Registering a Rental Unit

There are three ways that property owners and/or property management agencies can register a property:

The EZ Application can be filled out and directly submitted to the RR&SIP Team using any computer or mobile device.

Visit the online eTRAKiT web portal (requires an account) to create and manage your license via our eTrakit system. Use this “how to” guide or watch the Managing your Rental License with eTRAKiT video (coming soon) for instructions on using the eTRAKiT web portal.

The Fillable/Printable form is a .pdf version of the rental license application and can be downloaded to your computer for completion. Once completed, the form can be saved and emailed to or printed and mailed to the Rental Registration team at City Hall, 210 Lottie Street, Bellingham WA 98225.

There are many Bellingham, WA addresses that are not located within the Bellingham City limits, but instead just outside of the boundary in the urban growth areas. Only those units within the city limits boundary are subject to the Rental Registration and Safety Inspection Program.

To confirm if your unit is within the city’s boundary, look up the address on our CityIQ Online Map Viewer – City of Bellingham (

  • Launch the CityIQ Online Map Viewer
  • Type the applicable address in the search field (top right)
  • Hit Enter
  • Click Address in the left-hand column and a pin will appear on the map
    • If it is inside the darker dashed lines, it is within the city limits and subject to the Rental Registration and Safety Inspection Program.
    • If it is outside the darker dashed lines, it is not subject to the program.

There are specific instances that will qualify certain units to be considered “exempt”. Housing units that can be described using any of the following criteria are required to register the property, but will not be required to pay registration fees or be subject to inspections on the unit.

  • Owner-occupied buildings containing two units (as described below)
    • A single-family residence that the owner occupies with an attached accessory dwelling unit (sometimes referred to as a “mother-in-law” apartment) that is rented out;
    • A single-family residence with an attached accessory dwelling unit that the owners occupy;
    • A single-family residence that has been converted into two apartments, one of which the owner occupies; or
    • A duplex in which the owner occupies one of the units.;
  • Units owned, operated or managed by a government agency or authority or are specifically exempted from a fee by state or federal law, however, once government ownership, operation or management ceases so does the exemption for fee payment;
  • Rental units that receive funding or subsidies from federal, state or local government, and that are inspected at least once every three years as a condition of that funding; and
  • Accessory dwelling units that are attached to a single-family residential unit AND the owner of the property resides in either of those housing units.

Housing units that meet one of the following criteria are exempt from participating in the program at this time.  

  • Owner-occupied single-family residences;
  • Units unavailable for rent or outside the city limits;
  • Accommodations in hotels, motels, inns or similar facilities for transient guests (except for units occupied by non-transient guests);
  • Retirement or nursing homes and housing within any hospital or State licensed medical care facility, service care facility, convent, monastery or other housing occupied exclusively by members of a religious order;
  • Mobile or manufactured homes (these fall within the jurisdiction of Washington State Labor and Industries); and
  • Shelters for transitional housing.

Property owners have the option to use a City of Bellingham inspector orqualified private inspector who has passed the RR&SIP inspections training course and possesses 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 credentials the director establishes by rule

*NOTE: The City of Bellingham will charge a $45/unit program fee separate from the fees that the private inspector will require for the inspections they perform. Please visit our safety inspection webpage or the full fee schedule for the program costs associated with the inspection program.

  • $10.00/unit (for properties with 1-20 units on a single parcel)
  • $8.00/unit (for properties with 21+ units on a single parcel)

The registration fee is due at the time of registration and then annually by December 31st of each calendar year (regardless of the month the application is received) to avoid late fees and other penalties. For example: If a new Rental Registration is submitted in March 2022, that license is valid until December 31, 2022 – and must be renewed by 12/31/2022 to be valid for 2023.

Please review the full fee schedule for a complete list of program charges, including fees for safety inspections, missed inspection appointments, re-inspections, and the late fee matrix.

If a property management agency is handling the oversight of your unit, and you would like them to receive the invoices, inspection correspondences and applicable certificates to prove compliance with the program, please enter their information in the applicant section of the form. This will prompt the team to make them your primary contact for the specified rental units.

Once the application is received by the City, a member of the RR&SIP program will process the application, and add the $10.00 annual registration fee to your account. Once you receive the emailed invoice, you can make the payment via:

  • the online eTRAKiT web portal – Use this “how to” guide or watch the Managing your Rental License with eTRAKiT video (coming soon) for instructions on using the eTRAKiT web portal.
  • submit a check to the Finance Department (210 Lottie Street – Bellingham, WA 98225)

After a unit is registered, program staff will determine if the unit will need to have an inspection performed during the current inspection quarter, or if the unit will be folded into the neighborhood’s assigned inspection quarter.

The City maintains a list of registered properties that gets updated periodically. If you are unsure if the property you are searching for has been registered, please reach out to us at with the full address so that we can look it up and confirm the status for you.

Also, please note the Bellingham Municipal Code does allow for some exceptions from the program, and if applicable, that may be why the subject property is not listed.