Improving and preserving safe and healthy housing for all Seattle renters.
We have two primary requirements for rental housing property owners:
We have other RRIO provisions, such as enforcement, that may apply.
Click on the bars below to learn about the key parts of RRIO for property owners and managers.
The best way to register your property is to use our new online registration program. Please read the instructions listed below before you register. You may also register in person or by mail using the Registration Form in the list below. When you register your property, you will be asked to declare that the property and available rental units meet the standards described in the RRIO Checklist.
Landlords must register their properties as soon as they have a tenant in the rental space.
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.
To register a property, you will need some basic information about the property:
The fee is $175 for a property and its first rental unit, plus $2 for each additional unit. For example:
Payments can be made by credit card, check, or cash. Our online registration system only accepts payment by credit card. If you wish to pay your registration fee using a check after registering online (but before payment), follow these instructions for paying by check. Once you have registered, you will receive a receipt and a RRIO registration certificate.
Your RRIO registration is good for five years from the date you register your property. You are required to post your RRIO registration certificate in a common area of your rental property or give a copy to each tenant.
We require all rental properties to be inspected periodically, or show that they meet the inspection requirement some other way. Properties are selected for inspection at least once during the first ten years after they are registered. There is a 10 percent chance the property will be chosen a second time within the following five years. Properties with multiple units require an inspection of 20 percent of the units and the exterior and common areas. If problems are found in the selected units, the City may require additional unit inspections. Every month, we will notify a random selection of property owners that we have selected their property for inspection.Our notice will give you at least 60 days to have the inspection completed. On multi-unit properties, you may learn which units have been selected 10 days before the inspection.
When you receive a Notice of Required Inspection, you have three ways to meet the inspection requirement:
1. Complete a RRIO Inspection
2. Submit Approved Inspection Documentation
Qualified programs and documentation include:
|Qualified Program ||Accepted Documentation|
|Seattle of Office Housing||Letter from Office of Housing, which we have on file|
|Washington State House Finance Commission (WSHFC)||Letter from WSHFC stating that property has passed inspection|
|King County Housing and Community Development||Email from King County stating that the property has passed inspection|
|Washington State Department of Commerce, Housing||Email from Commerce stating that the property has passed inspection|
|Seattle Housing Authority (SHA), Housing Choice Voucher||Copy of inspection results coversheet|
|U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 202, Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program||Email from HUD attaching inspection report cover letter and "snapshot"|
|U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 811, Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities Program||Email from HUD attaching inspection report cover letter and "snapshot"|
See complete instructions on submitting documentation below.
3. Meet the Inspection Exception: Notify us if your property has an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) occupied by an immediate family member and you live in a unit on the property. The rental unit occupied by your immediate family member is exempt from inspection. Contact us at (206) 684-4110, or email us at RRIO@seattle.gov.
There are other types of RRIO inspections that may be done voluntarily, or as a result of a complaint.
You may choose to hire a City inspector or qualified private inspector to complete an inspection prior to registration. A pre-registration inspection can help you feel confident declaring that your property and all your units meet our checklist standards. This inspection is strictly voluntary and all rental housing units on your property must be inspected. You must comply with all the requirements of our required inspection, such as proper notice to tenants. If you complete and pass a pre-registration inspection, the inspector will provide you with a Certificate of Compliance. The RRIO Certificate of Compliance for a pre-registration inspection will satisfy your inspection requirement for at least five years. Instructions for submitting your documents are located below.
You may choose to have a RRIO inspection conducted after you register at your convenience, rather than wait to be selected for a required inspection. To schedule a voluntary inspection, you must contact us at (206) 684-4110 and request a voluntary inspection letter. The letter will establish the date for your 60-day compliance timeline. It will also randomly select the appropriate number of units on a multi-unit property to be inspected. If you have prior violations you may be required to have all your units inspected, depending upon the date of the violation. You may hire a City inspector or a qualified private inspector to complete the voluntary inspection. If you complete and pass the voluntary inspection, the inspector will provide you with a Certificate of Compliance. You may submit the certificate to us and that will satisfy your inspection requirement for at least five years. Instructions for submitting documentation are located below.
All complaints regarding rental housing will be handled according to the Housing and Building Maintenance Code, enforced by our Code Compliance group. This code has a broader set of standards than RRIO.
If a City Housing and Zoning Inspector completes a site inspection of the property, the inspector will also complete a RRIO Checklist.
If the Department Director requires additional RRIO inspections of rental housing units due to a failed RRIO Checklist, the additional inspections must be completed within 60 calendar days.
You will need to submit documents to us that you have met the inspection requirement if:
There are four ways to submit proof that you passed your inspection:
If you do not follow our 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:
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 if you need an extension or want to appeal. You may request a review of the violation of penalties by following these instructions to file an appeal.
If you do not comply or request a review, we will send the case to the City Attorney’s office to file a lawsuit 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.
Find out if a residential rental property in Seattle has registered with RRIO or has been inspected as part of the RRIO program . Visit the Seattle Services Portal (you do not need to log in or have a customer account) and click on "Rental Registrations" in the Find Existing section. Please use this instruction sheet If you need help finding the information.
For more information about RRIO, see our About RRIO page.