CHAPTER 3
REMEDIES AND PENALTIES

SECTION:

1-3-1:    Penalties

1-3-2:    Code Enforcement

1-3-3:    Nuisances

1-3-4:    Definitions (Rep. by Ord. 5629)

1-3-5:    Unfit Dwellings, Buildings And Structures (Rep. by Ord. 5629)

1-3-1 PENALTIES:

A.    General Penalty:

1.    Unless otherwise specified, any person who commits any act declared by any of the provisions of the Renton Municipal Code to be unlawful conduct, or any unlawful act for which there is no stated penalty, or who shall fail to comply therewith; or who shall violate or fail to comply with any order made thereunder; or who shall fail to perform any act or discharge any obligation or duty required by or imposed upon him or her by any ordinance for which there is no stated penalty; shall severally, for each and every such unlawful act, violation and noncompliance, respectively, be guilty of a misdemeanor.

2.    No individual, group of individuals, firm, or entity shall use land or premises or construct in violation of any detailed statement of specifications or plans submitted and approved thereunder, or any certificate or permit issued thereunder, and from which no appeal has been taken. The penalty for violating this provision shall be a misdemeanor.

B.    Additional Remedies: This section does not preclude, and is in addition to, administrative and civil remedies set forth in this code. The charging authority shall, under the provisions of this code, have the authority to pursue remedial remedies, punitive remedies, or both. If, in the opinion of the charging authority, a violation of this code may be ameliorated through the code enforcement process, then the City and its personnel are authorized to administer that process in accordance with RMC 1-3-2. If, however, in the opinion of the charging authority, a code violation presents a risk to the health, safety, or welfare of a member(s) of the general public, or the remedial measures are unnecessary, ineffective, or unsuccessful, then a criminal remedy may be sought by the charging authority.

C.    Criminal Penalties: Any person convicted of a criminal violation of any section of the Renton Municipal Code shall be punished in accordance with RCW 9A.20.021(2) and (3), as now or hereafter amended, for gross misdemeanors and misdemeanors, with the exception that the imposition of jail time can be at any appropriate facility and is not limited to a county jail. Whenever a specific penalty or range of penalties has been established for a crime by the State Legislature and that crime has been incorporated into the Renton Municipal Code, either directly or by reference, then the penalty ranges established by the Legislature shall supersede this provision.

D.    Civil Infraction: A violation of any ordinance which is deemed a civil infraction in this code shall constitute a class 1 civil infraction pursuant to Chapter 7.80 RCW, and any such person shall be assessed a monetary penalty of up to two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00).

E.    Continuing Violation: Where any act which is of a continuing nature is forbidden or declared to be unlawful, each day or portion of a day such duty or obligation remains unperformed or such act continues shall constitute a separate offense.

F.    Suspension or Revocation of Permits/Licenses: In addition to other penalties provided for elsewhere, the City may suspend or revoke a permit or license if it finds that the applicant or permittee has not complied with any or all conditions or limitations set forth in the permit, has exceeded the scope of work set forth in the permit, or has failed to undertake the project in a manner set forth in the approved application. (Ord. 4462, 7-25-94; amd. Ord. 4723, 5-11-98; Ord. 4835, 3-27-00; Ord. 4856, 8-21-00; Ord. 5196, 2-13-06; Ord. 5635, 11-14-11; Ord. 5664, 6-11-12; Ord. 5831, 1-23-17)

1-3-2 CODE ENFORCEMENT:

A.    System of Non-Judicial Enforcement:

1.    Purpose: To protect and promote the health, safety, sanitation and aesthetics in the City of Renton by providing, in normal circumstances, an expedited and cost-effective process to address civil code violations, provide for prompt hearings and decisions, and for the collection of appropriate fines, costs, and fees.

2.    Authority: Pursuant to RCW 7.80.010(5), the City elects to establish a non-judicial hearing and determination system to enforce RMC civil code violations.

3.    Not a Basis for Liability: This code does not create or imply any duty upon the City or any of its officers, employees or volunteers that may be construed to be the basis of civil or criminal liability on the part of the City, its officers, employees, agents or volunteers, for any injury, loss, or damage resulting from any action or inaction on their part.

B.    Definitions:

1.    “Administrator” shall mean a City of Renton department administrator or designee.

2.    “Code Compliance Inspector” (CCI) means any City of Renton employee or City of Renton designee who is directed, authorized, or responsible for finding, responding to, evaluating or considering violations and/or alleged violations of the Renton Municipal Code herein.

3.    “Cost” includes and is not limited to the recovery of reasonable legal fees and costs (including but not limited to any legal personnel costs, filing fees, travel costs, etc.), administrative personnel costs, abatement costs (including but not limited to filing fees, truck rental fees, hiring or contracting fees, overtime costs, etc.), actual expenses and costs, and reimbursement for any and all expenses related to the code enforcement process.

4.    “Finding of Violation” is a determination made by the CCI that a Violator has committed or permitted a violation of the Renton Municipal Code. A Finding of Violation is a civil code violation, punishable in accordance with the terms of this section.

5.    “Fines” are any monetary recovery or reimbursement related to the City’s civil code enforcement including, but are not limited to, fees and/or assessments. Fines shall accrue for each day or portion thereof that each violation occurs. A Violator may be responsible for multiple fines for each violation. Fines are intended to be remedial in nature and should be distinguished from any penalties that may be separately imposed through a judicial process.

6.    “Order to Correct” is an order issued to a Violator(s), after the Administrator confirms the violation or modifies the Finding of Violation, or if a voluntary correction agreement is not appropriate or not successful, which orders the Violator(s) to abate the condition. The Order to Correct shall set the time and manner in which the condition must be abated.

7.    “Person in control” means any person who lives in or stays at a premises, or any person who literally possesses or has his or her name on a title, deed, mortgage or an agreement related to the premises, or any person who has control over the premises, or who is responsible for creating, maintaining or permitting a code violation, whether as owner, tenant, occupant, or otherwise. There may be more than one person in control for purposes of this section. If the person in control is not the legal owner, the person in control and owner are both jointly liable and subject to the provisions and remedies of this section. Application of this section against one party does not preclude application to another party who is an owner or person in control. There is a presumption that a person in control is aware of or has knowledge of the condition at a premises. This presumption may be rebutted by substantiated proof of a serious incapacitating health concern or serious mental defect.

8.    “Service” means delivery, either personally or by certified mail, with return receipt requested, upon all persons having any interest in the property where the violation exists, as shown upon the taxpayer records of King County; or shall post in a conspicuous place on such property a Warning and/or Finding of Violation stating in what respects such dwelling, building, structure, or premises is unfit for human habitation or other use, or what condition at such dwelling, building, structure or premises violates this code. Service by mail is complete upon deposit to the postal service.

If the whereabouts of any person having any interest in the property where the violation exists are unknown and the same cannot be ascertained by the CCI, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, and the CCI makes an affidavit to that effect, then the serving of such Warning and/or Finding of Violation or order upon the persons having any interest in the property where the violation exists may be made either by personal service or by mailing a copy of the Warning and/or Finding of Violation or order by certified mail, postage prepaid, return receipt requested, to each person having any interest in the property where the violation exists at the address of the building involved in the proceedings, and mailing a copy of Warning and/or Finding of Violation or order by first-class mail to any address of each person shown as the taxpayer of record in the records of the King County Assessor at the address shown in such records.

The City may serve a Violator by electronic transmission, by commercial parcel delivery, or by posting on the property in a conspicuous place and mailing a copy to the last known address for persons having any interest in the property where the violation exists. Service on the owner(s) of real property shall be deemed completed upon mailing to the taxpayer of record at the taxpayer’s listed address in the records of the King County Assessor’s Office.

9.    “Violation” is an act, error, omission, location, property, structure or condition that is contrary to any provision of this code and/or endangers the health, sanitation or safety of the residents, neighborhood or community. Multiple violations at one (1) location or by a Violator shall be heard jointly for administrative and fiscal economy.

