This week I was invited by Mayor McGinn to attend the bill signing of the Rental Housing Registration and Inspection Ordinance passed by the Council last Monday, October 1. I’ve written about the legislation several times over the years. If you’d like a short summary that I wrote after the Full Council vote, see here.
Both leading up to and following the passage of the legislation, I received a number of comments expressing both concern and support for the program. Most comments raise questions about how the new program will be implemented. Although some important aspects, including the cost of registration fees and inspections are still to be worked out, here are DPD’s answers to several of the questions we have heard. Here is additional information specifically developed for the tenant perspective.
I’d like to say a bit now about next steps. DPD will be working with stakeholders in developing the framework, inspection standards, fee structure, and information and outreach elements for the program. Key issues will include how notice of inspections will be provided, what are tenant rights for refusing entry, and what issues or standards will the inspections cover. This work is scheduled for 2013. The first registration requirements will not take effect until 2014. Inspections will not begin until January 2015. If you’d like to participate in development of these program elements, or at least be notified as they are developed, please feel free to contact Faith Lumsden, Director of the Code Compliance Division at DPD, firstname.lastname@example.org, 206-615-0097.
I have great hopes that this program will improve the conditions of renters living in substandard housing as well as encourage stronger maintenance practices so that fewer properties fall into irreversible disrepair and are less vulnerable to redevelopment so that we can be successful in preserving the existing rental housing stock.