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Rental Safety Inspections

The majority of rental properties that register with the RR&SIP will be required to be inspected once every three years (see the exemptions page for a list of properties that are exempt from inspections). The intent of the Safety Inspection Program (RR&SIP) is to ensure that Bellingham's residential rental housing meets specific health and safety standards and to promote compliance with these standards so that the health and safety of tenants is not jeopardized. Inspections are scheduled to begin in June 2016 and will address the items found on the Final Inspection Checklist (PDF)

*Registration and Inspection fees can be paid online! Visit www.cob.org/epermits and use our "How to" Guide*.

Cost of Inspections

Program Late Fees

Type of Inspector​Fee​Number of Units​Fee
​City Inspector​$100.00 / unit1-4 Units$50.00
Private Inspector​$45.00 / unit (this fee is paid to City, in addition to what is paid directly to the private inspector)5-20 Units$125.00
First Re-inspection​​NO CHARGE​21+ Units​$250.00
​Second Re-inspection​$50.00Appeal Fee to Hearing Examiner​​$1081.00 ($550 Hearing Examiner Fee / $531 Staff Time)
Final Re-inspection​​$50.00
​Missed Appointment​$25.00 (each)


Inspection of Units

If you have an appointment with the City, but wish to use a qualified private inspector instead; notify the program specialist at (360) 778-8361 or rentals@cob.org at least one week prior to the City inspection date. There will be limited flexibility when it comes to rescheduling.    

Prior to the inspection occurring, written notification of intent to allow an inspector to enter must be provided to the tenants of that unit as required by (RCW 59.18.150(6)). (see our FAQ webpage for notification requirements) 

IMPORTANT: The inspection must be completed, and all fees due to the City must be paid by the end of the inspection quarter date detailed on the notification letter.

City Inspector vs. Private Inspector

Property owners have the option to use a City of Bellingham inspector or a qualified private inspector who has passed the RR&SIP inspections training course and possess at least one of the following credentials:

  • American Association of Code Enforcement property maintenance and housing inspector certification;
  • International Code Council property maintenance and housing inspector certification;
  • International Code Council residential building code inspector;
  • Washington State licensed home inspector; or
  • Other acceptable credential the director establishes by rule.

Our private inspector webpage contains more details of this option, as well as the program documents private inspectors are required to use. 

Inspection Timeline

Inspection Zone 1Timeline
Sehome​June - September 2016 (COMPLETED)​
York​​October - December 2016 (COMPLETED)
Happy Valley​​January - May 2017 (COMPLETED)
​South Hill / Fairhaven / Edgemoore / South​June - August 2017 (COMPLETED)


Inspection Zone 2Timeline
RooseveltSeptember - December 2017 (COMPLETED)
Puget / Samish​January - March 2018 (CURRENT)
Alabama Hill / Silver Beach / Whatcom FallsApril - June 2018
Barkley / Irongate / King MountainJuly - September 2018


Inspection Zone 3Timeline
City Center / Lettered StreetsNovember 2018 - January 2019
Sunnyland / ColumbiaFebruary - April 2019
Birchwood / Cornwall ParkMay - July 2019
Meridian / CordataAugust - October 2019