10.    “Violator” is any person(s), entity, or organization(s), including the possessor and/or owner of a property, any person(s) having any interest in the property, and/or the person in control or owner’s agent for a property where an RMC civil code violation exists or is alleged to exist, and/or any person(s) who has received notice of a Warning of Violation and/or a Finding of Violation.

11.    “Warning of Violation” is an oral or written warning that provides notice to a Violator that the CCI has found, seen or discovered an RMC civil code violation that a Violator has created, permitted to exist, maintained or failed to eliminate. An oral Warning of Violation should be promptly memorialized.

C.    Determination of Code Violation: When a CCI discovers or is made aware of a RMC code violation, if appropriate in his or her judgment and experience, the CCI is authorized to initiate an enforcement action in any of the following ways:

1.    Issuance of a Warning of Violation:

a.    Upon the discovery of a RMC civil code violation, the CCI is authorized to issue a Warning of Violation upon the Violator pursuant to any of the following measures:

i.    Issue a Warning of Violation and ask for immediate voluntary compliance; or

ii.    Agree to a schedule for compliance that is no longer than seven (7) days from the issuance of the Warning of Violation (If compliance cannot reasonably be completed within seven (7) days, then the Violator must initiate the process within seven (7) days and come into compliance within a reasonable period of time as determined by the CCI.); or

iii.    Enter into a Voluntary Correction Agreement, pursuant to RMC 1-3-2.D.1.

b.    The Administrator or the CCI has the authority to modify or rescind the Warning of Violation, based on good cause, such as the elimination of the violation or the finding that another person or people were the Violator(s).

c.    The City may issue a Warning of Violation or a Finding of Violation against more than one (1) Violator for a violation of the code.

2.    Citation for Finding of Violation:

a.    Upon the discovery of a RMC civil code violation, the CCI is authorized to issue a Finding of Violation upon the Violator. Within the Finding of Violation, the CCI shall inform the Violator of:

i.    The relevant details that form the basis of the violation;

ii.    The section or sections of the RMC that have been violated;

iii.    The time in which the violation must be corrected;

iv.    The fine amount for the violation; and also that,

v.    Any Violator who wants a hearing to challenge the Finding of Violation may have a hearing before the Administrator at Renton City Hall, in a place to be determined, if appropriate, not less than ten (10) days and not more than thirty (30) days after the serving of the Finding of Violation.

b.    The Finding of Violation is deemed final unless a Violator requests a hearing before the Administrator under the process detailed in RMC 1-3-2.E.1, Opportunity for a Hearing. The failure to request, submit a written argument and/or appear at a hearing makes the Finding of Violation final. If a hearing is requested, the final determination of the Finding of Violation shall be made by the Administrator, or his or her designee.

c.    The Violator(s) found to be responsible for an RMC civil code violation pursuant to a Finding of Violation shall be liable for the payment of any costs and/or fines. Payment is due within thirty (30) days of the date on the Finding of Violation, or after a hearing confirming the Finding of Violation, if a hearing is held after a timely request. The payment of any cost and/or fine shall be made to the City of Renton Department of Administrative Services. It is the responsibility of the Violator(s) to provide the Administrator or CCI with proof of the payment of any costs and/or fines, as is appropriate.

d.    It shall be the responsibility of the Violator(s) found responsible for a violation to completely eliminate the violation and to achieve complete civil code compliance. Payment of civil fines, applications for permits, acknowledgement of stop work orders, and compliance with other remedies do not substitute for performing the corrective work required and bringing the property into compliance to the extent reasonably possible under the circumstances.

e.    If a Violator fails or is unable to eliminate the violation within the period of time established by the Finding of Violation, and if the violation is deemed by the CCI to warrant further enforcement, the CCI may issue as many Findings of Violations as there are violations. Each day that a violation exists shall constitute a separate and actionable violation, though each violation should be heard jointly for administrative and fiscal economy.

3.    Refer to Prosecutor for Criminal Violation: Upon the discovery of a RMC civil code violation, the CCI is authorized to refer the matter to the City Attorney for consideration of criminal charges, where appropriate.

4.    Service: Service of the Warning and/or the Finding of Violation is proper by any means noted in RMC 1-3-2.B.8. The City may serve each Violator and/or persons having any claim against the title or contractual interest in the violation property.

D.    Abatement:

1.    Voluntary Correction Agreement: If, pursuant to RMC 1-3-2.B.9, the City determines that a violation has occurred, the City may enter into a voluntary correction agreement with any Violator. The Administrator, or his or her designee, shall administer a procedure to manage an expedited voluntary compliance process.

a.    The voluntary correction agreement form or document must contain, at a minimum:

i.    All of the relevant information identifying the Violator(s);

ii.    The violation location(s);

iii.    Details about the violation(s);

iv.    What must be done to eliminate the violation(s);

v.    How long the Violator(s) has to eliminate the violation(s);

vi.    Whether there have been any prior violations involving the Violator(s) in the City in the last ten (10) years;

vii.    A signed right of entry to inspect until the violation has been eliminated, and/or correct or abate the property if the voluntary correction agreement is not satisfied;

viii.    The minimum amount of civil fines owed at the point the agreement is entered; and

ix.    In bold print, that if the voluntary correction agreement is not satisfied the City may, without any additional notice or hearing, impose any remedy authorized by this Chapter; order the abatement of the violation by the Violator(s) or the City’s employees or agents; and assess any abatement, investigation, or enforcement costs to the Violator(s) and against the property.

b.    The Violator(s) may request a hearing to challenge the computation of the costs and/or fines, and/or the Violator(s) may ask for a hearing to ask for mitigation of the costs and/or fines.

i.    If there are multiple requests for a hearing, those hearings may be consolidated if the Administrator finds it reasonable to do so.

ii.    The rules and procedures of the hearing shall be governed by the provisions of Subsection E, Appeal and Hearing Procedure.

c.    As a condition to entering into a voluntary correction agreement, a Violator expressly waives the right to a hearing, or any other review to challenge the Finding of Violation, except as noted in RMC 1-3-2.D.1.b, as the Violator concedes that any violation is a civil code violation under the Renton Municipal Code, and that the City has the right to use any lawful means provided by this code or applicable state or municipal law to investigate, enforce and eliminate the violation. It is presumed to be inappropriate for a Violator to be able to enter into a second voluntary correction agreement if that Violator has already failed to comply with a voluntary correction agreement for the same violation.

d.    The voluntary correction agreement acts as a stay of the accrual of costs and/or fines, but if a Violator fails to eliminate the violation in accordance with the voluntary correction agreement, the costs and/or fines shall become due and payable, and the Violator waives any right to a hearing to challenge the determination of a violation.

e.    The voluntary correction agreement must be in writing and signed by at least one (1) Violator. Any disagreement between Violators shall be addressed between the Violators and, if necessary, in judicial hearings without requiring the participation or presence of the City of Renton.

f.    If a Violator is unable or unwilling to eliminate the violation immediately, then a voluntary correction agreement is not appropriate.

g.    A voluntary correction agreement is not a settlement agreement.

h.    The Administrator may use whatever type of voluntary correction agreement form as is appropriate in his or her judgment to mitigate and ultimately eliminate the violation. The Administrator may modify the voluntary correction agreement form on an individual case basis as needed to best respond to the facts, circumstances and conditions of a violation. The Administrator may grant an extension to a Violator only if, in the Administrator’s judgment, the Violator has taken prompt and substantial steps to eliminate the violation.

i.    If the Violator fails to satisfy one (1) or more term(s) of the voluntary correction agreement, after a Finding of Violation, the City may, without notice or further hearings, order the abatement of the violation by the Violator(s) or by City employees or agents and assess any other costs related to the investigation, enforcement and resolution of this process to the Violator(s) and/or against the property.

