Chapter 15.30
RENTAL LICENSES

Sections:

15.30.010    Definitions.

15.30.020    License required.

15.30.030    Adoption of Uniform Housing Code.

15.30.040    Inspection required.

15.30.045    Crime-free rental housing program.

15.30.050    Rental license fee.

15.30.060    Exemptions.

15.30.070    Violations.

15.30.080    Procedures for revocation of business license.

15.30.990    Severability.

15.30.010 Definitions.

A.    “Person” means any individual, firm, partnership, limited liability company, corporation, association, receiver, assignee, trustee in bankruptcy, trust, estate, joint venture, club, joint stock company, business trust, society, or any group of individuals acting as a unit.

B.    “Residential dwelling unit” means any structure or part of a structure which is used as a home, residence or sleeping place by one, two, or more persons maintaining a common household, including but not limited to single-family residences and units of multiplexes, apartment buildings and mobile homes.

C.    “Criminal activity” means a criminal act defined by statute or ordinance that threatens the health, safety, or welfare of the tenants, owner, guests, occupants, or property manager. (Ord. 2888 § 1, 2014: Ord. 2692 § 2, 2010).

15.30.020 License required.

A.    Beginning July 1, 2012, no person shall make available for rent, or rent, lease, or let, to the public any residential dwelling unit without securing and maintaining a current rental license as required by this chapter within forty-five days from when the residential dwelling unit first became available for rent or lease.

B.    Beginning July 1, 2012, any person who makes available for rent, or rents, leases, or lets, to the public any residential dwelling unit shall secure a rental license for each residential dwelling unit including the following:

1.    The applicant for a business license shall provide a certification warranting that each such residential dwelling unit complies with the Uniform Housing Code as adopted by the city and does not present conditions that endanger or impair the health or safety of the tenants.

2.    If participation in the Prosser crime-free rental housing program is required by Section 15.30.045, the applicant for business license shall provide a certificate from the city’s chief of police warranting that the owner is participating in such program.

C.    Issuance of the license shall be contingent upon compliance with this chapter, submission of the certification of inspection required by this chapter, submission of the certification of the chief of police that the owner is participating in the Prosser crime-free housing program, if required by this chapter, and payment of the fee as provided for in this chapter.

D.    The provisions of this chapter shall prevail over any inconsistent provision in Title 5.

E.    The city administrator, or his or her designee, under the direction of the mayor, is authorized to adopt, publish and enforce rules and regulations consistent with this chapter for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this chapter, including, but not limited to, the adoption of application forms.

F.    Licenses shall expire on December 31st each year. (Ord. 2997 § 1, 2017: Ord. 2930 § 1, 2015: Ord. 2785 § 1, 2012: Ord. 2776 § 1, 2012: Ord. 2756 § 1, 2011: Ord. 2692 § 3, 2010).

15.30.030 Adoption of Uniform Housing Code.

There is adopted and by this reference made a part of this chapter as though fully set forth herein at length that certain code, known as the Uniform Housing Code. (Ord. 2692 § 4, 2010).

15.30.040 Inspection required.

A.    As a condition for the issuance of a rental license provided by this chapter, the applicant shall provide a certificate of inspection that all of the applicant’s residential dwelling units covered by the license comply with the standards of the Uniform Housing Code, and do not present conditions that endanger or impair the health or safety of a tenant including:

1.    Structural members that are insufficient in size or strength to carry imposed loads with safety;

2.    Exposure of the occupants to the weather;

3.    Plumbing and sanitation defects that directly expose the occupants to the risk of illness or injury;

4.    Lack of water, including hot water;

5.    Heating or ventilation systems that are not functional or are hazardous;

6.    Defective, hazardous, or missing electrical wiring or electrical service;

7.    Defective or inadequate exits that increase the risk of injury to occupants;

8.    Violations that increase the risks of fire; or

9.    Violations of other applicable codes, rules or regulations.

B.    Timing of Inspection. To facilitate the availability of an inspection by each applicant, at the time of application, an inspection renewal period shall be established upon which the applicant shall submit its initial certificate of inspection within forty-five days from the date of application and the corresponding renewal date of the certificate of inspection five years thereafter. Certificates of inspection shall be submitted no later than the last day established above.

