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Burien City Council approves first-ever rental housing inspection program

The program is aimed at strengthening renter protections in Burien and improving renter-landlord relationships.

BURIEN, Wash. — Editor's note: The above video is from a 2018 story on Burien families fighting to keep their apartments. 

The city of Burien has approved its first-ever rental housing inspection program.

The new program is meant to help the city monitor housing conditions in rental units and help prevent renter issues that have occurred in the past.

The program would require all rental housing units in Burien to register and complete a housing inspection. 

Every three years after the initial registration of the rental units, the city will randomly inspect 20 percent of all rental units in Burien to determine whether the units are in compliance with housing codes. 

Duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes and complexes with more than four units would be subject to inspection.

Details of the program will be worked out over the next year in time for inspections to begin in 2021. The city will conduct extensive outreach to landlords, property managers and renters in 2020 to prepare them for the new program. 

On its website, the city said it began considering tenant protection policies because wages and housing production have not been able to keep up with the city's growth. As a result, rents have increased and Burien is seeing an increasing trend of displacement of low-income residents to other communities.

The program is a part of several pieces of new legislation that aim to improve renter-landlord relationships and protect renters in Burien. 

On Sept. 16, the Burien City Council also approved the hiring of a rental housing inspection coordinator. This person will manage the program and work with residents who need assistance with rental housing issues. 

Burien is now one of a few cities in the state to implement a program like this. 

The city said that although the program will go into effect later on, residents can still report unsafe living conditions to the Buren Code Enforcement at any time by calling 206-248-5539 or by emailing CodeEnforcement@burienwa.gov.


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