Chapter 5.22
RENTAL HOUSING BUSINESS LICENSE AND STRATEGIES

Sections:

5.22.010    Definitions.

5.22.020    Business license – Fee.

5.22.030    Advisory board on rental housing.

5.22.040    Rental housing business license criteria.

5.22.045    Additional rental housing business license criteria for multifamily dwelling units.

5.22.050    License application – Required – Form.

5.22.060    License application – Approval or disapproval procedure.

5.22.070    License – Display – Nontransferability – Responsibility.

5.22.080    License – Revocation.

5.22.090    Employment of law enforcement officers.

5.22.100    Duty to comply with all federal, state and local laws and regulations – Business license revocation.

5.22.110    Reimbursement for transitional costs.

5.22.120    Violation – Penalty.

5.22.130    Nonexclusive enforcement.

5.22.010 Definitions.

The following words and phrases when used in this chapter shall have the meanings set forth below:

A. “Rental housing owners,” as used in this chapter, means the individual(s) and/or business entities owning or having an ownership interest in any rental housing unit(s) within the city of Auburn.

B. “Non-owner managers,” as used in this chapter, means any person(s) or business entity hired or engaged for the purpose of providing management services for any rental housing units within the city of Auburn, where the manager(s) has/have no ownership in the rental housing units being managed.

C. “Rental unit” means any dwelling unit in the city which is occupied pursuant to a lawful rental agreement, oral or written, express or implied, which is not owned by its occupant(s) as a condominium unit or cooperative unit on the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter. For the purposes hereof, “rental housing” and “rental units” shall have the same meaning unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

D. “Residential unit,” as used in this chapter, means a building or portion of a building intended to be occupied by one family and containing sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation facilities as required by this code.

E. “Ongoing criminal activity,” as used in this chapter, occurs when:

1. Within any six-month period, the property of a rental housing business which is subject to the licensing requirements of this chapter, and which has up to 10 rental units, is the location for three or more crimes, as defined by the Revised Code of Washington or the Auburn City Code, as a result of three or more separate factual incidents that have been independently investigated by any law enforcement agency; or

2. Within any 12-month period, the property of a rental housing business which is subject to the licensing requirements of this chapter, and which has more than 10 rental units, is the location for three or more crimes, as defined by the Revised Code of Washington or the Auburn City Code, as a result of three or more separate factual incidents that have been independently investigated by any law enforcement agency.

F. “Ongoing nuisance activity,” as used in this chapter, occurs when:

1. Within any six-month period, the property of a rental housing business which is subject to the licensing requirements of this chapter, and which has up to 10 rental units, is the location for three or more nuisance activities, as defined by the Auburn City Code, as a result of three or more separate factual incidents that have been independently investigated by any law enforcement agency; or

2. Within any 12-month period, the property of a rental housing business which is subject to the licensing requirements of this chapter, and which has more than 10 rental units, is the location for three or more nuisance activities, as defined by the Auburn City Code, as a result of three or more separate factual incidents that have been independently investigated by any law enforcement agency.

G. “Rental housing business,” as used in this chapter, means any person, company, association or entity that rents or leases, or makes available for rent or lease, one or more rental units for rent or lease as residential units. (Ord. 5882 § 1, 2005; Ord. 5651 § 1, 2002.)

5.22.020 Business license – Fee.

Each rental housing business operating in the city, as defined herein, shall obtain and maintain in good standing a “rental housing business license” issued by the city in accordance with the procedures of this chapter and this title.

A. The fee for a rental housing business license shall be as set forth in the city of Auburn fee schedule.

B. The business license fee shall be for the calendar year (January 1st through December 31st), and each applicant for the business license must pay the full business license fee for the current calendar year or portion thereof during which the applicant has engaged in business, regardless of when during the calendar year the license is obtained.

C. The rental housing business license fee required by this chapter is in lieu of, and not in addition to, the general business license fee required by Chapters 5.10 and 5.15 ACC; provided, however, that any person required to obtain a rental housing business license must also obtain a general business license, at no cost, pursuant to Chapters 5.10 and 5.15 ACC. (Ord. 6477 § 1, 2013; Ord. 5882 § 1, 2005; Ord. 5651 § 1, 2002.)

