Chapter 5.06
RENTAL PROPERTY REGISTRATION

Sections:

5.06.010    PURPOSE.

5.06.020    DEFINITIONS.

5.06.030    REGISTRATION AND DECLARATION REQUIRED.

5.06.040    VIOLATIONS AND INSPECTIONS.

5.06.050    INSPECTION FINDINGS - REVIEW AND APPEAL.

5.06.060    ADMINISTRATIVE APPEALS.

5.06.070    VIOLATIONS AND ENFORCEMENT.

5.06.010 PURPOSE.

The City Council finds that rental housing is a valuable community asset, providing homes for all income levels. Additionally, the City Council finds that there exists rental housing in the City that is below the minimum building standards and appears to violate RCW 59.18.060 of the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act and that such substandard conditions constitute a public nuisance. As a result, to ensure the public health, safety, and welfare of its citizens and the maintenance of quality rental housing in the City, this code establishes a program to prevent and correct conditions in residential rental units that adversely affect or are likely to adversely affect the health, safety, and welfare of the public. It is the purpose of this chapter to assure that rental housing within the City is actively operated and maintained in compliance with RCW 59.18.060. (Ord. 5269 §1 (part), 2015: Ord. 5221 §1 (part), 2013)

5.06.020 DEFINITIONS.

"BMC" means Bremerton Municipal Code.

"Building Code" means the City Building Code set forth in Chapter 17.04 BMC.

"Certificate of inspection" means a certificate made in accordance with the requirements of RCW 9A.72.085 by a qualified inspector on forms provided by the City that states that the owner of rental property has not failed to fulfill any substantial obligation imposed under RCW 59.18.060 of the Landlord-Tenant Act, as defined in this section, that endangers or impairs the health or safety of a tenant.

"Code enforcement officer" means code enforcement officer as defined in Chapter 1.04 BMC.

"Declaration of compliance" means an unsworn statement, declaration, verification, or certificate made in accordance with the forms provided by the City that each dwelling unit complies with RCW 59.18.060 of the Landlord-Tenant Act as defined in this section, as currently enacted and hereinafter amended, and does not present conditions that endanger or impair the health or safety of the tenants.

"Director" means the Director of Community Development or designee as applicable and any other department director authorized by the Mayor to enforce this chapter, or their designee, including, but not limited to, code enforcement officer, Building Official and other designated City official.

"Dwelling unit" means any structure or part of a structure which is used as a home, residence, or sleeping place by one (1) or more persons maintaining a common household, including but not limited to single-family residences, a room, rooming units, units of multiplexes, condominiums, apartment buildings, mobile homes and other similar residential structures.

"Fire Code" means the City Fire Code set forth in Chapter 18.02 BMC.

"Landlord" means the owner of rental property.

"Landlord-Tenant Act" means the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act set forth in Chapter 59.18 RCW, as currently enacted and hereinafter amended.

"Owner" means one (1) or more persons, jointly or severally, in whom is vested all or any part of the legal title to rental property or all or part of the beneficial ownership and a right to present use and enjoyment of the property.

"Person" means an individual, group of individuals, corporation, government, governmental agency, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, association, two (2) or more persons having a joint or common interest, or any other legal or commercial entity.

"Qualified inspector" means a United States Department of Housing and Urban Development certified inspector, a Washington State licensed home inspector, an American Society of Home Inspectors certified inspector, a private inspector certified by the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, the American Association of Code Enforcement, International Code Council certified inspector, or other comparable professional association as approved by the Director of Community Development, a Washington licensed structural engineer, or a Washington licensed architect. An "owner" as defined in this section is not eligible to act as a qualified inspector.

"RCW" means Revised Code of Washington.

"RCW 59.18.060 of the Landlord-Tenant Act" means, for the purpose of this chapter, RCW 59.18.060(1) through (10), as currently enacted or hereinafter amended, relating to the landlord’s duties, which provide as follows: (1) maintain the premises to substantially comply with any applicable code, statute, ordinance, or regulation governing their maintenance or operation, which the legislative body enacting the applicable code, statute, ordinance or regulation could enforce as to the premises rented if such condition endangers or impairs the health or safety of the tenant; (2) maintain the structural components, including, but not limited to, the roofs, floors, walls, chimneys, fireplaces, foundations, and all other structural components, in reasonably good repair so as to be usable; (3) keep any shared or common areas reasonably clean, sanitary, and safe from defects increasing the hazards of fire or accident; (4) provide a reasonable program for the control of infestation by insects, rodents, and other pests at the initiation of the tenancy and, except in the case of a single-family residence, control infestation during tenancy except where such infestation is caused by the tenant; (5) except where the condition is attributable to normal wear and tear, make repairs and arrangements necessary to put and keep the premises in as good condition as it by law or rental agreement should have been, at the commencement of the tenancy; (6) provide reasonably adequate locks and furnish keys to the tenant; (7) maintain all electrical, plumbing, heating, and other facilities and appliances supplied by him or her in reasonably good working order; (8) maintain the dwelling unit in reasonably weathertight condition; (9) except in the case of a single-family residence, provide and maintain appropriate receptacles in common areas for the removal of ashes, rubbish, and garbage incidental to the occupancy and arrange for the reasonable and regular removal of such waste; (10) provide facilities adequate to supply heat and water and hot water as reasonably required by the tenant.

