Spokane Neighborhood Council discusses rental inspection program

Mandatory inspections of rental properties may be in Spokane's future.

Tuesday, Spokane's Neighborhood Council discussed creating a rental inspection and licensing program for the city of Spokane.

Similar programs exist in Seattle, Pasco and Auburn, Wash.

Currently, Spokane's rental inspection system is driven by complaints.

If a tenant has a complaint about poor conditions, they can call Code Enforcement, and they will send out an inspector.

However, if the city had a rental inspection program, there would be regular, periodic inspections of rental properties.

Supporters say this option makes sure rentals are safe and livable and don't fall into the substandard building process.

Opponents say they are concerned the cost of hiring an inspector will be transferred on to the tenant either through a fee or increased rent.

Spokane city leaders say they are in the "very beginning stages" of this conversation.

"It's been an idea that's been proposed to be considered by our Community Safety Committee. So, now neighborhood and representatives from up to 27 neighborhood councils will be coming together to have preliminary conversations about the merits of this proposal," said Jonathan Mallahan, Spokane Community and Neighborhood Services Director.

Discussions on the proposed rental inspection program continue January 13.