5.22.030 Advisory board on rental housing.

There is hereby established as an advisory board to the city, to be known as the advisory board on rental housing. The advisory board shall be comprised of interested owners and managers of rental housing units and other interested persons, appointed by the mayor to serve on an as-needed basis. The police chief or designee shall serve as an ex officio member of the board. The advisory board shall meet quarterly, or as needed. The advisory board shall act in an advisory capacity and assist the city, as needed, in connection with rental housing related issues in the city and regionally, including:

A. Facilitate cooperation and coordination with the city police department on rental housing issues;

B. Recommend to the city programs and strategies to enhance community awareness of rental housing related issues;

C. Recommend approaches for rental housing training programs, including city and police sponsored training;

D. Develop networking and strategies for city police to deal with rental housing issues and develop partnership and support programs, educational programs, consistent crime-free approaches, “no-tolerance for crime,” property protection and preparation programs;

E. Coordinate, develop and disseminate procedures for tenant screening, rental housing agreements (including language to include enforcement of rules and protection of facilities and neighborhoods), eviction techniques and strategies;

F. Provide ongoing management resources, including regular, periodic meetings, telephone and other response strategies;

G. Monitor inappropriate activities by owners, managers and operators of rental housing units, and counsel said owners, managers and operators in reasonable alternatives – such monitoring to be done through the receipt of complaints or by any other legally viable method;

H. Promote strong ties and build mutually beneficial relationships between police and rental housing operators by teaching methods for recognizing illegal activity, identifying and reporting crimes, knowing police functions and roles, exchanging information with police and other agencies and by using any other reasonable method;

I. Develop linkages to other agencies and resources, including the fire department, HUD and Section 8 Programs, Safe Streets, Neighborhood Watch, etc.;

J. Develop and/or identify dispute resolution alternatives and similar resources that may be utilized in disputes between the owners, managers and operators of rental housing units and tenants, and others with interests therein;

K. Recognize and incorporate programs and procedures that identify and reflect cultural influences and sensitivities, and which promote greater understanding of differences in the tenant/community population;

L. Act as liaison between the rental housing community and the police department whenever possible;

M. Partner, on behalf of the city, with other agencies or entities to seek programs and grants to support and enhance rental housing residential stock in the city; and

N. Participate in such other and related roles and functions as requested by the city. (Ord. 5882 § 1, 2005; Ord. 5651 § 1, 2002.)

5.22.040 Rental housing business license criteria.

A. Managers and operators of rental housing businesses shall comply with the criteria established in this section and chapter in order to maintain their rental housing business license in good standing as required by ACC 5.22.020. The city shall identify and communicate with the managers and operators of rental housing businesses, as it deems appropriate, regarding the criteria established in this chapter. The city shall establish forums for information sharing and enforcement review, as it deems appropriate, in order to encourage voluntary compliance with these criteria prior to mandatory enforcement. Rental housing business owners or their non-owner managers shall comply as necessary with the following specific criteria as well as all other requirements of this chapter in order to maintain their business license in good standing:

1. Attendance and participation in crime-free housing training programs when such are offered by the Auburn police department or other city department and the license holder is given written notice to attend. Attendance and participation may be required by the city whenever a residential unit is the location for any criminal or nuisance activity which results in an arrest for criminal activity or the issuance of an infraction citation in the case of a nuisance, whether or not the arrestee or cited person is a tenant;

2. Mutually derived crime prevention strategies as established and agreed to by and between the city and the rental housing owner and/or manager;

3. City Directed Crime Prevention Strategies. If the implementation of criteria in subsections (A)(1) and (2) of this section is unsuccessful in eliminating recurring criminal or nuisance activity the city will notify the rental housing business owner or manager in writing of the requirement to comply with a particular city directed crime prevention strategy. The city may implement a city directed crime prevention strategy whenever a residential unit is the location for any criminal or nuisance activity which results in an arrest or issuance of a citation whether or not the person arrested or cited is a tenant. Strategies will be reasonably tailored to the particular location and situation and will be consistent with strategies implemented by other municipalities in similar situations;