"Rental property" or "property" means all residential dwelling units rented or leased on a contiguous parcel or parcels of land managed by the same landlord as a single rental complex.

"Tenant" is any person who is entitled to occupy a dwelling unit primarily for living or dwelling purposes with or without a rental agreement. (Ord. 5269 §1 (part), 2015: Ord. 5221 §1 (part), 2013)

5.06.030 REGISTRATION AND DECLARATION REQUIRED.

(a)    Registration and Declaration of Compliance. Any landlord renting or making available for rent any "dwelling unit" as defined in BMC 5.06.020 that requires a general business license pursuant to Chapter 5.02 BMC shall annually with the general business license application or renewal:

(1)    Register each dwelling unit;

(2)    Provide the City with the landlord’s name and contact information;

(3)    Provide the City with the name and contact information of any person designated by the landlord as an alternate contact or as a representative of the landlord responsible for the management of the rental property (optional);

(4)    Provide an email or mailing address or other method of contact as approved by the Bremerton Police Department for participation in the Department’s landlord notification program for notice of police activity on the rental property; and

(5)    File with and as part of the registration a declaration of compliance as defined in BMC 5.06.020 that each dwelling unit complies with RCW 59.18.060 of the Landlord-Tenant Act and does not present conditions that endanger or impair the health or safety of the tenants.

(b)    Conditions of Issuance. Issuance of the general business license shall require:

(1)    Registration of dwelling units and providing the landlord’s name and contact information as required in subsection (a) of this section;

(2)    Submission of a declaration of compliance as required in subsection (a) of this section or, as applicable, submission of certificate of inspection if required by BMC 5.06.040;

(3)    Payment of applicable fees; and

(4)    Compliance with this chapter.

(c)    Revocation or Denial. Any general business license issued under Chapter 5.02 BMC may be revoked or denied for any violation of this chapter by the licensee or his or her agents or employees pursuant to BMC 5.02.180. (Ord. 5269 §1 (part), 2015: Ord. 5221 §1 (part), 2013)

5.06.040 VIOLATIONS AND INSPECTIONS.

To ensure compliance with RCW 59.18.060 of the Landlord-Tenant Act related to conditions of rental housing, the following shall apply:

(a)    Pending Violation - Correction Notice. Whenever the City is provided notice of a violation of the Building Code, the Fire Code, and/or violations of any other applicable City code or state law which endangers or impairs the health or safety of a tenant, the City code enforcement officer shall issue a correction notice to the owner pursuant to Chapter 1.04 BMC. Notice to the City of the violation may be provided as a result of a pending code enforcement proceeding or other similar action on rental property, an on-site visit by a City official, or by any other means. The owner shall cure the violation in the time period as requested by the code enforcement officer or provide a plan acceptable to the City to bring the property into compliance with RCW 59.18.060 for any existing violation.

(b)    Notice of Violation - Hearing. In the event the owner does not or cannot cure the violation or obtain an approved plan within the required time period stated in the correction notice, a notice of violation shall be mailed or otherwise served to the owner scheduling a hearing before the Administrative Hearing Examiner pursuant to BMC 1.04.080.

(c)    Certificate of Inspection - Required. In the event a hearing is held before the Administrative Hearing Examiner and an order is issued requiring the owner to cure the violation, the City may request, as part of the order, that the owner obtain a certificate of inspection pursuant to this section. The certificate of inspection must be provided by a qualified inspector for the subject rental property to ensure full compliance with the order and with RCW 59.18.060 of the Landlord-Tenant Act and does not present conditions that endanger or impair the health or safety of a tenant. The dwelling unit or units of the rental property to be inspected and the extent of the inspection shall be as required by the Administrative Hearing Examiner’s order.

(d)    Filing of Certificate of Inspection. The certificate of inspection shall be filed with the City by the date and upon the conditions required by the Administrative Hearing Examiner’s order. If a qualified inspector other than a City code enforcement officer performs the inspection and a selected unit or units of the rental property fails the initial inspection, both the results of the initial inspection and any certificate of inspection must be provided to the City.

(e)    False Reporting - Misdemeanor. Any person who knowingly submits or assists in the submission of a falsified declaration of compliance or certificate of inspection is guilty of a misdemeanor pursuant to BMC 1.12.020(2). Any inspector convicted of, admitting to or submitting a falsified certificate of inspection will no longer be a qualified inspector as defined under BMC 5.06.020.

(f)    Notice of Inspection to Tenant. Notice to tenant of an inspection shall be provided as follows:

(1)    Landlord shall provide written notification of his or her intent to enter an individual unit for the purposes of providing the City a certificate of inspection in accordance with RCW 59.18.150(6) of the Landlord-Tenant Act. The written notice must indicate the date and approximate time of the inspection and the company or person performing the inspection, and that the tenant has the right to see the inspector’s identification before the inspector enters the individual unit. A copy of this notice must be provided to the inspector upon request on the day of inspection.