2.    Order to Correct: If the Administrator confirms the violation or modifies the Finding of Violation, if the Finding of Violation becomes a final determination, or if a voluntary correction agreement is not appropriate or not successful, the Administrator is authorized to take any of the following actions:

a.    Order the Violator(s) to abate the condition. The Administrator has the authority to set the time and manner in which the condition must be abated. The Administrator may order the property abated by persons working under the City’s authority with costs assessed to the Violator(s).

b.    Stay the accrual of costs and/or fines, only upon an actual showing a Violator, acting in good faith, is unable to bring the condition into compliance within the required time.

c.    Assess costs and/or civil fines when the Administrator confirms or modifies the Finding of Violation.

d.    Order that work stop immediately if that work is inconsistent with a permit or license, has not been approved, is being done without a permit, or has not been inspected, or a Violator has refused a request to inspect.

e.    Deny a permit or license application or revoke, modify or suspend any permit or license previously issued when a Violator has failed to comply with the terms of the permit or license or efforts to bring the condition or property into compliance, a Violator has exceeded the scope of work set forth in the permit or license, or if a Violator has failed to undertake the project in the manner set forth in the approved application.

f.    In order to enforce the Administrator’s decision, the City may get an order from Superior Court to enter onto a Violator’s property for the purpose of inspecting and/or abating the violation.

g.    It shall be a misdemeanor to impede, delay, obstruct or interfere with the City’s employees or agents designated to perform the abatement. Any physical efforts to impede, delay, obstruct, or interfere with City employees or agents will be forwarded to the prosecutor for appropriate criminal filing.

3.    Costs of Abatement: The cost of abatement, cleaning up the property, removing hazards, and/or bringing the property into compliance shall be borne by the Violator. All costs shall be paid by the Violator to the City of Renton Department Administrative Services within thirty (30) days from the final determination of the Finding of Violation.

a.    Written Expense Report: Where costs are assessed under this code and a Violator fails to pay within the thirty (30) day period, the CCI shall prepare a written itemized report to the Administrator showing the cost of abatement, including rehabilitation, demolition, restoration or repair of such property, including such salvage value relating thereto plus the amount of any outstanding fines. A copy of the report and a notice of the time and date when the report shall be reviewed by the Administrator shall be served on the Violator(s) at least five (5) days prior to the review by the Administrator, or verified as being previously provided to the Violator(s).

b.    Determination of Amount Due: A Violator may submit a written explanation why the costs and/or fines are unreasonable and should not be assessed. The Administrator shall review the report and such other information on the matter as it receives and deems relevant. The Administrator shall confirm or revise the amounts in the report and authorize collection of that amount, or, in the case of a debt owed by a Violator and/or property owner, authorize a lien be filed against the property.

c.    Assessment Lien: Following the authorization by the Administrator, when permitted by law, the City Clerk shall cause to have filed a lien with the King County Recorder’s Office, which lien may be foreclosed pursuant to the laws of the State of Washington. The City may file an action to reduce the lien to a judgment.

E.    Appeal and Hearing Procedure:

1.    Opportunity for a Hearing:

a.    In order to provide due process and to achieve the purpose of this section, a Violator may request a hearing before the Administrator to raise any challenge to the Finding of Violation or the application of the code and/or to challenge or mitigate the costs and/or fines.

b.    The opportunity for a hearing is available for each violation and fine imposed for multiple violations at one (1) site or at multiple sites by one (1) or more Violators.

2.    Appeal Requirements:

a.    Timeliness: Any appeal of the Administrator’s decision must be filed and served within fifteen (15) calendar days of the issuance of the decision. An appellate petition or motion is barred, and the court may not grant review, unless the petition is timely filed with the court and timely served on the City.

b.    Timing of a Hearing: If a Violator and/or persons having any claim against the title or contractual interest in the property where the violation exists wishes to challenge a Finding of Violation, or to challenge or mitigate the costs and/or fines, that Violator and/or persons having any claim against the title or contractual interest in the property where the violation exists shall submit a written request for a hearing within fifteen (15) days of the date of the Finding of Violation. The Administrator shall set the date of the hearing within fifteen (15) days of the received request for a hearing. The decision shall be entered and mailed or posted no later than fifteen (15) days after the City receives the written request for a hearing. There shall be no fee to appeal a Finding of Violation.

c.    Withdrawal of Request for Hearing: a Violator or multiple Violators may withdraw their request for a hearing only if each Violator agrees, and only if it is withdrawn within five (5) days of making the request. They will not be charged the costs of the hearing if the request to withdraw their request is timely. An actual hearing or an untimely request to withdraw a request for a hearing may result in the costs for a hearing if the Administrator deems it appropriate and can particularize or itemize or place value to the efforts of the CCI and/or Administrator.

3.    Hearing Procedures:

a.    Hearing Procedure: The Administrator may choose to hear the matter orally or based solely on the parties’ written submissions or both. The Finding of Violation may satisfy the City’s burden of production, but the City may submit additional written testimony. If the Administrator determines that the matter requires an in-person hearing, such a hearing may be scheduled, and appropriate and reasonable notice shall be provided to the CCI and Violator(s).

b.    Who May Appear: If the owner and the possessor or person in control of the property are not the same, and if the owner fails to respond in writing or fails to appear at an oral hearing after service of the Finding of Violation, there is a presumption that the owner has given the Violator(s) the authority to act as his/her agent for purposes of the hearing or that the owner has chosen not to participate.

c.    Scope of Hearing: The scope of the hearing is limited to the conditions of the property on the date listed on the Finding of Violation. Relitigation of previously imposed costs and/or fines is prohibited.

d.    Preponderance of Evidence Standard: The Administrator shall determine by a preponderance of the evidence whether there is a violation of this code, if the costs and/or fines should be mitigated, or that a violation exists that must be corrected after considering a Violator’s oral and/or written argument(s). The Finding of Violation, if signed and dated by the CCI, shall be deemed admissible evidence to prove the violation. If the Administrator concludes a violation was committed after reviewing the Finding of Violation, then the burden of persuasion shall shift to the Violator(s) to show by a preponderance of the evidence that a violation has not occurred. The City is not required to call witnesses to testify at the hearing.

e.    Final Determination: The Administrator, after reviewing the written submissions, exhibits, testimony, and other admitted evidence, may dismiss, confirm, or modify the Finding of Violation, after the aforementioned hearing, or after the Violator’s failure to request and/or appear at the hearing requiring oral argument. The Administrator’s decision is deemed final, and may only be appealed in accordance with the provisions of this code.

f.    Imposition of Fines: The fines for a committed Finding of Violation shall be considered based on the nature of the offense, the impact on the neighbors, neighborhood, or community and the need to discourage such conduct, inactivity or neglect. The Administrator is authorized to impose fines up to and including the maximum fines, or to mitigate the fines, as the Administrator sees fit based on the criteria herein. The payment of a fine does not prevent the City from asserting that the violation continues to exist or from asserting that a new violation has been found.

F.    Penalties:

1.    Finding of Violation: A committed Finding of Violation, as described in this section, is a civil code violation, and Violator(s) may be issued a fine of up to two hundred fifty dollars ($250). Nothing in this section is intended to limit or prevent the pursuit of any other remedies or penalties permitted under the law, including criminal prosecution. The payment of a fine pursuant to this section does not relieve a potential Violator of the duty to correct the violation as requested by the CCI or as ordered by the Administrator.

2.    Criminal Penalty: Failing to comply with an Order to Correct, after a Finding of Violation, is a misdemeanor, punishable according to the terms for a criminal penalty pursuant to RMC 1-3-1.

a.    The prosecutor’s burden is to prove beyond a reasonable doubt as to each Violator, that:

i.    The Violator owns or was the person in control of a property in the City of Renton; and

ii.    The Violator received a Finding of Violation and an Order to Correct that Violation related to that property; and

iii.    The Violator failed to eliminate the violation within the time period prescribed by the Finding of Violation.

b.    If a Violator/Defendant is found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the Violator/Defendant shall serve no less than five (5) days in jail for the first conviction, no less than ten (10) days for the second conviction, and no less than thirty (30) days for any subsequent conviction. A Violator/Defendant shall not be eligible for Electronic Home Detention or any other alternative to jail time.

c.    A Violator/Defendant shall remain responsible for the RMC civil code violation fines and/or any costs, not including the cost of prosecution.