4. Upon written request, the rental housing owner or manager shall allow inspection of rental housing residential units consistent with their ability to do so under the requirements of the landlord-tenant statutes of the state of Washington and the Auburn City Code. The city may, with the legally obtained consent of an occupant or owner, or pursuant to a lawfully issued warrant, enter any building, structure or premises in the city to inspect or perform any duty imposed by this code;

5. In the event that recurring criminal or nuisance activity continues at any particular location which is subject to the licensing requirements of this chapter and the imposition of criteria in subsections (A)(1) through (4) of this section has failed to eliminate the recurring criminal or nuisance activity at the location, the rental housing owner may hire security officers selected by the manager-operator. Voluntary implementation of manager-operator selected security shall stay revocation of the business license so long as the security is effective in eliminating the recurring criminal and/or nuisance activity at said licensed location;

6. In the event that criminal or nuisance activity continues to occur at any particular location which is subject to the licensing requirements of this chapter and the imposition of criteria in subsections (A)(1) through (4) of this section and implementation of criteria in subsection (A)(5) of this section has failed to eliminate recurring criminal or nuisance activity at the particular location the rental housing owner may request or agree to city directed off-duty police security. Voluntary implementation of city directed off-duty police security shall stay revocation of the business license so long as the security is effective in eliminating ongoing criminal and/or nuisance activity at the particular licensed location;

7. In the event that the rental housing business owner does not comply with criteria in subsections (A)(1) through (6) of this section, the city may revoke the rental housing business owner’s license. Business license revocation shall be the ultimate resort for enforcement purposes. Business license revocation shall occur as otherwise set out in this chapter.

B. The criteria listed above shall be implemented in a priority beginning with criteria in subsection (A)(1) of this section and ending with criteria in subsection (A)(7) of this section. It is envisioned that most problems can be resolved by participation in crime-free housing training and implementation of its recommended practices. Failure to participate in strategies in subsections (A)(1) through (6) of this section may subject the licensed/registered party to revocation. Any expense incurred in connection with subsections (A)(2) through (5) of this section will be borne by the licensed/registered party.

It is further provided that the “inspection of the residential units of rental housing units,” subsection (A)(4) of this section, includes inspection of residential units in the complex for any applicable health, building, fire, housing or life-safety code violations, or other serious violations.

C. The following requirements are established for communal residences as defined in ACC Title 18.

1. The owner/landlord must provide the following information and any additional information on the rental business license application form at the time of submittal:

a. Total number of bedrooms in the rental unit.

b. Total number of occupants.

2. The owner/landlord must provide updated information for each of the items outlined in subsection (C)(1) of this section each year with their rental business license renewal.

3. The owner/landlord must sign a statement that confirms their understanding and acceptance of the conditions and obligations incurred as a landlord. At a minimum, the statement will:

a. Outline the landlord’s responsibilities for providing a safe living environment for their tenants.

b. That structural additions and modifications are to be properly permitted and inspected.

c. That garbage and recycling will be properly managed.

d. That adequate off-street parking will be provided for all tenants meeting the requirements of ACC 18.31.130.

e. That noise and other public nuisances, see ACC Title 8, will be monitored and controlled.

f. That annual inspections are required in order to obtain a rental housing business license.

g. That anyone under the age of 18 is subject to the curfew regulations in Chapter 9.10 ACC.

4. If the owner/landlord is in violation of the requirements for a communal residence, then the code enforcement actions outlined in Chapter 1.25 ACC will be taken. (Ord. 6477 § 2, 2013; Ord. 5882 § 1, 2005; Ord. 5651 § 1, 2002.)

5.22.045 Additional rental housing business license criteria for multifamily dwelling units.

In addition to the business license criteria set forth in ACC 5.22.040, rental housing businesses consisting of multifamily dwelling units shall comply with the following license requirements:

A. Property owners, property managers, landlords, and their agents who offer for rent or lease “multifamily dwelling units” as defined in this section may not refuse to rent or lease such a dwelling unit to any residential tenant or prospective residential tenant or otherwise discriminate or retaliate against any residential tenant or prospective residential tenant solely on the basis that the person proposes to pay a portion of the rent from a “source of income” as defined in this section.