C.    Inspectors. The applicant shall submit a certificate of inspection based upon the physical inspection of the dwelling units conducted not more than ninety days prior to the date of the certificate of inspection and compliance certified by one of the following:

1.    A city of Prosser code enforcement officer or building official;

2.    Inspectors certified by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development for grant-required inspections;

3.    Certified private inspectors approved by the city upon evidence of completion of formal training including the passing of an examination administered by the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO), the American Association of Code Enforcement (AACE) or other comparable professional association as approved by the city administrator or his or her designee, which approval or denial shall be subject to appeal to the city council;

4.    A Washington licensed structural engineer; or

5.    A Washington licensed architect.

All inspection certifications shall be submitted on forms provided by the city or approved by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In the event that the applicant has a Prosser code enforcement officer or the building official inspect the residential dwelling unit, then the applicant shall pay an inspection fee in the amount established by resolution or ordinance of the city council.

D.    Other Inspections. Nothing herein shall preclude such additional inspections as may be conducted pursuant to the tenant remedy provided by RCW 59.18.115 of the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act at the request or consent of a tenant, or issued pursuant to a warrant. (Ord. 2930 § 2, 2015: Ord. 2692 § 5, 2010).

15.30.045 Crime-free rental housing program.

A.    The city of Prosser implements the Prosser crime-free rental housing program. Unless required by this chapter, participation in the Prosser crime-free rental housing program is voluntary. The city has established and will continue, through the city’s police department, a crime-free rental housing program that will be an active coalition of property owners, managers, residents and law enforcement with the goal of reducing crime and improving the quality of life for residents of rental housing. The crime-free rental housing program shall consist of the following:

1.    Workshop. Property owners, or their agent, manager and/or leasing staff will receive workshop training that will include training on rental applications, rental agreements, tenant screening, evictions, Section 8 housing, working with the police, criminal activity identification, drug use in rental properties, gang activity identification and crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED).

2.    Public Records. The city police department will provide or make available for review, without cost and upon request, public records of activities occurring on rental property and of activities involving rental applicants and other occupants to property owners, managers and leasing staff of the affected property.

3.    Certification that the owner/licensee requires execution of a crime-free lease/rental agreement addendum, substantially in the form below:

CRIME-FREE LEASE/RENTAL AGREEMENT ADDENDUM

Crime-Free Rental Housing Program

Rental property Name or Owner Name:

_________________________________

Full Rental Unit Address:

_________________________________

In consideration of the agreement for or execution or renewal of a lease/rental agreement of the dwelling unit identified in this addendum, Owner and Resident agree as follows:

1. Neither resident, nor any member of the resident’s household, nor a guest, nor other person under the resident’s control shall engage in criminal activity, including but not limited to drug-related criminal activity, on or near the said premises. “Drug-related criminal activity” means the illegal manufacture, sale, distribution, or use; or possession with intent to manufacture, sell, distribute or use a controlled substance (as defined in Section 102 of the Controlled Substance Act (21 U.S.C. Section 8021)).

2. Neither resident, nor any member of the resident’s household, nor a guest, nor other person under the resident’s control shall engage in any act intended to facilitate criminal activity, including but not limited to drug-related criminal activity, on or near the said premises.

3. Neither resident, nor any member of the resident’s household, nor a guest, nor any other person under the resident’s control shall permit the dwelling unit to be used for or to facilitate criminal activity including but not limited to drug-related criminal activity, regardless of whether the individual engaging in such activity is a member of the household or a guest.

4. Neither resident, nor any member of the resident’s household, nor a guest, nor any other person under the resident’s control shall engage in the unlawful manufacturing, selling, using, storing, keeping or giving of a controlled substance as defined in RCW 69.41, 69.43, 69.50, 69.52, 69.55 on or near the dwelling unit premises.