G.    Additional Remedies:

1.    Emergencies: Nothing in this section shall be read to limit or prohibit the City from taking any appropriate action when an emergency or dangerous or potentially dangerous location, property, structure or condition exists in the City. Not as a limitation, but for the purpose of clarification, the City may abate, declare unsafe or unfit, or take some other appropriate action when:

a.    Dangerous Condition: A violation poses an immediate danger to safety, health, or welfare of the possessor of the property, occupants, neighbors, neighborhood, community, public utilities or the environment. The City shall assess costs and file a lien or seek a judgment, if such action is required.

b.    Vacant Premises: After inquiry, if it appears that a premises has been vacated and the owner and any person in control cannot be located or refuses to abate the code violation and the premises are either not secured against entry or have been entered by trespassers, the City, pursuant to its community caretaking and police powers, may enter the premises, secure the premises against entry, and place a lien against the property for its administrative costs, to include materials, staff time, attorney’s fees, and whatever additional costs may accrue in order that the premises may be secured.

c.    Costs: If the Superior Court or court of competent jurisdiction decides, grants, and/or agrees that emergency action is warranted by the City, the City shall seek costs if such action is required.

2.    Remedies Not Exclusive: The remedies noted in this section are not exclusive and may be used in conjunction with any other remedies provided or allowed under the Renton Municipal Code, the Revised Code of Washington, or any other provision of law.

a.    The City is not prohibited from remedying, abating or mitigating any condition that falls under this section by any other means authorized by law or by enforcing its findings, remedies, costs, and/or fines by any means authorized by law.

b.    The City will seek all costs, including attorney’s fees, if it must appear in a court of law to address a Violator’s failure to abate the violation or failure to pay any costs and/or fines. Unless otherwise precluded by law, the provisions of this section may be used in lieu of or in addition to other enforcement provisions, including, but not limited to, other provisions in this code, the use of collection agencies, or other civil actions including but not limited to injunctions.

3.    Permit Authority: The City, without a hearing, may suspend, revoke or modify any valid permit or license issued by the City if or when it reasonably believes:

a.    That a Violator knows, or reasonably should know, of a violation, but the Violator continues to violate the permit or license or exacerbate a violation, and the CCI makes a finding of an imminent threat or substantial threat to safety, health, or welfare of others, property of others or City property including, but not limited to, utilities such as water and sewage; or

b.    That a Violator misrepresented any material or significant fact in applying for a permit or license.

c.    The City, without a hearing, may deny a request for a permit or license or to renew a permit or license when it reasonably believes that without a valid permit or license a Violator knows or knew of, or reasonably should know or should have known, of a violation, but continues to work, operate, or exacerbate a violation without a valid permit or license.

d.    Any revocation, suspension, modification or denial of a permit or license under this Section shall allow the person who possessed or sought the relevant permit or license and had the permit or license revoked, suspended, modified or denied an opportunity for a hearing in a manner detailed in RMC 1-3-2.E.1.

H.    Conflicts: In the event of a conflict between this and any other provision of this code or City ordinance providing for a civil penalty, the more specific provision shall control.

I.    Severability: If any one (1) or more subsections or sentences of this section are held to be unconstitutional or invalid, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portion of this section and the same shall remain in full force and effect. (Ord. 5831, 1-23-17)

1-3-3 NUISANCES:

A.    Purpose: Unlawful, unkempt, unsafe, unsanitary, improperly maintained premises, properties, sidewalks and easements, premises where illegal and/or code violating conduct occur, and nuisances and chronic nuisance properties within the City, create potentially grave habitability, health, safety, sanitation, and welfare concerns for the City, its residents and guests, and for the value and economic well-being of the premises and properties and premises and/or property owners in Renton.

These nuisances are a financial burden on the City because repeated calls for service, complaints or requests for investigations and/or inspections of suspected nuisances require the time and resources of the City administration, the Renton Police Department, the City Attorney Department and the court. These nuisances include not only those on private residential properties, but also those on private commercial properties that fail to provide adequate and properly trained security and/or supervision, which results in calls for service for incidents that could have been prevented or limited with adequate security and/or supervision. Therefore, it is the purpose and intent of the City, in enacting this Chapter, to ameliorate nuisances and hold those persons responsible criminally and financially accountable.

It is also the purpose of this Chapter to provide the City’s representatives with the necessary powers to prevent, remedy and/or abate nuisances and to charge those responsible for the abatement costs. This Chapter is a reasonable and proper exercise of the City’s police power with a rational relationship toward fostering or preserving the public peace, safety, health, morals or welfare, and it shall be liberally construed to effect this purpose. This Chapter’s remedies are not exclusive and remedies available under federal, state or other local laws may also apply.

Consistent with RCW 35.80.030(7) (entitled Permissible Ordinances – Appeal), the City of Renton is (a) prescribing minimum standards for the use and occupancy of dwellings throughout the municipality, (b) prescribing minimum standards for the use or occupancy of any building, structure, or premises used for any other purpose, (c) preventing the use or occupancy of any dwelling, building, structure, or premises, that is injurious to the public health, safety, morals, or welfare, and (d) prescribing punishment for the violation of any provision of such ordinance. Renton’s authority includes but is not limited to RCW 35A.21.160 which grants to code cities “all of the powers of which any city of any class may have” and RCW 35.22.280(30) which permits a city to declare and abate nuisances, and to impose fines upon those responsible for nuisances.

Finally, to ensure that this section and any related section or subsection is appropriately and lawfully applied with a fair and non-disparate impact on members and segments of the community, the City of Renton declares that chronic nuisance offenses and chronic nuisance calls for service shall not include or apply to calls of victims or survivors of domestic violence, sex-related offenses, stalking, or any person requiring or requesting necessary medical attention on their own behalf or on the behalf of another. Further, these specified calls by or on behalf of victims or survivors of domestic violence, sex-related offenses, stalking, or those requiring or requesting necessary medical attention shall not be a basis for the abatement or eviction of these specified persons under this ordinance. (Ord. 5752, 2-9-15; Ord. 5769, 9-28-15)

B.    Definitions: For the purposes of this Chapter, unless it is plainly evident from context that a different meaning is intended, the following words and phrases shall be defined as follows, and the singular and plural of each word shall be interchangeable when necessary to carry out the intent of this Chapter:

1.    “Abate” means to clean, eliminate, remove, repair or otherwise remedy a condition that amounts to a nuisance under this Chapter by such manner, means, and to the extent as an Administrator or law enforcement officer determines is reasonably necessary to protect the general health, morals, safety and welfare of the City of Renton, and/or its citizens or guests. (Ord. 5752, 2-9-15)

2.    “Act” means doing, finishing, performing, or preparing to do something.

3.    “Administrator” means a City of Renton department administrator or designee.

