Private Inspectors

When a rental property is due for inspection, property owners have the option to use a qualified private inspector in lieu of a City of Bellingham inspector. A qualified private inspector must 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.

They will also be required to take a training course in the specifics of RR&SIP inspections. For more details regarding scheduling and participation in inspection trainings, please contact the program specialist at

*NOTE: Private inspectors will set their own fees for rental inspections. In addition to what is paid directly to the inspector, a $45/unit fee is paid to the City of Bellingham.

  • Cancel any appointments with the City of Bellingham inspector by calling (360) 778-8361 or emailing;
  • Find a qualified private inspector;
  • Schedule an inspection appointment for a date and time before the end of the assigned inspection quarter;
  • NOTE: Only schedule inspections for those properties for which you received City notification letters.
  • Pay the City’s private inspection fee ($45/unit) online at, by mail, or in person at City Hall;
  • Provide written notification of the inspection to the tenant (see our FAQ webpage for requirements);
  • When the inspection result is “APPROVED”, collect the Declaration of Inspection from the inspector, along with any other information they provide;
  • Provide only a copy of the Declaration of Inspection (for those units that received an “APPROVED” result) to the program specialist. It can be submitted in person at City Hall, by mail or by email to
  • Receive a Certificate of Compliance from the City of Bellingham.

  • Arrive at rental property on the prescheduled date and time. *NOTE: Tenants may ask to see a copy of your ID before you enter
  • Conduct the inspection using the:
  • Rental Property Safety Inspection Checklist that can be filled in on a computer or printed and filled out by hand.
  • When the inspection result is “APPROVED”, provide the property representative with a completed Declaration of Inspection in addition to any other information you deem necessary.
  • The property owner / manager is solely responsible for informing the City of Bellingham that the rental property has passed inspection. DO NOT submit any of your inspection information directly to the City.

Any items that failed should be corrected to meet the checklist standards. Depending on the severity of the issue, a re-inspection may be required once corrections have been made. For more information on corrections and re-inspections, contact the City of Bellingham Building Official at (360) 778-8316 or

In cases where the rental property is deemed uninhabitable and the tenants must be moved out, the Building Official should be notified immediately at (360) 778-8307 or (360) 778-8300. 

A private inspector will be reviewing the same items as a City Inspector.

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)


​Planning and Community Development Department
Rental Registration Specialist
(360) 778-8361 or