On Monday, the [Seattle City] council is expected to approve legislation that would require anyone who owns rental property, from a single-family home to a large apartment building, to register with the city and certify that the unit meets city safety and health codes. All registered properties would be inspected within the first 10 years of the program and, once inspected, would be on a five-year cycle for reinspection. Owners would have to hire a city inspector or a private, city-approved inspector to examine the property and certify that it meets city housing standards.
City-code enforcement officers would work with property owners to bring them into compliance, but if a landlord failed an inspection and refused to make repairs, the unit could not be re-rented and the city could impose fines starting at $150 per day.
....Groups representing large apartment owners have worked with tenant advocates since 2010 to draft the legislation and generally support the bill, though they have reservations about how well the program will work.
"The biggest challenge will be getting people to register their properties. The bad guys are not going to register," said Tim Hatley, lobbyist for the Washington Multi-Family Housing Association.
Another unknown is how much it will cost to administer the program, which won't go into effect until 2014. The city said it will set fees for registering rental units to cover its costs, including registration, inspection and recording which units have certified their habitability.Got it. Big business likes the regulation, because they can more easily comply than their smaller competitors, some of whom will drop out (at the margin) and less supply will mean higher prices for those remaining in the market.