4.    “Calls for service” means calls or communications to 911, including but not limited to Valley Communications, and/or calls or communications directly to the Renton Police Department or one of its officers, or the viewing of an offense by an officer. Calls for service, as that term is used in the definition of “chronic nuisance premises,” does not include incidents that have no nexus to or that are unrelated to the chronic nuisance premises, its resident(s), owner(s), guests, patrons, or calls for general information. (Ord. 5752, 2-9-15)

5.    “Chronic nuisance premises”:

a.    As it relates to single-family or duplex housing, an individual apartment unit, or a building, structure or business used for commercial, retail, or entertainment purposes, or the area within two hundred feet (200') of such premises, including those regulated by the Liquor Control Board, and including public, private, commercial or industrial parking lots within two hundred feet (200') of such premises, “chronic nuisance premises” means a property on which any of the following exists or has occurred:

i.    Six (6) or more calls for service during any sixty (60)-day period; or

ii.    Ten (10) or more calls for service during any one hundred and eighty (180)-day period; or

iii.    Fourteen (14) or more calls for service during any twelve (12)-month period;

b.    Any action against a “chronic nuisance premises” and/or its owner, managing agent or person in control for a violation under RMC 1-3-3.B.5.a.i does not preclude the use of those nuisances or criminal activities to find a violation of RMC 1-3-3.B.5.a.ii or iii; and a violation under RMC 1-3-3.B.5.a.i and/or ii does not preclude the use of those nuisances or criminal activities to find a violation of RMC 1-3-3.B.5.a.iii as long as all of the nuisances or criminal activities occurred during the applicable time period. If any of the incidents that make up a “chronic nuisance” constitute a criminal offense, the incident may be charged separately as a criminal offense. (Ord. 5752, 2-9-15)

6.    “Criminal violation” means any violation punishable under RCW 9A.20.021(2) or (3). (Ord. 5752, 2-9-15)

7.    “Code Compliance Inspector” (CCI) or “Code Enforcement Officer” (CCO) means any person authorized by an Administrator to investigate or inspect for code violations.

8.    “Control” means the ability to dominate, govern, manage, own or regulate a premises, or the conduct that occurs in or on a premises.

9.    “Development” means the alteration, demolition, enlargement, erection, maintenance or use of any premises or the alteration or use of any land above, at or below ground or water level, and all acts authorized by a City regulation or ordinance.

10.    “Drug-related activity” means any activity at a premises that violates Chapter 69.41 RCW (Legend Drugs), Chapter 69.50 RCW (Uniform Controlled Substances Act), Chapter 69.51A (Medical Marijuana) or 69.52 RCW (Imitation Controlled Substances), Chapter 69.53 RCW (Use of Buildings for Unlawful Drugs) or any applicable federal, state or local law regulating the same general subject-matter. (Ord. 5752, 2-9-15)

11.    “Emergency” means any situation which an Administrator or law enforcement reasonably believes requires immediate action to prevent or eliminate an immediate threat to public health, morals, safety, or welfare of persons or property in the City of Renton, or to evaluate a condition immediately after a life-threatening or actual loss of life situation has occurred. (Ord. 5752, 2-9-15)

12.    “General public” means the City of Renton, any of its communities or neighborhoods, or more than one (1) citizen, neighbor and/or their guests. (Ord. 5705, 3-17-14)

13.    “Gross misdemeanor” means any criminal violation punishable under RCW 9A.20.021(2). (Ord. 5752, 2-9-15)

14.    “Hearing Examiner” means an individual authorized to hear administrative appeals and designated matters for the City of Renton.

15.    “Incurred expense” includes, but is not limited to, actual, direct or indirect, appeal costs, fees and expenses; attorney, expert, filing and litigation costs, fees and expenses; hearing costs and expenses; copy, documentation, and investigation costs and expenses; notice, contract and inspection costs and expenses; personnel expenses; hauling, disposal and storage costs and expenses; preparation, travel and parking costs, fees and expenses; photocopying, mailing and service costs and expenses. All such costs and expenses shall constitute a lien against the affected property, as set forth in subsection G.6 of this Section.

16.    “Material statement” means any written or oral statement reasonably likely to be relied upon by a public servant in the discharge of his or her official powers or duties.

17.    “Misdemeanor” means any criminal violation punishable under RCW 9A.20.021(3). (Ord. 5752, 2-9-15)

18.    “Monetary penalty” means any cost, fines or penalties related to violation of this Chapter, including but not limited to actual fines or penalties to be paid as a result of a nuisance.

19.    “Nuisance” (or “nuisance violation”) means but is not limited to:

a.    “Moral” or “public” nuisances, even if the extent of the damage is unequal, that is detrimental to the general public. For the purpose of this subsection, moral or public nuisances shall not be limited to the state’s definition of moral or public nuisances; (Ord. 5705, 3-17-14)

b.    Any unreasonable interference with the general public’s common right, such as unlawfully obstructing the free use of public property, or any act or omission that adversely and unreasonably impacts the general public’s ability to enjoy private property;

c.    Violation of any federal, state or county regulation, land use, navigation, public health or morals ordinance or criminal law, whether adopted or not by the City of Renton;

d.    Violation of any section of the RMC identified as unlawful and/or a nuisance under Development Regulations (RMC Title IV), Finance and Business Regulations (RMC Title V), Police Regulations (RMC Title VI), Health and Sanitation (RMC Title VIII), Public Ways and Property (RMC Title IX), Traffic (RMC Title X), or public health or morals ordinance or criminal law;

e.    Anything defined by RCW 7.48.140 (Public nuisances enumerated), Chapter 7.48A RCW (Moral nuisances), or which constitutes a misdemeanor under RCW 9.66.010 (Public nuisance) or RMC 6-18-11 (Breach of the Public Peace);

f.    Acting, failing to act, permitting or allowing any act or failure in the use of a rental premises for criminal purposes. Both the person in charge and the owner(s) of the premises shall be responsible for the nuisance;

g.    For clarity, nuisances that violate this subsection B.19 include but are not limited to any of the following conditions:

i.    Beekeeping: The existence of any bees, yellow jackets, hornets, or wasps that harbor in colonies, hives, apiaries or nests which are not authorized by ordinance or statute and are not in full compliance with Chapter 15.60 RCW (Apiaries) or Chapter 16-602 WAC (Apiaries);

ii.    Dumping: Any violation of RMC 6-14-16 (Dropping Litter from Air Craft), RCW 70.95.240 (Unlawful to dump or deposit solid waste without permit – Penalties – Litter cleanup restitution payment), and any applicable rule or regulation; (Ord. 5766, 9-21-2015)

iii.    Dumping in Waterways: Any violation of RMC 6-14-10 (Litter in Lakes and Fountains), WAC 332-30-117.6 (Waterways), WAC 332-30-139.3 (Marinas and moorages), WAC 332-30-163.9, 10 and 13 (River management), WAC 332-30-166.1 and 2 (Open water disposal sites), WAC 332-30-171.4 (Residential uses on state-owned aquatic lands), or any dumping of materials, waste, chemicals, or other substances in or near waterways.

iv.    Vegetation:

(a)    Vegetation exceeding twelve inches (12") in height (exclusive of plants and flowers within a flower bed or container, shrubbery, or trees) located in any front, back or side yard, adjacent public right-of-way or planting strip, or any vacant property;

(b)    Vegetation such as overhanging limbs or branches that are less than eight feet (8') above a public walkway or sidewalk, or less than fourteen feet (14') above a public street;

(c)    Vegetation that obstructs or hinders the use of any public walkway, sidewalk, or street, or that obstructs or obscures the view of traffic or traffic control devices;

(d)    Cut vegetation that is left on property, including but not limited to trees, shrubs or plants, that has not been placed in a yard-waste or otherwise disposed of lawfully;

(e)    Dead, decaying or diseased trees or branches that pose a threat to human life or property;

(f)    Fire hazard grass(es), plant(s), or weed(s); or

(g)    Noxious weeds or any toxic vegetation growth;

v.    Nuisances that do not affect the general community or more than one household are private nuisances and are not regulated under this definition;

vi.    No lapse of time can legalize a nuisance, public nuisance, moral nuisance or chronic nuisance;

h.    The following shall not constitute public nuisances:

i.    Compost piles less than four feet (4') in height and six feet (6') in diameter at ground level, and 30 feet (30') or more from any dwelling, and four feet (4') or more from adjoining properties;

ii.    Storm debris within thirty (30) days following a storm event;

iii.    Construction residue and debris during and for fourteen (14) days following completion of work, unless the residue and/or debris is substantially or unreasonably impacting the general public;

iv.    Fallen leaves, tree needles, tree fruit and similar vegetation, during the months of October through April, inclusive, except when located on public sidewalks;

v.    The accumulation and temporary storage, in containers designated for such purposes, of recyclable materials pursuant to a program of recycling adopted by the City; provided, however, that such containers must not be publicly visible or they must be made available to the City’s garbage or recycle contractor within fourteen (14) days after having been filled to fifty percent (50%) or more of their capacity;

vi.    Uncultivated, uncut or untended weeds, grass, bushes or other vegetation not constituting a health or fire hazard, existing in a natural state on undeveloped, agricultural, native growth easement or defined critical areas such as wetlands, streams, and steep slopes. (Ord. 5752, 2-9-15)

20.    “Omission” means a failure to act, complete, or to perform a legal duty.

