Are you on the right side of the law? Wherever you own property, you must make sure that you abide by local codes and regulations. This helps you keep your tenants safe, and it also ensures that you don’t face fines or legal action. Are your Seattle rentals following the rules?
Why Follow the Rules?
Housing rules are often implemented due to safety reasons. According to the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections, “the Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance (RRIO) helps ensure that all rental housing in Seattle is safe and meets basic housing maintenance requirements.” If you don’t follow the rules, a tenant or someone else could complain about your property. This could lead to a fine or penalty, and you will also need to fix the problem in a certain time period. Following the rental housing guidelines helps you avoid fines and emergency renovations.
Register Your Property
You must register all of your housing units in Seattle, no matter whether they are small apartments or large family homes. There are different deadlines for housing types with different numbers of units. For some types of units, the rental deadline shifts depending on your zip code as well. Every five years, you need to re-register. If you’re juggling the needs of multiple properties, you need to ensure that you don’t forget to re-register.
Inspect Your Property
In addition to property registration, you also need to inspect your properties. It’s easy for the years to go by without an inspection, especially if your tenants don’t complain. However, all registered rentals must be inspected at least once every 10 years by a qualified rental housing inspector. You must schedule the inspection and be financially prepared, just in case the inspection yields a long list of tasks to be completed.
Other Property Rules
What if you don’t keep your property safe? Your tenants could complain. According to the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections, residential property regulations cover concerns about:
- Structural integrity
- Home security
- Heat and ventilation
- Electrical equipment
- Fire safety and fire exits
Owners must ensure that rental properties are up to code.
Tenancy laws also cover tenant evictions. You may not evict tenants without just cause. You also need to make sure that when you bring in new tenants, you follow housing laws focused on equitable and accessible housing for all, such as the Fair Housing Act.
Why Property Owners Don’t Follow the Rules
It’s not that property owners are rebels: it’s just that sometimes, managing properties can be a full time job. If you have an investment property but you’re busy with your family and another career, it can be hard to continuously keep up with inspections and associated home regulations. If you live in another city or in another country, managing the paperwork connected to your properties can be even harder. You may not even be in the same time zone as your tenants. Property owners can avoid frustration by relying on local management companies that are familiar with local regulations and can help by anticipating required paperwork, arranging inspections, and coordinating the necessary forms.
At Lori Gill and Associates, we’re your eyes, ears, and feet on the ground. If you’re having a hard time keeping up with all of the paperwork connected to your Seattle rentals, let us help you. Contact us today.