As of March 9, 2015 all residential rental properties (apartments, homes, duplexes, ADUs, etc.) within Bellingham city limits are required to be registered with the City, except for those units that meet the criteria that qualifies them for an exemption from the program. The program is designed to ensure that all rental housing units comply with specific life & fire safety standards and are providing a safe place for tenants to live.
A Rental License is valid until the end of the current calendar year, and must be renewed by December 31st to be valid for the upcoming year (regardless of which month it was registered in).
Register rental units:
- In Person / By Mail: The following information will be needed to successfully complete the Rental Property Registration Form (PDF).
- The rental property's address and parcel ID number (corresponds to the geographic ID number provided by the Whatcom County Assessor);
- Number of units the rental property contains; and
- Contact information for the rental property owner, including mailing address and phone number.
NOTE: Many rental properties have a Bellingham address, but are not within the city limits. If you are not sure whether your rental property is within Bellingham's city limits, please contact the RR&SIP program specialist at (360) 778-8361 or
Registration fees can be paid with check, cash, money order, or credit card. When mailing in a registration form, please pay with check or money order only, checks should be made out to "City of Bellingham". The
exemptions page contains a list of properties that are exempt from paying the registration fee. The fee is calculated based on the number of units an individual property contains.
*Note: The entire rental property portfolio is not what is used to determine the fee. For example: a rental property owner has three properties, each with 10 units. They will pay $10 per unit for each property, NOT $8 per unit despite having a total portfolio of 30 units.
Annual Registration / Renewal Fees ||
Program Late Fees (1-60 Days Late)|
1-20 Units||$10.00 / unit||
21 or more ||
$8.00 / unit||5-20 Units||