21.    “Person” means any individual, firm, association, partnership, corporation or any entity, public or private.

22.    “Person in control” means any person who possesses or has control over the premises, or who is responsible for creating, maintaining or permitting the nuisance, whether as owner, tenant, occupant, or otherwise. There may be more than one person in control for purposes of this Chapter. (“Possess” in this context means to live in, or stay at a premises, and/or to literally possess or have their name on a title, deed, mortgage or an agreement related to the premises.) If the person in control is not the legal owner, the person in control and owner are both jointly liable for any chronic nuisance. Both the owner and person in control are subject to the provisions and remedies of this Chapter. Application of this Chapter against one party does not preclude application to another party who is an owner or person in control of a chronic nuisance premises. There is a presumption that a person in control is aware of or has knowledge of the condition at a premises as well as whether there are any nuisances or chronic nuisances at the premises. This presumption may be rebutted by substantiated proof of a serious incapacitating health concern or serious mental defect. (Ord. 5752, 2-9-15)

23.    “Rental property” means any premises that is rented or intended to be rented, possessed whole or in part by a tenant, occupant, or otherwise, other than the owner, regardless of the manner of remuneration or the absence of remuneration. The owner in this context is any person or business entity, including but not limited to corporations, limited liability entities, and partnerships that own, operate, manage, maintain or control rental housing or rental property. The following are not rental housing or property:

a.    A retail, commercial or industrial rental, unless someone is permitted to reside, sleep or stay overnight in that premises;

b.    A registered and licensed nursing home; or

c.    A properly registered and licensed assisted living facility.

24.    “Premises” means any building, factory-built house, dwelling, house, mobile home, property, rental unit or property, or portion thereof, including, but not limited to, any building or structure used as a residential or commercial property, built for the support, shelter or enclosure of any persons, animals, chattels or property, or any building or structure used for commercial, retail or entertainment purposes, including those regulated by the Liquor Control Board, or the area within two hundred feet (200') of what is defined as a premises. “Premises” and “property” may be used interchangeably in this Chapter. As a result, “premises” may also mean lot, tax parcel, real estate or land, or portions thereof. (Ord. 5696, 11-4-13)

25.    “Premises for illegal activities” means any premises operated, used or permitted to be used for prostitution, the illegal manufacture of liquor, illegal gambling, illegal drug usage, illegal drug selling, trading or dispensing pursuant to Chapter 7.43 RCW, or is maintained as a place for persons who appear to be under the influence of a controlled substance or alcohol. It also means a premises operated, used or permitted to be used for gang or gang-related activities. Each illegal act shall constitute a separate violation. Each individual engaging, participating, permitting, or facilitating the illegal act(s) is subject to this Section.

26.    “Tenant” means any person who does not own the premises, who occupies a dwelling, mobile home, or premises primarily for the purpose of living, residing or staying there.

27.    “Unfit” or “abandoned premises” means any premises:

a.    Which has been damaged, or is decaying or falling by:

i.    Any cause including but not limited to fire, uncommon neglect, water, weather, or earth movement, general disrepair, instability, structural defects, defects increasing the hazards of fire, accidents, or other calamities, inadequate ventilation and uncleanliness, inadequate electrical, natural gas, water or sanitary facilities, inadequate drainage, overcrowding, and

ii.    Which is not fit for occupancy, or

iii.    Due to other conditions which are inimical to the health and welfare of the City of Renton’s residents.

b.    Has been abandoned or unoccupied by lawful tenants for a period of ninety (90) days or more; or

c.    Has repair costs that equal or exceed the fair market value of the premises once repaired; or

d.    When the owner of the unfit or abandoned premises shows no intention of completing or making substantial progress on completing such repairs within ninety (90) days.

This intention must be manifested in the form of cooperation and/or coordination with City code compliance inspectors, having and offering detailed blueprints if the premises is being rebuilt or repaired, and having obtained permits to demolish, repair, and remove a premises.

e.    For purposes of this Section, ninety (90) days is calculated from the date that the damage occurred.

f.    Repealed by Ord. 5752. (Ord. 5752, 2-9-15)

28.    “Value” as used herein shall be the valuation placed upon the building or structure for purposes of general taxation.

C.    Nuisance Declared Unlawful: It shall be a misdemeanor for any person(s):

1.    In control of a premises to permit, suffer, maintain, carry on or allow upon such premises or any portion of the premises:

a.    A nuisance; or (Ord. 5705, 3-17-14)

b.    A chronic nuisance premises. (Ord. 5752, 2-9-15)

2.    For any person or persons to occupy or allowed to be occupied any premises ordered vacated under this Section. To prove such a violation the City must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

a.    A person or persons occupied or allowed to be occupied;

b.    Any premises;

c.    In the City of Renton;

d.    That had been ordered vacated under this Section. An order that was made under the authority of or related to this Section, that was valid at the time of the violation, is sufficient to prove this element. It shall not be a defense that the order was subsequently rescinded, reversed, withdrawn or vacated.

3.    For any person or persons to permit, suffer, maintain, own, carry on or allow an unfit or abandoned premises as defined in subsection B.27 of this Section.

4.    Any person or persons having been found to have violated this subsection C shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable pursuant to RMC 1-3-1.1

D.    Prosecution And Penalties: When an Administrator or law enforcement officer in consultation and with the approval of the City Attorney’s Office determines that a nuisance, chronic nuisance, or chronic nuisance premises exists, that also constitutes criminal conduct has occurred or is occurring, the City may issue a criminal citation to the person in charge of the chronic nuisance property and/or to any person involved in the chronic nuisance or nuisance. The City prosecutor’s approval shall not be an element of the offense or a basis for appeal.

1.    The City may issue a criminal citation when appropriate, including but not limited to the following circumstances:

a.    When an emergency exists; or

b.    When a chronic nuisance occurs; or

c.    When the nuisance cannot be quickly remedied by voluntary correction; or

d.    When the person in charge knows or reasonably should have known that the nuisance violates a City rule, regulation or ordinance; or

e.    The person in charge refuses to communicate, cooperate with the City in correcting the nuisance, or is unavailable to the City; or

f.    When a nuisance that constitutes a crime has occurred or is occurring.

2.    The violation of any of the provisions listed above is a misdemeanor and may result in criminal prosecution in addition to possible administrative or civil penalties or costs.

3.    Each such person shall be guilty of a separate offense for each and every day during any portion of which any violation of any provision of the RMC is committed, continued, or permitted by any such person, and such person shall be punished accordingly and to the full extent of the law.

a.    The first criminal violation shall have a mandatory minimum sentence of five (5) days in jail without the option of electronic home detention, and the minimum penalty for the first violation shall be five hundred dollars ($500), not including costs, court costs, fees, and assessments; however, if such person brings the property into full compliance as determined by the prosecutor, the court shall have the authority, at the prosecutor’s request, to impose a deferred or suspended sentence in lieu of the mandatory minimum sentence of five (5) days in jail;

b.    The second criminal violation shall have a mandatory minimum sentence of fifteen (15) days in jail without the option of electronic home detention, and the minimum penalty for the second violation shall be six hundred twenty-five dollars ($625), not including costs, court costs, fees, and assessments;

c.    The third criminal violation for any individual shall have a mandatory minimum sentence of thirty (30) days in jail without the option of electronic home detention, and the minimum penalty for the third violation shall be seven hundred fifty dollars ($750), not including costs, court costs, fees, and assessments; and

d.    All other criminal violations shall have a mandatory minimum sentence of forty-five (45) days in jail without the option of electronic home detention, and the minimum penalty shall be one thousand dollars ($1,000), not including costs, court costs, fees, and assessments.

