Rental License Registrations

Do I need to register my rental unit?

​According to BMC 6.15, all residential rental properties (apartments, homes, duplexes, ADUs, etc.) within Bellingham city limits are required to be registered with the City. A searchable list of all registered rentals can be found here

Before you register: Please use Ci​t​y IQ​ to make sure the property you are registering falls within the City of Bellingham. Some “Bellingham, WA” addresses are for properties that are actually in unincorporated areas and not within Bellingham city limits.

Registering your rental unit(s): 

A rental license is valid until the end of the current calendar year, regardless of which month it was registered in. You can register your property in one of the following ways:

  • Our online permitting / license program will allow you to manage most of the things associated with your license right from your own personal computer. Use this “how to” guide for step-by-step instructions on registering your unit through the etrakit system.
  • The electronic registration application can be filled out and either emailed to or printed and mailed to Rental Registration Program – 210 Lottie St., Bellingham WA 98225. When mailing in a registration form, please pay with check or money order only, checks should be made out to “City of Bellingham”. *Note: This form can also be printed and filled in by hand.

​Although there are select units that meet the criteria that qualifies them for an exemption from the program (registration/inspection fees), most of the units will need to obtain a rental license and will be subject to the safety inspections. 

Next steps:

Processing: We do as much correspondence by email as possible, so if you have an email but did not enter it on your application, send us a quick note at If there is no email on file, we are happy to mail the invoice to the primary contact listed.

Invoice: Registration fees, as determined by the Program Fee Schedule, can be paid with check, cash, money order, or credit card. Please reference your license # or address when submitting payment. 

Certificate of Registration: A Certificate of Registration will be issued once the application has been processed and the $10.00 fee has posted to your account. We will email (or mail if no email is provided) the certificate of registration to the primary contact we have listed, and it will also be made viewable on your ‘dashboard’ if you use our online permitting / license program to manage your license.   


Does my rental license need to be renewed?

A rental license must be renewed by December 31st to be valid for the upcoming year (regardless of which month it was registered in). For example: If a new Rental Registration is submitted in March 2020, that license is valid until December 31, 2020 – and must be renewed by 12/31/2020 to be valid for 2021.

There is no registration form needed, annual renewals can be completed in one of the following ways:

  • Online – visit our online permitting / license program to manage most of the things associated with your license right from your own personal computer. Use this “how to” guide for step-by-step instructions on renewing your license through the etrakit system.
  • In person / By mail –  fees can be paid with check, cash, money order, or credit card to the City of Bellingham Finance Department – 210 Lottie Street  Bellingham, WA 98225. Please make checks payable to: “City of Bellingham” and reference your license # or rental address when submitting payment.​



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

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