In order to request an inspection of a rental property, a tenant must first follow all the required steps under the Washington State Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (RLTA, RCW 59.18) and the requirements of the City of Tacoma.
If a landlord has failed to make properly requested repairs and the tenant has followed all the steps under RCW 59.18.070, he or she can request a Landlord-Tenant Code Compliance Inspection as described in RCW 59.18.115. If the tenant chooses to exercise this remedy, the landlord cannot refuse entry.
Otherwise, rental property is considered private property, therefore a City of Tacoma's Code Compliance Inspector cannot come onto the property to inspect without the property owner's permission.
1. Be the legal tenant of the premises at which an inspection is being requested. (If not, we will not process the request).
2. Notify the landlord in writing of the substandard or dangerous conditions that needs taken care of per RCW 59.18.060 and allow the landlord a reasonable time to remedy the condition or conditions as stated in RCW 59.18.070. Reasonable times are:
- Not more than twenty-four (24) hours, where the defective condition deprives the tenant of hot or cold water, heat, or electricity, or is imminently hazardous to life;
- Not more than seventy-two (72) hours, where the defective condition deprives the tenant of the use of a refrigerator, range and oven, or a major plumbing fixture supplied by the landlord; and
- Not more than ten (10) days in all other cases.
3. Be current with rent and be able to provide proof.
4. If the conditions are substandard or dangerous enough, a tenant must be prepared to vacate the premises if the Code Compliance Inspector believes it is necessary for safety reasons.
5. Please be aware that the landlord will be given the opportunity to be at the residence at the time of the Landlord-Tenant Code Inspection.
Landlord-Tenant Code Compliance Inspection Process
1. The tenant must request in writing a Landlord-Tenant Code Compliance Inspection. The request must include a copy of the letter to the landlord requesting repairs and verification that the landlord received it, and that there has been ample time for landlord to remedy the condition(s).
2. When the written request and required supporting documents are received, the request will be sent to the Landlord-Tenant Coordinator for a case to be opened.
3. If an Electrical Inspection is also needed, the Landlord-Tenant Coordinator will request an Electrical Inspector be present through TPU.
4. The inspection request will then be assigned to the appropriate Code
5. The Landlord-Tenant Coordinator will set up the time and date for the residence to be inspected within 5 days of the receipt of the request.
6. The Landlord-Tenant Coordinator will notify the landlord of the intent to inspect the residence at least 24-hours before the inspection. However, the landlord cannot refuse entry into the unit.
7. The purpose of this inspection is to verify, to the best of the inspector's ability whether the tenant's listed condition(s) exist(s) and substantially endanger the tenant's health or safety per RCW 59.18.115.
8. The Landlord-Tenant Coordinator and the Code Compliance Inspector will perform the required inspection and verify only the condition(s) listed by the tenant in the letter to the landlord. Exception: If a condition exists that is dangerous to the tenant's health and safety, they may be required to vacate the residence immediately.