5. Neither resident, nor any member of the resident’s household, nor a guest, nor any other person under the resident’s control shall engage in any criminal activity on or near the said premises, including but not limited to the following:

a. prostitution as defined in RCW 9A.88;

b. criminal street gang activity as defined in RCW 9.94A;

c. any criminal street gang activity whether on or near the dwelling unit premises or otherwise, that cause the residence or neighboring residence(s) to be targeted by rival gang members;

d. threatening or intimidating as prohibited in RCW 9A.46;

e. assault as prohibited in RCW 9A.36 and 9A.44, including but not limited to the unlawful discharge of firearms on or near the dwelling unit premises; or

f. any breach of the lease/rental agreement that jeopardizes the health, safety and welfare of the landlord, landlord’s agent or other tenants, or involving imminent serious property damage, as defined in RCW 9A.48, including but not limited to:

i. any theft as prohibited in RCW 9A.56;

ii. any burglary or car prowl as prohibited in RCW 9A.52;

iii. unlawful restraint of another as prohibited in RCW 9A.40; or

iv. engaging in any nuisance in violation of Chapter 8.26 of the Prosser Municipal Code.

6. FAILURE OF ANY RESIDENT, ANY MEMBER OF THE RESIDENT’S HOUSEHOLD, ANY GUEST, OR ANY OTHER PERSON UNDER THE RESIDENT’S CONTROL TO COMPLY WITH THE ABOVE PROVISIONS SHALL BE A MATERIAL NONCOMPLIANCE WITH THE LEASE/RENTAL AGREEMENT AND SHALL ENTITLE THE LANDLORD TO GIVE NOTICE TO COMPLY OR QUIT (IF REQUIRED BY LAW) AND TO PURSUE ALL REMEDIES AVAILABLE TO THE LANDLORD UNDER THE RESIDENTIAL LANDLORD-TENANT ACT OF 1973 (REVISED CODE OF WASHINGTON CHAPTER 59.18), AND ALL OTHER REMEDIES OTHERWISE PROVIDED BY LAW TO TERMINATE THE TENANCY AND EVICT THE RESIDENTS.

7. Unless otherwise required by law, proof of criminal activity shall not require criminal conviction, but shall be by a preponderance of the evidence.

8. Landlord, or his/her agent, upon notification in writing by Prosser Police, of any failure of a resident, any member of the resident’s household, or a guest, or any other person under the resident’s control, to comply with any provision of this addendum, will within thirty days of receipt of such notice, serve notice on the residents to comply or quit (if required by law) and pursue all remedies against the residents available to the landlord under the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act of 1973, and all other remedies provided by law to terminate the tenancy and evict the residents.

9. In case of conflict between the provisions of this addendum and any other provisions of the lease/rental agreement, the provisions of the addendum shall govern; provided that in the event any provision of this addendum is prohibited by the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act of 1973, such prohibited provision shall be of no force or effect.

10. This LEASE/RENTAL AGREEMENT ADDENDUM is incorporated into the lease/rental agreement agreed upon, executed or renewed this date between Owner and Resident.

Resident’s Signature:

________________________________

Date: _________

Owner/Property Manager’s Signature:

_______________________________

Date: _________

4.    Pursuit of remedies for failure to comply with the crime-free lease/rental agreement addendum.

B.    Each owner/licensee participating in the Prosser crime-free rental housing program, or the owner’s/licensee’s designee who actively manages the rental housing facility, will attend and complete, at least every two years, the city police department’s crime-free rental housing workshop or shall provide evidence, satisfactory to the police chief, of successful completion of an equivalent program.

C.    Upon successful completion of the crime-free rental housing workshop, the owner/licensee or designee shall receive a “certificate of completion” from the city police department attesting that the owner/licensee or designee has successfully completed the crime-free rental housing workshop.

D.    Each owner/licensee participating in the Prosser crime-free rental housing program must provide proof of attendance at the workshop within six months of application for licensing or with any change in management responsibility of a rental property.

