Rental Housing Inspection Program

The City of Burien established a Rental Housing Inspection Program in September 2019 which began in 2021. The program protects the public health, safety, and welfare of tenants by encouraging the proper maintenance of rental housing by identifying and requiring correction of substandard housing conditions.

Required Rental Housing Types

A health and safety inspection of the following rental housing types located within the City of Burien is required every three years.

  • Apartments
  • Duplexes
  • Triplexes
  • Four-plexes

The following rental housing types are exempt from City of Burien licensing and inspection requirements: single-family homes, condos, townhomes, mobile or manufactured homes, units unavailable for rent, accessory dwelling units, and rental units owned, operated, or managed by a government agency.

Inspection Zones and Schedule

Every three years, at least 20 percent of a property’s rental units are required to be inspected. Burien has been divided into three rental housing inspection zones for purposes of the rental housing inspections:

Burien Rental Housing Inspection Zones

View the Burien Rental Housing Inspection Zones map (downloadable PDF file).

Inspection Zones

Inspection Dates

Zone 1 (NW) north of SW 152nd St and west of 1st Ave S.

October 1, 2021 and every three years thereafter

Zone 2 (SW) south of SW 152nd St and west of 1st Ave S.

October 1, 2022 and every three years thereafter

Zone 3 (East) east of 1st Ave S.

October 1, 2023 and every three years thereafter

Pre-inspection Process

Properties within an inspection year are required to send written notice to all tenants that some units will be inspected, and tenants whose units need repairs or maintenance should send written notice to the landlord as provided in  RCW 59.18.070. The notice must also advise tenants that if the landlord fails to adequately respond to the request for repairs or maintenance, the tenants may contact City of Burien officials. A copy of the notice must be provided to the inspector upon request on the day of inspection.

Inspection Process

Step 1: Hire an Inspector

Landlords must choose a qualified private inspector from the City of Burien’s approved Rental Housing Inspector Roster (updated February 2024) to inspect the selected units. Inspections are conducted at the landlord’s expense. The City does not determine the fee charged by private inspectors.

Step 2: Unit Selection

Only 20% (rounded up to next whole number) of units need to be inspected. After hiring an approved inspector, email [email protected] at least one week before the scheduled inspection date for selection of units to be inspected.

Email must include:

  • Name of inspector
  • Date of inspection
  • Rental property name (if applicable) and address
  • Total number of units and buildings
  • Unit number sequence (A1-10, B1-10)
  • Point of contact's name, phone number, and email address

Step 3: Notification of Tenants

Once an inspection is scheduled, landlords must provide tenants of the selected units with at least two days’ written notice of the date and time of the inspection (RCW 59.18.150 (6)).

Step 4: Inspection

The Inspector must use the City of Burien’s Rental Housing Inspection Checklist. A separate checklist is required for each inspected unit.

Failed Inspection

If any of the checklist items fail, then the inspection fails. The landlord must make repairs made to the deficiencies, and have a re-inspection done.  Certain repairs require a Burien permit, such as alterations, repairs, replacements to electrical, gas, mechanical, or plumbing systems. This downloadable chart explains when permits are required. For questions about permit requirements call (206) 241-4647 or email [email protected].

Passed Inspection

If all the checklist items pass, then the inspector and landlord sign the Inspection Checklist and provide a copy to the Burien Rental Housing Inspection Program Coordinator at [email protected] or mail to Burien City Hall, Attn:  Rental Housing Inspection Program, 400 SW 152nd St., Burien, WA 98166.

Passed inspection checklists are due by October 1st of each year for rental properties in that year’s zone.

Step 5: Certificate of Inspection Issued

After the Burien Rental Housing Inspection Program Coordinator verifies the passed inspection checklist and the property has a valid Burien rental housing business license, a Certificate of Inspection will be provided to the landlord, which is valid for three years from the due date of the inspection.


Failure to have rental properties inspected may result in penalty fees and denial or revocation of rental housing business license. If a certificate of inspection is not obtained by the required due date, a landlord may not evict, even with just cause. Additionally, it is unlawful to rent housing units without required licensing and inspections.

For questions about this program, please contact the Rental Housing Inspection Program Coordinator at [email protected].

Frequently asked questions

Updated March 22, 2024