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Inspection of Units

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). 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.

Unit 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 will address the items found on the Final Inspection Checklist (PDF)

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

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. 

Scheduled Appointment 

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.    


Rental Registration Specialist
(360) 778-8361 or rentals@cob.org