B. If property owners, property managers, landlords, and/or their agents elect to use a rent to income ratio in the rent calculation process any form of income, such as a rent voucher or subsidy, shall be deducted from the total monthly rent calculation for meeting income criteria in the rental screening process.

C. For the purposes hereof, the following definitions shall apply:

1. “Multifamily dwelling units” means housing where two or more separate housing units for residential inhabitants are contained within one building or several buildings within one complex.

2. “Source of income” includes income derived from social security, supplemental security income, other retirement programs, and any federal, state, and local subsidy programs, including housing assistance, public assistance, and general assistance programs.

D. The provisions of this section shall not apply if the dwelling unit does not qualify for participation in the tenant’s “source of income” program. However, any property owner, manager or agent that refuses to rent a dwelling unit to a person based upon the proposed use of funds from a “source of income” must notify that person in writing of the reasons why the dwelling unit is ineligible for participation in the particular “source of income” program. Refusal to allow a health and safety inspection of the property by a public housing authority or subsidy program inspector shall not be considered a legitimate basis for refusing to rent due to program ineligibility.

E. The provisions of this section shall not apply where one portion of a duplex unit is owner occupied. (Ord. 6652 § 1, 2017.)

5.22.050 License application – Required – Form.

A. Every person required to have a license under the provisions of this chapter shall submit an application for such license to the business license clerk, as designated by the mayor. The application shall be a written statement upon a form provided by the business license clerk.

B. Whenever a license cannot be issued at the time the application for the same is made, the business license clerk shall issue a receipt to the applicant for the money paid in advance subject to the following conditions: such receipt shall not be construed as the approval of the business license clerk for the issuance of a license, nor shall it entitle or authorize the applicant to open or maintain any business contrary to the provisions of this chapter. (Ord. 5897 § 12, 2005; Ord. 5882 § 1, 2005; Ord. 5651 § 1, 2002.)

5.22.060 License application – Approval or disapproval procedure.

The business license clerk shall collect all license fees and shall issue licenses in the name of the city to all persons qualified under the provisions of this chapter and shall:

A. Adopt all forms and prescribe the information required to implement this chapter;

B. Submit all applications to department heads of the city of Auburn building, fire, planning and police departments;

C. Notify any applicant of the acceptance or rejection of his/her application and shall, upon denial of any license, state in writing the reasons therefor, the process for appeal and deliver them to the applicant;

D. Deny any application for license upon written findings that the granting would violate this chapter. A violation of this chapter shall be considered to be detrimental to the public peace, health or welfare:

1. Whenever any such license is denied the applicant may within 15 days from date of action file written notice of appeal to the city’s hearing examiner. Action of the hearing examiner may be appealed 15 days from date of action to the city council and action of the council shall be conclusive and not subject to review.

2. When the issuance is denied and any action instituted by the applicant to compel its issuance, such applicant shall not engage in the business for which the license was refused unless a license is issued pursuant to a judgment ordering the same. (Ord. 5897 § 13, 2005; Ord. 5882 § 1, 2005; Ord. 5651 § 1, 2002.)

5.22.070 License – Display – Nontransferability – Responsibility.

A. Upon receipt of the license, the license shall be retained on the premises of the rental housing business owner’s principal office or place of business where it may be inspected at any time, or shall be carried, as appropriate.

B. No license issued under the provisions of this chapter shall be transferable or assignable.

C. The agents or other representatives of nonresidents who are doing business in this city shall be personally responsible for the compliance of their principals and the businesses they represent with this chapter. (Ord. 5882 § 1, 2005; Ord. 5651 § 1, 2002.)

