Code Compliance

What Is It?

SDCI's Code Compliance division enforces community standards in all neighborhoods. We ensure that all rental housing is registered, code-compliant, and that landlords follow our tenant protection regulations for the renters who make up more than half of Seattle's residents.

In 2019, we had over 30,000 complaint line contacts. Complaints included tenant issues like:

  • Emergency relocation
  • Deposit return
  • Unlawful evictions

We also address complaints about:

  • Housing standards
  • Land use violations
  • Construction without permits
  • Vacant and unfit buildings
  • Noise
  • Junk storage
  • Shoreline
  • Tree-cutting
  • Weed overgrowth

The Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance (RRIO) program is entering its second round of registering rental properties while continuing to require random compliance inspections. All landlords must register and certify compliance with our housing code. During the first 5 years of the program 31,881 units were registered.  

Our Renting in Seattle initiative features a website, Renter's Handbook, and helpline number for anyone needing to access information and resources about renting in the city. These resources were created to make City services more accessible to both tenants and housing providers.

Our electrical compliance inspection program helps ensure that licensed contractors are doing the contracted electrical work and applying all the current codes. This helps homeowners, developers, and home buyers have confidence that the electrical work is done correctly, completely, and with the necessary permits so they can avoid the time and expense of having to bring inadequate work up to code later. Our electrical compliance inspector works in conjunction with the Department of Labor and Industries to seek out and cite non-licensed workers and contractors. Our inspector's focus is to ensure:

  • Licensed workers are on all job sites
  • Proper ratios of journeyman and trainees on job sites
  • Compliance with WAC/RCW rules
  • Equal opportunities are provided for all licensed electricians and electrical contractors
  • A safer community by eliminating unlicensed electrical work

Who We Are

We currently have 50 employees (with about 20 inspection staff). Staff includes housing/zoning technicians who take in complaints and perform property research, administrative support staff, a tenant assistance group, a legal liaison, and case managers who work with building, electrical, and mechanical violators and property owners.