E.    Each owner/licensee participating in the Prosser crime-free rental housing program shall require the execution of a crime-free lease/rental agreement addendum that applies to any and all residential rental/lease agreements of the owner/licensee as follows:

1.    In the absence of a rental/lease agreement, the owner/licensee must require execution of a crime-free lease/rental agreement addendum within two months of the execution of the agreement to participate in the Prosser crime-free rental housing program.

2.    If the existing rental/lease agreement is month to month, the owner/licensee must require execution of a crime-free lease/rental agreement addendum within two months of the execution of the agreement to participate in the Prosser crime-free rental housing program.

3.    If a written residential rental/lease agreement for a specific term is in effect on the date of execution of the agreement to participate in the Prosser crime-free rental housing program, the owner/licensee must require execution of a crime-free lease/rental agreement addendum upon renewal or continuation not specifically provided for in such rental/lease agreement.

4.    The owner/licensee shall require execution of a crime-free lease/rental agreement addendum in all written residential rental/lease agreements for a specific term executed after the execution of the agreement to participate in the Prosser crime-free rental housing program.

F.    An owner/licensee participating in the Prosser crime-free rental housing program, or his/her agent, upon notification in writing by the Prosser police of any failure of a resident, any member of the resident’s household, or a guest or any other person under the resident’s control, to comply with the crime-free lease/rental agreement addendum will, within thirty calendar days of receipt of such notice, serve notice on the residents to comply or quit (if required by law) and pursue all remedies against the residents available to the owner/licensee under the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act of 1973, and all other remedies provided by law to terminate the tenancy and evict the residents. Such notice to the owner/licensee shall set forth the following:

1.    The date and location of the noncompliance;

2.    The nature of the noncompliance; and

3.    The name of the person or persons engaged in the noncompliance.

4.    Such notice shall also include copies of any public records of activities of noncompliance on or about the owner/licensee’s property occupied by the residents. An owner/licensee may dispute the notice of noncompliance from the police department by requesting a hearing before the Prosser police chief or his designee within thirty calendar days of delivery of the notice. Such hearing shall be held within thirty calendar days of the request for a hearing. At the hearing, the police department shall present any and all public records of activities and testimony in support of the notice of noncompliance, and the owner/licensee shall have the opportunity to present testimony and evidence. The burden of proof at the hearing shall be on the city to prove that, more likely than not, there was an adequate factual basis to issue the notice of noncompliance. Within ten business days of such hearing, the chief of police, or his designee, shall issue a decision whether to confirm or withdraw the notice of noncompliance. If the notice of noncompliance is confirmed, the owner/licensee shall take action as required by this subsection. The failure of an owner/licensee to take such action within thirty calendar days of such confirmed notice shall be a violation of this chapter and shall be grounds for revocation of the owner’s/licensee’s residential rental housing license pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. An owner/licensee or tenant aggrieved by any decision of the chief of police or his designee may seek review within thirty calendar days of such decision by the Benton County superior court.

G.    The city through its police department shall require an owner/licensee to participate in the Prosser crime-free rental housing program as provided herein, upon an owner/licensee receiving two or more notices of instances of criminal activity on the premises of one or more residential dwelling units for which the owner/licensee holds a license unless the owner/licensee can demonstrate to the police department that he has made a good faith effort to deter the criminal activity. A good faith effort may include, but is not limited to:

1.    Service of notice on the tenant at such premises to comply or quit as allowed by law or the commencement of an unlawful detainer action against the tenant in occupancy; and

2.    Attendance and completion of the police department’s crime-free rental housing workshop or successful completion of an equivalent program as approved by the city’s chief of police.

