Bellingham Council recommends $8 to $10 rental registration fee

City Council has recommended charging rental property owners an annual fee of $8 to $10 per unit for registration under a rental safety program.

During its regular Monday night meeting, Feb. 9, Council recommended a slight change to the sliding scale staff had prepared, and approved a plan that would that would charge owners $10 per unit annually if they own one to 20 units, and $8 per unit if they own 21 or more.

That was a slight change from a recommendation members had made during a committee meeting Monday afternoon, which had those with 20 or more units getting the discounted rate. The change to 21 or more was needed to align with state law, explained member Jack Weiss.

The fee schedule was the latest piece to go before Council as staff members continue to work out the details for how to best implement the registration and inspection components of a safety program first approved in December 2014. Council still needs to take a final vote on the program for it to go on the books as city code and be enforceable.

Staff members expected registration could be required for rental properties as of Aug. 1.