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Business License - Rental FAQ

Who needs to get this license?

Any person who rents or leases out real property within the city limits of Tacoma must obtain a business license.


What if I own multiple properties in Tacoma, do I need a license for each property?

One business license will cover all properties owned by the same legal entity. If the properties are owned by separate legal entities, then a license is required for each entity. Owners must provide a list of all of their City of Tacoma rental properties upon application.


If I already have a Tacoma Business License, do I need one for rental activity too? 

If the properties and business are owned by separate legal entities, then a license is required for each entity. Properties owned by the same legal entity as the business can be under the same license. Owners must add the rental activity to their account by providing a list of all City of Tacoma rental properties. To add the activity, email a completed Supplemental Rental Property License Application and be sure to include your contract account number on the form.

Is an inspection of my rental properties required to obtain a rental business license?

The City of Tacoma does not require an inspection of rental properties to apply for a business license.  Property owners are required to certify upon application and renewal of the City license that their properties meet the standards set forth in the State Landlord Tenant Act, Title 59, Section 59.18.060.  Review the Guide to Residential Rental Inspection.


If I have a property management company manage my property for me, do I still need a business license for rental activity?

Yes, a business license is a requirement of the rental property owner.  A property management company located within the City of Tacoma has their own business license requirement for the management activities they conduct.  Some property management companies may apply for and renew the business license on behalf of a property owner; however, it is ultimately the responsibility of the property owner.


The Rental Housing Code states that if I live out of state, I must have a representative who lives in Washington. Does this person need a business license too?

If the local representative is in the business of managing properties, then they also need a business license. 


As a property owner am I responsible for business or other activity that occurs on my property and conducted by my renter?

A property owner is responsible for taking action to prevent or discontinue an activity occurring on their property that is found to be illegal, causing a high number of calls for service or that meets the City’s nuisance criteria.  Under the City’s Nuisance Code, a Notice of Violation is sent to the property owner listed on Pierce County Assessor records, not the tenant.  It is recommended that property owners periodically check on their properties in order to stay aware of the current condition of the property and the activities occurring on their property. 


What if I have sold or am no longer renting the property?

Send a request to Close Your Account. We will update your account and remove the property from your business license or close the account if you are no longer renting any properties in Tacoma.


How do I update the rental property addresses I have located in Tacoma?

To update your rental property address, complete a Supplemental Rental Property License Application.  You may mail your updated form to our office or send it via email.  Be sure to include your contract account number on the form.


What if I am a landlord or tenant with additional questions?

Are you a landlord or a tenant with questions about Landlord Tenant Laws?  The City of Tacoma is focused on improving the quality of life for the citizens of Tacoma by providing housing related services to housing providers who own and/or operate housing within the City of Tacoma limits. Use our resource guide or contact the Office of Equity and Human Rights at (253) 591-5000.