H.    Notice of Criminal Activity. Upon the occurrence of criminal activity on the premises of a residential dwelling unit for which an owner/licensee holds a license, the city police department shall deliver a notice to such owner/licensee setting forth the following:

1.    Date and location of the occurrence;

2.    The nature of the occurrence;

3.    The name of the person or persons who engaged in the occurrence.

4.    Such notice shall also include copies of any public records of any such criminal activity. An owner/licensee may dispute the notice of criminal activity from the police department by requesting a hearing before the Prosser police chief, or his designee, within thirty calendar days of delivery of the notice. Such hearing shall be held within thirty calendar days of the request for a hearing. At the hearing, the police department shall present any and all public records of activities and testimony in support of the notice, and the owner/licensee shall have the opportunity to present testimony and evidence. The burden of proof at the hearing shall be on the city to prove that, more likely than not, there was an adequate factual basis to issue the notice of criminal activity. Within ten business days of such hearing, the chief of police or his designee shall issue a decision whether to confirm or withdraw the notice. An owner/licensee or tenant aggrieved by any decision of the chief of police or his designee may seek review within thirty calendar days of such decision by the Benton County superior court.

I.    Notice of Requirement to Participate in Prosser Crime-Free Rental Housing Program. Upon giving two or more notices of an instance of criminal activity to an owner/licensee, the police department shall also issue a notice to such owner/licensee of the requirement that the owner/licensee participate in the Prosser crime-free rental housing program. An owner/licensee may dispute the notice and requirement to participate in the Prosser crime-free rental housing program by requesting a hearing before the Prosser police chief or his designee within thirty calendar days of delivery of the notice. Such hearing shall be held within thirty calendar days of the request for a hearing. At the hearing, the police department shall present any and all public records of activities and testimony in support of the notice, and the owner/licensee shall have the opportunity to present testimony and evidence. The burden of proof at the hearing shall be on the city to prove that, more likely than not, there was an adequate factual basis to issue the notice of requirement to participate in the Prosser crime-free rental housing program. Within ten business days of such hearing, the chief of police or his designee shall issue a decision whether to confirm or withdraw the notice. An owner/licensee or tenant aggrieved by any decision of the chief of police or his designee may seek review within thirty calendar days of such decision by the Benton County superior court. Unless the notice is withdrawn or reversed by the Benton County superior court, the failure of an owner/licensee to participate in the Prosser crime-free rental housing program within thirty calendar days of receipt of the notice of required participation shall be a violation of this chapter and shall be grounds for revocation of the owner’s/licensee’s residential rental housing license pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. Once revoked, the owner/licensee may reapply for a residential rental housing license. Issuance of a residential rental housing license to such owner/licensee shall be conditioned upon the owner/licensee participating in the Prosser crime-free rental housing program. Revocation of a residential rental housing license shall not affect or impair the rights or obligations of an owner/licensee under any written residential rental/lease agreement for a specific term in effect on the date of such revocation. (Ord. 2785 § 2, 2012).

15.30.050 Rental license fee.

A.    There is levied upon and shall be collected from every person who makes available for rent, or rents, leases, or lets, to the public any residential dwelling unit an annual rental license fee for the privilege of making available for rent, or renting, leasing, or letting, to the public any residential dwelling unit within the city limits of the city of Prosser, in the amount established by resolution or ordinance of the city council. Any application that is more than thirty days past due shall be assessed a late penalty in the amount established by resolution or ordinance of the city council. Any renewal application that is more than sixty days past due shall be charged the same fee as a new application.

B.    Dedicated Revenue. The revenue generated from residential rental housing license fees shall be dedicated to the prevention of criminal activity related to rental housing in the city, costs associated with the administration of this chapter, costs of inspections by the city, and periodic auditing and collection to assure accurate participation in the payment of the residential rental housing license fees. (Ord. 2930 § 3, 2015: Ord. 2785 § 3, 2012: Ord. 2692 § 6, 2010).

15.30.060 Exemptions.

A.    The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to the following:

1.    Any religious organization or church or other religious assemblage.

2.    Any person who is exempt from paying the registration fee by the laws of the United States of America or by the state of Washington.

3.    The city of Prosser, and any municipal corporation or political subdivision of the United States of America or the state of Washington.