5.22.080 License – Revocation.

A. Any license issued under the provisions of this chapter may be revoked by the mayor or designee and/or police chief and/or building official and/or fire chief for any reason if the further operation thereof would be in violation of this chapter and therefore detrimental to public peace, health or welfare. Any license issued under the provisions of this chapter may also be revoked in the following circumstances:

1. The license was obtained through fraud or misrepresentation of fact;

2. The owner or manager has been convicted of a crime, or suffered civil judgment or is the subject of a consent decree which bears a direct relationship to the rental housing business;

3. The owner or manager takes action or contributes to action in violation of the city’s zoning codes or development regulations, or commits or permits a public nuisance on the premises licensed pursuant to this chapter;

B. Except in the case of emergency due to significant physical danger to one or more tenants, a notice of intent to revoke the business license shall be mailed to the owner and posted on the premises at least 30 days in advance of the effective date for revocation. In the case of emergency described above the notice of intent to revoke shall be provided to the owner and posted on the premises as early as possible. The premises shall be completely vacated upon the date the revocation becomes effective unless the city determines that there is no imminent physical danger to the tenants. If the city determines that there is no imminent physical danger they may make arrangements with the tenants to continue to reside on the premises for a reasonable amount of time in order to allow time for orderly relocation. Whenever any such license is revoked or notice of impending revocation is sent out, the licensee may within 15 days from date of action file written notice of appeal to the city’s hearing examiner. Action of the hearing examiner may be appealed within 15 days from date of action to the city council and action of the council shall be conclusive and not subject to review. (Ord. 5882 § 1, 2005; Ord. 5651 § 1, 2002.)

5.22.090 Employment of law enforcement officers.

In the event the owner, operator or manager of the rental housing business secures the services of one or more law enforcement officer(s) to properly enforce the applicable laws, rules and regulations and to maintain order in the rental housing business, pursuant to ACC 5.22.040(A)(6), all expense for such service shall be borne by the rental housing business owner, manager or operator. (Ord. 5882 § 1, 2005; Ord. 5651 § 1, 2002.)

5.22.100 Duty to comply with all federal, state and local laws and regulations – Business license revocation.

All persons licensed pursuant to this chapter must comply with all federal, state and local laws and regulations which relate to or in any way affect the rental housing business, including all criminal laws for which the violation could negatively affect the tenants of rental housing units. Violation of this section shall constitute grounds for revocation of the business license. (Ord. 5882 § 1, 2005; Ord. 5651 § 1, 2002.)

5.22.110 Reimbursement for transitional costs.

In the event that a rental housing business is closed by the city or any agency acting on behalf of or in coordination with the city stemming from enforcement of the provisions of this chapter or any applicable criminal code or any health, building, fire, housing or life-safety code, or other serious violations, it shall be a prerequisite condition for the license to be reinstated and/or the rental housing units to be allowed to re-open/available for rental that the operator of the rental housing business reimburse the city for any transitional costs and/or tenant relocation costs incurred by the city that are directly attributable to such closure. For the purposes hereof, “transitional costs and/or tenant relocation costs” include but are not limited to tenant travel costs and temporary hotel vouchers or other expenses incurred to procure alternate housing following tenant displacement for a reasonable time to alleviate the impacts of displacement. The amounts of such costs shall be as determined in the discretion of the mayor in consultation with the police chief and with representatives of agencies engaged in providing social services within the city. It is provided, however, that nothing in this chapter shall preclude the city from seeking and obtaining funds from grants or other sources to cover or help defray the transitional costs, and receipt of such grants or other funds shall not relieve the operators of the rental housing businesses from the reimbursement requirements hereof. (Ord. 5882 § 1, 2005; Ord. 5651 § 1, 2002.)

5.22.120 Violation – Penalty.

Failure of a rental housing business owner, manager or operator to operate a rental housing business without obtaining or maintaining in good standing a rental housing business license, as required by this chapter, is punishable in accordance with ACC 5.15.110. (Ord. 6567 § 4, 2016; Ord. 5882 § 1, 2005; Ord. 5651 § 1, 2002.)

5.22.130 Nonexclusive enforcement.

The city’s action to enforce one provision of this chapter or to pursue one avenue of enforcement shall not preclude the city from enforcing any other provision of this chapter and/or from pursuing any other avenue of enforcement, and the mayor or designated city official is entitled to use any methods or processes available under the law to enforce the requirements hereof. (Ord. 5882 § 1, 2005; Ord. 5651 § 1, 2002.)