4.    Penalties Against The Person In Control: A person in control of a premises, including but not limited to landlords, property owners, business owners, and property managers, shall ensure that the premises, rental or leased property is not used for criminal conduct. The failure to eliminate or prevent chronic criminal conduct or chronic criminal use of a premises committed by a tenant, guest, owner or a person in charge on premises may result in a criminal citation to the owner and/or person in control. A person in control of a premises is presumed to know what is occurring in, on, or around the premises. Additional notice is not required. However, if a person in control is notified by the City or by law enforcement that criminal conduct has occurred on the premises, the person in control shall take reasonable steps to reduce the likelihood that criminal conduct will reoccur on the premises.

a.    When possible, notification should include the following:

i.    The name and address of the person in control;

ii.    The name of any person responsible for the nuisance;

iii.    The day(s) of the nuisance;

iv.    The street address or other description sufficient for identification of the premises or property upon or within which the nuisance has occurred or is occurring; and

v.    A concise description of the nuisance and a reference to the violated law, ordinance, rule or regulation.

vi.    A failure to take reasonable steps shall constitute nuisance.

b.    It shall be an affirmative defense that the person in control must plead and prove beyond a preponderance of the evidence that (a) the person has taken reasonable steps to reduce the likelihood that criminal conduct will occur in or on the premises or rental housing or property, as or consistent with the conditions provided in RMC 1-3-3.F.8, or (b) had no knowledge of, was not in contempt of court, and will immediately abate any such nuisance that may exist. (Ord. 5752, 2-9-15)

E.    Additional Enforcement Procedures: The provisions of this Chapter are not exclusive, and may be used in addition to other enforcement provisions authorized by the RCW, RMC or other applicable law, rule or provision.

F.    Voluntary Abatement:

1.    Applicability: After a conviction or finding of guilt for a violation of this Section of the code or any criminal RCW or RMC code, the City of Renton may abate or request that the person in control abate the premises. The conviction or finding of guilt is sufficient to satisfy due process requirements and to establish that a nuisance exists or has occurred at the referenced premises. (Ord. 5752, 2-9-15)

2.    This Section shall also apply to a person in control of rental housing or a property owner who is taking steps to eliminate or reduce the likelihood of criminal, gang or gang-related activities in or around the premises or rental housing.

3.    General: With some exceptions, the Administrator or law enforcement officer will initially request that a person in charge agree to voluntarily abate a nuisance.

If the Administrator or law enforcement officer reasonably believes that person in charge refuses to agree, fails to answer, fails to cooperate, or is or makes him or herself unavailable, the City is not required to wait before compelling compliance.

4.    Agreeing To Voluntarily Abate A Nuisance: A person in control may agree to voluntarily abate a nuisance with the approval of an Administrator or law enforcement officer.

If a person in control is a tenant seeking voluntary abatement, the tenant shall endeavor to also notify the property owner about the nature of the nuisance violation and the proposed voluntary abatement.

5.    Voluntary Abatement Agreement: It is a contract between the City and at least one (1) person in control where such person agrees to abate the nuisance within a specified time and according to specified conditions, in exchange, if successful, for not having a nuisance or criminal action initiated. (Ord. 5752, 2-9-15)

6.    The Voluntary Abatement Agreement should include the following:

a.    The name and address of the person(s) in control;

b.    The name or names of the person(s) who were responsible for the nuisance, if known;

c.    The day(s) or duration of the nuisance;

d.    The street address or other identification of the premises upon or within which the nuisance has occurred or is occurring;

e.    A description of the nuisance and a reference to the violated law, ordinance, rule or regulation;

f.    The abatement option(s) available, and a date and time by which correction must be completed;

g.    Signatures of one or more person(s) in control and the City, acting through the appropriate Administrator or law enforcement officer;

h.    An agreement by the person in control that grants consent for the City to enter and inspect the premises without a warrant as may be necessary to determine complete compliance with the Voluntary Abatement Agreement;

i.    An agreement by the person in control that the City may abate the nuisance and recover its costs and expenses (including, but not limited to, its attorney fees, expert witness fees, filing fees and court costs) and/or a monetary penalty pursuant to this Chapter from the person in control if the person in control fails to do so;

j.    By entering into the Voluntary Abatement Agreement, the person in control waives the right to contest the nuisance at a hearing before any court or hearing examiner under this Chapter or otherwise, regarding the matter of the nuisance and/or the required corrective action; and

k.    The person(s) in charge that signs the Voluntary Abatement Agreement assumes complete responsibility for entering into the agreement, and if any other person(s) in charge or third-party makes a claim against the City for the abatement of the property, the signing person(s) in charge agrees to hold harmless the City, its representatives, agents, employees, and/or volunteers, and to indemnify any of the above if a claim is successfully made against them.

7.    In the context of rental housing or property the landlord and rental manager(s) of the rental housing or property must show proof that they have attended an approved landlord training class concerning rental property management, crime-free property, and tenant screening. The class may be in person or online as long as it is approved by the King County Sheriff’s Office or the Renton Police Department.

8.    A person in charge of a premises or rental housing is encouraged to take steps to eliminate or reduce the likelihood that the premises is used as a premises for illegal activity. Those steps include but are not limited to:

a.    Attending approved landlord training;

b.    Pursuing eviction to judgment whether the eviction proceeding is successful or not;

c.    Requesting Law Enforcement’s Assistance: The person(s) in charge must cooperate with law enforcement and must make reasonable measures to implement the suggested methods to reduce the recurrence of criminal conduct. Assistance may include, but is not limited to:

i.    Providing some information about the unlawful conduct on or in the premises and/or rental housing;

ii.    Permitting and/or assisting law enforcement officers to speak directly with the tenant;

iii.    Providing resources to assist in the eviction of the tenant.

9.    Extension And Modification: An Administrator may grant an extension of the time limit for abatement or a modification of the required corrective action if the person(s) in control has shown due diligence and substantial progress in correcting the nuisance, but unforeseen circumstances delayed abatement under the original conditions.

G.    City Abatement (Involuntary Abatement):

1.    After a conviction or finding of guilt for a violation of this Section of the code or any criminal RCW or RMC code, the City of Renton may abate a nuisance condition or premises when:

a.    The terms of Voluntary Abatement Agreement pursuant to subsection F of this Section have not been met; or

b.    One or more person(s) in control fails to or refuses to enter into a Voluntary Abatement Agreement pursuant to subsection F.5 of this Section; or

c.    It learns of or receives a judgment and sentence or equivalent proof or evidence that the person(s) in charge have been convicted of a nuisance and the nuisance is related in some form to the premises; or

d.    The nuisance is subject to summary abatement as provided for in subsection G.3 of this Section.