(2)    A tenant who continues to deny access to his or her unit is subject to RCW 59.18.150(8) of the Landlord-Tenant Act. (Ord. 5269 §1 (part), 2015: Ord. 5221 §1 (part), 2013)

5.06.050 INSPECTION FINDINGS - REVIEW AND APPEAL.

(a)    Administrative Review of Findings. If a landlord does not agree with the findings of an inspection performed by a qualified inspector, as defined under this chapter, the landlord may request an administrative review by the Director by filing a written request with the Department of Community Development within fourteen (14) calendar days of the inspection or may file a direct appeal to the Administrative Hearing Examiner pursuant to BMC 5.06.060. The request shall state in writing the reasons the Director should review the findings. Failure to state the basis for the review in writing shall be cause for dismissal of the review. Upon receipt of the request for administrative review, the Director shall review the information provided. In lieu of filing an appeal with the Director, an appeal may also be made directly to the Administrative Hearing Examiner pursuant to subsection (c) of this section within thirty (30) calendar days of the inspection.

(b)    Decision of Director. After considering all of the information provided, including information from the code enforcement officer and the City Attorney, or his or her designee, the Director shall affirm or modify the findings of inspection. The Director’s decision shall be delivered in writing to the appellant by first-class mail, email or hand delivery.

(c)    Administrative Appeal. Appeals of the decision resulting from the Director’s review shall be made to the Administrative Hearing Examiner pursuant to BMC 5.06.060. (Ord. 5269 §1 (part), 2015: Ord. 5221 §1 (part), 2013)

5.06.060 ADMINISTRATIVE APPEALS.

(a)    Administrative appeals may be filed as follows:

(1)    General Business License. Revocation or denial of a general business license issued pursuant to Chapter 5.02 BMC may be appealed as provided in BMC 5.02.180.

(2)    Penalties, Director’s Decision and Findings of an Inspection. The assessment of penalties pursuant to BMC 5.06.070, a decision of the Director pursuant to BMC 5.06.050(b) and the findings of an inspection performed by a qualified inspector pursuant to BMC 5.06.040(c) ("administrative determination") may be appealed using the appellate procedures set forth in this section.

(b)    Any applicant or licensee may, within fourteen (14) calendar days from the date notice of the administrative determination was mailed to the applicant or licensee, appeal such administrative determination by filing a written notice of appeal setting forth the grounds thereof with the Administrative Hearing Examiner pursuant to Chapter 2.13 BMC. A filing fee as set forth in Chapter 3.01 BMC, Community Development - Rate Table C, shall be submitted with the appeal. The filing fee is required to process the appeal. The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures for hearing contested cases set out in Chapter 2.13 BMC. After the hearing thereon the Administrative Hearing Examiner shall, after appropriate findings of fact, and conclusions of law, affirm, modify, or overrule the denial or revocation and order issuance or reinstatement of the license, and may impose any terms thereupon.

(c)    No administrative determination issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall take effect until fourteen (14) calendar days after service of the notice thereof by the Director, and if the appeal is timely filed, the administrative determination shall be stayed pending final action by the Administrative Hearing Examiner.

(d)    The decision of the Administrative Hearing Examiner shall be final. The applicant or licensee and/or the City may seek review of the decision by the Superior Court of Washington in and for Kitsap County within twenty-one (21) calendar days from the date of the decision. If review is sought as herein prescribed the administrative determination shall be stayed pending final action by the Superior Court. (Ord. 5269 §1 (part), 2015: Ord. 5221 §1 (part), 2013)

5.06.070 VIOLATIONS AND ENFORCEMENT.

Violations of this chapter constitute a public nuisance and may be enforced, in addition to the provisions of this chapter, pursuant to the Building Code; the Fire Code; Chapter 9.92 BMC, Chronic Nuisance Properties; BMC Title 6, Health and Sanitation; and/or any other applicable City code or state law. In the event of a violation of the provisions of this chapter, the City may take the following action:

(a)    Remedies. If the City finds that any landlord fails to register a rental dwelling unit as required herein or file the required certificate of inspection as applicable and/or violates any other provision of this chapter, the City may take any one (1) or more of the following actions to remedy the violation:

(1)    Impose a civil penalty as set forth in Chapter 3.01 BMC, Community Development - Rate Table C; and/or

(2)    Revoke or deny the general business license issued pursuant to Chapter 5.02 BMC as authorized in BMC 5.02.180.

(b)    Code Enforcement. In addition to the remedies set forth in subsection (a) of this section, any violation of any provision of this chapter constitutes a civil violation under Chapter 1.04 BMC for which a monetary penalty may be assessed and abatement and/or enforcement may be required as provided therein. (Ord. 5269 §1 (part), 2015: Ord. 5221 §1 (part), 2013)