City Opens Online Rental Registry Aimed At Maintaining Safe Living Spaces

Brian Walker, Communications Manager, 509.625.6765

Friday, December 1, 2023 at 10:02 a.m.

Updated Jan. 2, 2024

This page refers to Long-term Rental properties (30+ days). If you are looking for information on registering a Short-term Rental property (under 30 days), please visit the Short-term Rentals page.

Read updated information on registering Long-term Rental properties (updated Jan. 2, 2024).

The City of Spokane’s new online rental registry opened today, Friday, Dec. 1. The City Council passed the Regulation of Residential Rental Housing ordinance in March 2023. 

All rental properties must be registered by either landlords, property managers, or agents of the owner by Sunday, Dec. 31. In future years, the annual registration window for rentals will be open in November and December for the following year.

Registration is an online process where applications will be submitted directly to the City using the City’s existing online application system, Accela Citizen Access ( If online access is needed, a computer will be available in the Development Services Center on the Third Floor of City Hall from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

“The intent of the ordinance is to require business licenses for owners/operators of rental properties, to create a rental registry, and to re-iterate existing standards and habitability expectations and enforcement mechanisms for rental housing in the City,” said Jason Ruffing, Code Enforcement Supervisor. “The ordinance is focused on preserving housing stock, maintaining safe living spaces, and creating and maintaining a database to track the rental units in our community.”

The goal of the rental property registry is to obtain property information, organize contact information for responsible parties, and to gather data and streamline reporting. Additionally, the registry will help facilitate routine, periodic inspections and compliance efforts.

The business license has an annual fee of $127. Licenses for rental properties are obtained through the Washington State Department of Revenue. The ordinance also establishes a $15 per rental unit fee that will be paid as a part of the rental registry application.

The initial inspection and initial re-inspection (if needed) that are conducted by Code Enforcement staff will not have a fee. However, if subsequent inspections are needed at specific properties due to violations not being adequately addressed, additional safety inspection fees may be assessed.

“Voluntary compliance is the goal for any deficiencies observed,” Ruffing said.

Code Enforcement staff will begin coordinating and conducting registry-based inspections in early 2024. In the meantime, the department will continue to respond to complaints for substandard conditions at properties across the city, including rental properties. Complaints can be submitted using 311. If you’re unable to process your request online for any reason, you can also call 3-1-1, or 509-755-CITY (2489), from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and they can assist with filling a complaint on your behalf.
Common violations inspectors observe would include lack of hot water, exposed wiring, water leaks, inadequate weatherproofing, and other similar issues. Code Enforcement evaluates building maintenance and habitability issues using the list of substandard building deficiencies detailed in the Existing Building and Conservation Code, found in SMC 17F.070.400. The new rental housing ordinance did not adopt new habitability or maintenance standards.

To respect people’s privacy, Code Enforcement staff will request legal access to perform the inspection from inside of the property lines and dwelling units.

There are thousands of rental units in the City, and the registry will help determine an estimated number.

The ordinance also established expectations for civil matter issues and other rental housing topics that are more legal in nature.

For more information, see these resources:

For questions on the rental property registry, email For questions on obtaining a business license for operating a rental property business in the City, call the Washington State Department of Revenue at 360-705-6741 or City of Spokane Taxes and Licenses at 509-625-6070. Information about the City’s Short-term Rental monitoring program can be found here.