Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Washington State Developing Mandatory Lead Inspection Program for Rentals

In May, Governor Inslee of Washington State issued a directive to the Department of Health (DOH) regarding lead in water systems. The directive included the following:

"DOH shall determine the viability and potential policy changes associated with developing a Lead Rental Inspection and Registry Program, to require residential rental properties built before 1978 to register and complete a lead inspection and demonstrate safety at each change of occupancy."

Washington State is considering changes to the Residential Landlord and Tenancy Act that would mandate that landlords disclose whether the rental was constructed before 1978 or face fines, and tenants would be able to break their leases and move out. (It is estimated that 60% of all homes in Washington State are pre-1978.)

In addition to the above, the DOH is considering:
  1. Whether to target pre-1978 or pre-1960 housing.
  2. How to get landlords to register their properties
  3. Whether landlords would register each building or each unit
  4. Whether data on testing would be available to the public
  5. What would be required if a landlord fails an inspection
  6. Whether to require inspection and maintenance:
    • At the change of occupancy; or
    • Every three years
The Department of Health is to report back to the Governor by October with policy recommendations and a plan to pay for them.

Watch this space for updates.