If you own a rental condo right now or are thinking about investing in one there are many factors you should consider and several important laws to keep in mind to ensure you are running your real estate investments successfully.
Important Laws that Have Changed
- The Rental Registration & Inspection Ordinance (RRIO) is now in place and requires that all rental properties be registered with the City of Seattle by the end of 2016 (the deadlines for registration are based on the number of rental units and zip code)
- Owners need to provide their tenant(s) with a copy of the current rental registration
- Once registered, the properties will be inspected at least once every 10 years by a qualified housing inspector chosen by the owner or by the city inspector
- A property owner cannot evict a tenant if the property is not registered with the City of Seattle under the RRIO
- If an owner wishes to occupy their rental unit or have a family member occupy their rental unit and there is a tenant in place, the owner now has to give the tenant written notice at least 90 days prior to the end of the rental period (this used to be 60 days notice)
- If the owner desires to sell their condo rental unit, and the tenant is in a month to month tenancy, you will need to get the tenants voluntary willingness to move. The new city regulation does not provide owners of condominiums the right to evict a tenant for purposes of a sale of the property. I think this is a big miss, personally. Single family homeowners have this right, so I’m not sure why a condo owner does not have the same right.
What we take from these new laws and rules that apply to owning a rental investment condo is:
- Register the property with the city to be in compliance with the city, it costs $175 for the first unit and $2 more per additional unit with a renewal due every 5 years
- Never let a tenancy become month to month, always have a term lease in place even if it is a short term extension for a current tenant as once you go month to month you lose your ability to evict the tenant in order to sell your condo.
- Hire a professional property manager to manage your rental properties as they stay on top of all of the law changes and requirements and will help your rental run smoothly, stay in compliance with all applicable laws and protect your interests.
Have any questions about buying an investment condo? Let us know, we are here to help.
By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle downtown condos.