.
Outreach and research
In developing the new ordinance, the City asked residents for help identifying problems with rental housing; we also asked landlords for feedback about how a program might work. Best practices from other cities informed development of this program.
How will the program work?
Every three years, apartment owners must hire a qualified inspector to check their rental units for compliance with basic maintenance standards. Things like structural safety, plumbing, weatherproofing, wiring and smoke detectors will be checked. Known problems need to be fixed before a rental housing business license is issued.
When will the program begin?
The City's Rental Housing Registration website is ready for all rental owners to begin registering their properties. Owners of apartments on the West Hill and in the Kent Valley will be the first inspection group, and must pass inspection by the end of 2019 to obtain their 2020 business license. Other units in the city must be inspected in subsequent years. City staff will provide further details on inspection requirements in the near future.
What's happening in the meantime?
Staff is developing a training program to certify inspectors, finalizing the inspection checklist and creating communication material. A draft of the inspection checklist is available for review.