B.    Residential dwelling units that have two consecutive inspections showing compliance with this chapter shall be exempt from further inspections for ten years unless the city has reasonable cause to believe that such residential dwelling unit violates this chapter. Reasonable cause shall include, but not be limited to, a complaint from a tenant or other person that the residential dwelling unit does not comply with the terms of this chapter. (Ord. 2930 § 4, 2015: Ord. 2692 § 7, 2010).

15.30.070 Violations.

A.    Any person violating any of the provisions or failing to comply with any of the requirements of this chapter shall commit a Class 1 civil infraction in the amount of two hundred fifty dollars plus state assessments to be issued in accordance with the provision of Chapter 1.40. Each such person commits a separate code infraction for each and every day during any portion of which any violation of any provision of this chapter is committed, continued, or permitted by such person and shall be punished as aforestated. The city shall not be required to attempt voluntary compliance before issuing a citation under Chapter 1.40.

B.    Any person who knowingly submits or assists in the submission of a falsified certificate of inspection, or knowingly submits falsified information upon which a certificate of inspection is issued, shall, in addition to the penalties provided in subsection A of this section, be guilty of a gross misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars or by imprisonment for a period of not more than three hundred sixty-four days, or both such fine and imprisonment, for each separate offense for each and every day during any portion of which any violation of this subsection shall be committed.

C.    In addition to the penalties provided above, any violation of this chapter may result in the revocation of the rental licenses provided in this title. Any violation of this chapter including the determination by the city, after an inspection of the dwelling unit, that a condition exists which substantially endangers or impairs the health or safety of a tenant may, in addition to the penalties provided above, result in the issuance of a Class 1 civil infraction in the amount of two hundred fifty dollars plus state assessments and be subject to the penalties as imposed under the provisions of this code. (Ord. 2785 § 4, 2012: Ord. 2692 § 8, 2010).

15.30.080 Procedures for revocation of business license.

A.    The city administrator, or his or her designee, may revoke any license or permit issued under this title after it has been issued, when any one or more of the following grounds are found to exist:

1.    Illegal issuance of the permit or license.

2.    Issuance of the permit or license without authority or power.

3.    Issuance in violation of an ordinance.

4.    When the business license or permit was procured by fraud or false representation of facts.

5.    When issued through mistake or inadvertence.

6.    When the license or permit application contains false or misleading statements, evasions or suppression of material facts.

B.    Other grounds for revocation in addition to those stated in subsection A of this section are as follows:

1.    Substantial violations of the terms and conditions on which a license or permit is issued.

2.    Violation of ordinances or laws authorizing or regulating the license or permit, or regulating the business activity or purpose for which the license or permit is issued.

3.    Conviction of infractions of or offenses under such an ordinance or law.

4.    Wrongful behavior of a substantial character and of a public concern in relation to the licensed activity.

5.    When reasonably necessary in the interests of protection of the public health, safety, peace or welfare.

C.    Before any such license or permit shall be canceled or revoked, the holder of such license or permit shall be given thirty days’ notice of a hearing to be held by the city administrator, or his/her designee, at which time the holder of such license or permit must show cause why such license or permit should not be revoked. The notice to be given to the holder of such license or permit must state the grounds and the reasons for the forfeiture, cancellation and/or revocation, and must also state the date on which the hearing is set. Provided, however, the city administrator, or his/her designee, may immediately revoke the license or permit of any business or activity for any of the grounds set forth in subsection A of this section, when any such license or permit has been issued for a period of less than seventy-two hours, and any such determination by the city administrator, or his/her designee, shall be deemed conclusive unless the holder of the license or permit appeals to the Benton County superior court within thirty days of the notice of revocation. Pending any such appeal to the Benton County superior court, the license or permit shall remain revoked. (Ord. 2785 § 5, 2012).

15.30.990 Severability.

If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, paragraph, phrase, or word of this chapter should be held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, such invalidity or unconstitutionality thereof shall not affect the validity or constitutionality of any other section, subsection, sentence, clause, paragraph, phrase or word of this chapter. (Ord. 2692 § 9, 2010).