2.    Standards For Repair, Vacation Or Demolition:

a.    The following standards shall be followed when ordering the evacuation, repair, or demolition of an unfit premises:

i.    If an unfit premises can reasonably be repaired so that it will comply with the terms of this Chapter, it must be repaired or demolished.

ii.    If an unfit premises is in such condition as to make it dangerous to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of its occupants, neighbors or the general public, it must be vacated and repaired or demolished.

iii.    If an unfit premises is fifty percent (50%) or more damaged, decayed, or deteriorated in value, it shall be demolished.

iv.    If an unfit premises cannot be repaired so that it will comply with terms of this Chapter it shall be demolished.

v.    If an unfit premises is a fire hazard, existing or erected in violation of the terms of this Chapter, the RMC, or any the laws of the State of Washington, it shall be demolished, provided the fire hazard is not abated by the owner within a reasonable time (which shall be no more than sixty (60) days).

b.    If the unfit premises is to be demolished, it must be immediately vacated and secured, and after it is demolished the land shall be suitably filled and cleared.

c.    Complaint: If a CCI or Administrator finds that a premises is unfit, he or she may initiate an abatement action by:

i.    Attempting to serve the person(s) in charge either personally or, if personal service cannot be obtained, by first class and certified mail, with return receipt requested; and

ii.    Posting in a conspicuous place on such premises a complaint stating why it is unfit for human habitation or other use, together with the abatement action to be taken and the fees and costs to be paid; or

iii.    If the whereabouts of such person(s) in charge are unknown and cannot be ascertained in the exercise of reasonable diligence, the City shall:

(a)    Make an affidavit to that effect; and

(b)    Serve the complaint or order upon such person(s) in control either by personal service or by mailing a copy of the notice and orders by certified mail, postage prepaid, return receipt requested, to each person at the address appearing on the last equalized tax assessment roll of the county where the unfit premises is located, or at the address known to the county assessor;

(c)    A copy of the notice and order shall also be mailed, addressed to each person in control, at the address of the unfit premises involved in the proceedings, if different, and to each person or party having a recorded right, title, estate, lien, or interest in the property; and

(d)    A copy of the complaint shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the property.

iv.    The complaint shall contain:

(a)    A notice that a hearing will be held before the director at a place therein fixed;

(b)    Not less than ten (10) days nor more than thirty (30) days after the service of such complaint;

(c)    That all parties in interest may file an answer to the complaint, appear at, give testimony or call witnesses, at the time and place fixed in the complaint; and

(d)    A copy of such complaint shall also be filed with the Auditor of King County, and such filing of the complaint or order shall have the force and effect of a lis pendens.

3.    Summary Abatement: The provisions of this Chapter shall not prevent the director or any other officer of the City of Renton or other governmental unit from taking any other action, summary or otherwise, necessary to eliminate or minimize an imminent danger to the health or safety of any person or property.

The City may summarily abate, without prior notice, any nuisance that constitutes an immediate threat to the public health, safety or welfare or to the environment. No right of action shall lie against the City, its agents, officers, employees, or volunteers for actions reasonably taken to prevent or cure any such immediate threats.

4.    Authorized City Action: Using any lawful means, the City may enter upon the subject premises or property and may remove or correct the nuisance which is subject to abatement. The City may seek judicial process required to abate such nuisance.

5.    Monetary Penalty: Any monetary penalty incurred to correct the nuisance shall be paid by the person(s) in control to the City within ten (10) calendar days following actual service or mailing by first class mail.

6.    Lien – Authorized: The City shall have a lien for any monetary penalty, fee or expense related to any aspect of the abatement of any nuisance or chronic nuisance premises as well as the revocation of a business license. The lien shall be subordinate to all previously existing special assessment liens imposed on the same premises or real property and shall be superior to all other liens, except for state and county taxes, with which it shall be on parity.

a.    A lien for any monetary penalty, including the cost of abatement proceedings under this Chapter, shall be filed for record with the King County Recorder’s Office against the premises or real property where the work of abatement was performed. A lien under this Chapter shall be filed within ninety (90) days from the later of the date that the monetary penalty is due or the date the work is completed or the nuisance abated.

b.    The lien shall contain sufficient information regarding the criminal violation, a legal description of the property to be charged with the lien and the owner of record, and the total amount of the lien.

c.    Any lien under this Chapter shall be verified by the applicable Administrator or law enforcement officer, and may be amended from time to time to reflect changed conditions or monetary amount.

d.    No liens filed under this Chapter shall bind the affected property for a period longer than ten (10) years, without foreclosure or extension agreed to by the property owner. (Ord. 5705, 3-17-14)

7.    Abatement By Civil Lawsuit: Whenever a nuisance exists, or voluntary correction of a nuisance has failed, or when a nuisance has continued, or when summary abatement is not merited, the City may proceed by a civil lawsuit in the King County Superior Court to enjoin and abate the nuisance in the manner provided by Chapter 7.48 RCW, as now or hereafter may be amended.

8.    If the City obtains an order of abatement, an injunction or a similar remedy, the City shall be entitled to recover all costs of abatement set forth in subsection G.6 of this Section, including but not limited to any monetary penalty imposed.

9.    If the person(s) responsible for the costs of abatement fail(s) to remit in a timely manner, the City may file a lien against the real property for the cost of any abatement proceedings under this Chapter, except no lien shall attach to the real property if the person in control was found not responsible. A notice of the City’s lien specifying the expenses incurred in abating the nuisance and giving the legal description of the premises sought to be charged shall be filed with the County Auditor within ninety (90) days from the date of the abatement. Such lien may at any time thereafter be collected in the manner provided for foreclosure of mechanic’s liens under the laws of the State of Washington.

10.    Appeal Of The Costs Of Abatement:

a.    Any person sent an invoice for the costs due for the abatement of a nuisance may request a hearing to determine if the costs should be assessed, or reduced.

b.    A request for a hearing shall be made in writing and filed with the City Clerk no later than ten (10) calendar days from the date of the invoice.

c.    Each request for hearing shall contain the address and telephone number of the person requesting the hearing and the name and/or the name and address of any person who will be present to represent him or her.

d.    Each request for hearing shall set out the basis for the appeal.

e.    Failure to request a hearing within ten (10) calendar days from the date of the invoice shall be a waiver of the right to contest the validity of the costs incurred in abatement of the violation.

f.    If a hearing is requested, the Hearing Examiner will conduct the hearing no more than eighteen (18) calendar days after the Hearing Examiner or Administrator issues the notice of hearing, unless the Hearing Examiner or Administrator finds good cause to continue the matter to another date.

g.    If a hearing is requested, the Hearing Examiner or Administrator shall mail a notice giving the time, location, and date of the hearing, by first class mail, to the person or persons to whom the invoice for the costs of abatement was directed.

h.    The Hearing Examiner shall conduct a hearing. The Administrator, as well as the person to whom the invoice for abatement costs was directed, may participate as parties in the hearing and each party may call witnesses. The City shall have the burden at the hearing to establish, by a preponderance of the evidence (meaning “more likely than not”), that the abatement costs were reasonable.

i.    The Hearing Examiner shall issue an order and determine whether the costs of abatement were reasonable and necessary. The Hearing Examiner may uphold the amount billed for the costs of abatement, or reduce the amount billed, but the Hearing Examiner may never reduce the costs of abatement below the amount that has been verified, proven or reasonably established.

j.    The order of the Hearing Examiner is the final administrative decision.

11.    Any court of competent jurisdiction may retain authority over any abated property as is appropriate and as provided by law. The City of Renton will not take ownership unless it is for the purpose of abating and then liquidating any abated property for the purpose of recovering abatement costs or any other monetary costs, penalties and/or assessments.

H.    Conflicts: In the event of a conflict between this and any other provision of this code or City ordinance providing for a civil penalty, the more specific provision shall control.

I.    Severability: If any one (1) or more subsections or sentences of this Chapter are held to be unconstitutional or invalid, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portion of this Chapter and the same shall remain in full force and effect.

J.    Permit Required: Any work including construction, repairs or alterations under this Chapter to rehabilitate any building or structure may require a permit in accord with the provisions of RMC Title 4.

K.    Rules And Regulations: The director may make and promulgate such rules and regulations as will effectuate the purposes of this Chapter and do substantial justice. (Ord. 5629, 10-3-11)

1-3-4 DEFINITIONS:

(Rep. by Ord. 5629, 10-3-11)

1-3-5 UNFIT DWELLINGS, BUILDINGS AND STRUCTURES:2

(Rep. by Ord. 5629, 10-3-11)


1

Code reviser’s note: Section 1-3-3C.2.e, as set out in Ordinance No. 5629, has been renumbered to Section 1-3-3C.4 to correct a scrivener’s error.


2

Code reviser’s note: Section 1-3-5, renumbered to Section 1-3-4 by Ordinance No. 5629, has been repealed to correct a scrivener’s error.