Rental Resources

City of Lakewood's Rental Housing Safety Program

Tenant Information

The Rental Housing Safety Program (RHSP) is designed to improve residential housing and provide for neighborhood stability throughout the City. Rental property owners, or their designated representative, are required to register their property with the City of Lakewood. Once a rental property is registered, a health and safety inspection will be performed once every five years.

How does this program benefit tenants?

Currently, tenants with complaints about unsafe living conditions need to follow the required steps in the Landlord Tenant Act (RCW 59.18) or the Manufactured/Mobile Home Landlord Tenant Act (RCW 59.20). For more information on tenant rights, please click here to view Northwest Justice Project’s document, “Your Rights as a Tenant in Washington State” or here to view The City of Lakewood’s Tenant Resource Guide.”

While this will continue to be an option, RHSP creates a system to address and monitor rental property issues proactively without the need for a tenant to complain first.

Tenants can also have the peace of mind knowing that rental properties will be held to a certain standard for health and safety, outlined in the Rental Property Inspection Checklist. Rental property owners who do not comply with those standards will face penalties.

What do I need to know about the inspection process?

When your rental unit is scheduled for a safety inspection, the owner or manager must provide proper written notice per RCW 59.18.150(6). You are allowed to ask to see the inspector's ID before they enter your unit. Denying access after proper notice has been given will result in the penalties outlined in RCW 59.18.150(8). Remember: the inspector is there looking out for your best interest!

Will this program affect my rent?

The City cannot anticipate what the impact of this new program may have on the rental market, but can provide information on the fees charged by the City to implement the program. This website will be continually updated to help tenants better understand the program's potential impact.

It might be a while before the property I am renting is inspected. If I currently have concerns with health and safety items on the checklist, what are my options?

If you feel there is an issue at the rental property that requires more immediate attention, please email permits@cityoflakewood.us.

How can I find out if a rental property is in compliance?

If a rental property has passed inspection through the Rental Housing Safety Program (RHSP), a Certificate of Compliance must be posted in a visible location at each single family rental location or in a shared location at each multifamily location. A shared location could be lobbies, mailrooms or onsite leasing offices for example. Alternatively, the landlord may present a copy of the certificate to the tenant at lease signing. Here is the complete list of registered properties to date. Do not sign a lease for a rental property that has not registered with the RHSP. If you discover a rental property is not registered, notify the City by emailing rentals@cityoflakewood.us or calling (253) 983-7850.

How can tenants assist with the implementation of this program?

Tenants will play a vital role in the successful implementation of RHSP and can assist in the following ways:

  • Encourage the property owner or landlord to register the property;
  • Learn about maintenance standards and notify the owner or landlord when things need to be fixed or are not up to standard; and
  • Contact the City of Lakewood if the owner or landlord is not complying with RHSP by either not registering or not meeting the maintenance standards.