Rental Registration and Inspection Program Coming to Kent

Posted By: Brett Waller Advocacy News ,

 
The City of Kent recently passed an ordinance creating a rental registration and inspection program to identify and inspect basic health and safety issues. in rental housing  The law itself becomes effective April 18, however implementation of the program will begin this summer.  The process has been many months in the making, with outreach to housing providers, tenants and other interested groups. 
 
A copy of the draft Inspection Checklist can be found here
 
Below are details on the program.
 
  • The new law requires an annual registration, and an inspection every three (3) years. Registration will begin this summer for all rental properties, regardless of housing type.  Registration will occur through the City's website and will be free.  The purpose of the registration is to obtain better knowledge of the City's rental housing stock.
  • Information regarding the rental inspection program must be displayed in an common area on the property. 
  • When a property comes up for inspection, the property is provided 90 days' advance notice.  Inspections will be required prior to obtaining the 2020 business license.  
    • If the property received its certificate of occupancy within the prior four (4) years, an inspection is waived. 
    • In properties that are 20 units or less, no more than four (4) rental units will be inspected. 
    • In properties with 21 or more units, 20% of the units will be inspected up to 50.  
    • If a unit fails an inspection, the City may require 100% of the units to be inspected. 
  • NOTICE REQUIREMENTS: When a property is notified of an rental inspection under this program, all residents must be notified of the upcoming inspection and must be provided an opportunity to notify the leasing team of necessary repairs. 
    • For the units required to be inspected, residents must also receive a 48 hour notice to enter as directed by State law. 
    • Residents that refuse access to their apartment, may be assessed up to $100 fine for each .  Property managers may also issue a 10-day notice to comply.  
  • EXEMPTIONS: An exemption exists for rental units that are owned, operated or managed by a government unit, agency or authority.
  • ENFORCEMENT: Prior to taking any enforcement action, the City will provide a correction notice to make repairs and bring units to code.  
    • Penalties for failure to register properties start at $100 per day and increase to $400 per day after 10 days.  Business licenses expire on the 31st of each year.  
To learn more you can read the ordinance here.  The City of Kent is hosting a web page as well; the web page is under development.    

BOLO: The City of Renton is also considering a rental inspection program.