- What is the purpose of the minimum rental housing standards program?
The goal of the program is to ensure that all rental housing in the city meets specific minimum health, life safety and fire safety standards.
- How will this be done?
The program requires all rental housing in the city to be registered with the DPD by December 31, 2016. All properties, but not all units, will be inspected over a period of 10 years.
- When will registration begin?
Registrations begin in January 2014. During 2014 all properties with 5 or more units will register with the DPD. During the next two years, single family, duplex, triplex and four‐plex properties with rental units will register. The deadline for these properties to register is December 31, 2016.
- What will it cost to register a property?
The cost of registration has not yet been established. However, costs will be limited to recovering only the expense of administering the program. The DPD will work with stakeholders and will provide information to the public and the City Council as we develop the fee structure in the spring and summer of 2013.
- When will inspections begin?
Inspections begin in January 2015 for properties with five or more units. For single family, duplex, triplex and four‐plex properties inspections will begin after they are registered.
- Who will do the inspections?
Private inspectors registered with the city but hired and paid by property owners will complete most inspections. Inspections done on a periodic basis as a financing requirement or as part of a government oversight program can qualify to meet the City inspection requirement.
- Will every rental housing unit be inspected?
All properties, but not all units, will be inspected. The number 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.
- I heard there would be a five year inspection cycle. Is that true?
Five years after a property is inspected the first time, it will be placed in a pool for a second inspection. 10 percent of properties in this second inspection pool will be randomly selected each year for a second inspection.
- How will the City find out where rental properties are located and who owns them?
The DPD will review data from the King County Assessor and will also review information from other city programs directed to apartment buildings and known rental properties. In addition, there will be significant levels of public outreach and education to encourage property owners to register their properties. Information about properties that are registered will be available online, and it is possible that tenants, neighbors or other persons interested in the success of the minimum housing standards program will notify the city of properties that have not registered.
- Will there be penalties for failing to register?
The penalty for failing to register is $1,000. DPD plans to send warning notices the first time a property that should be registered is discovered. Failure to register after a warning will lead to a penalty. Repeat offenders will be immediately penalized. Continued failure to comply with the program can lead to additional penalties.
- I rent a room in my house. Will I be required to register?
Owner‐occupied homes do not need to be registered, even though one or more rooms in the home may be rented to others. Please see below regarding accessory dwelling units.
- What if I have an accessory dwelling unit in my home or on my property?
Accessory dwelling units, which are complete housing units with a kitchen and bathroom, must be registered and will be inspected unless they are owner-occupied.
- Who will monitor this program? How can we be sure it is working?
DPD will report annually to the City Council on how the program is working.
- How do I find out more about this program?
Visit the program’s webpage for updates on the program. You can submit your email address to be notified of major updates to the program. Most of the program information is still being developed, so please check the website regularly.
March 29, 2013