Rental Inspections in Happy Valley - A Report

Rental inspections continue in Bellingham with the latest round in the Happy Valley Neighborhood. While statistics are not yet available the raw report indicates many of the same issues as were found late last year in the York and Sehome Neighborhoods. Dozens and dozens of reports of missing, misplaced or inoperable smoke alarms abound. Of particular note is also the absence of carbon monoxide detectors which have been required for years. Just how does a landlord miss that? Particularly troubling to date in Happy Valley were five decks that were found to be rotted or sagging or have missing or rotted guard/handrails. Here are the examples:

1-Guardrails/intermediate rails on any landing, deck, or platform that are 30 inches or more above grade or other surfaces are missing (flight of stairs on either end of deck, and one side of front entry steps)2-Handrails/intermediate rails on any flight with more than three risers (two or more risers that serve two or more dwelling units) are missing (stairs at deck)

1 - deck guard very loose, rotted at attachment, ineffective for fall protection

1 - several rotten deck boards, joists and guards rotted on deck. Many cantilevered joists significantly rotted, not structurally sound. Deck rim board rotted and pulling away, guard soft and not able to bear weight. 2 - cover junction box in one bedroom3 - provide one smoke alarm in each bedroom4 - cover open junction box near electrical panels

1 - at exterior stair closest to apartment, beam at ledger at top of stair rolling. Deck rim beam hung from rolled stair ledger. Beams pulling from hangers where sagging. deck joists rotted, structurally compromisedWhole building:1 - several exterior wood structures rotted. Significantly rotted second story deck joists, decking, bearing beams, guard and picket materials, loose steps on several stairways (several repairs have been made but significant signs of rot and decay are still present in multiple areas)

1- significant rotting on deck, details given to property manager2 - two plumbing repair openings in garage Gypsum, repair holes with same material3 - plumbing leak in ceiling/wall in garage below bathrooms

As I mentioned in previous reports on the results of these inspections, one wonders where these Happy Valley landlords have been for the last 6 months that the inspections have been taking place. They have had plenty of time to read about previous inspections and repair these obvious problems but have done nothing to protect their tenants. This is unconscionable, shameful behavior.

Emergency egress, water damage, electrical deficiencies, plumbing issues and rodent infestation are still surfacing. You can peruse the entire 194 page document covering the last three months of inspections here.

About Dick Conoboy

Writer • Member since Jan 26, 2008

Dick Conoboy is a recovering civilian federal worker and military officer who was offered and accepted an all-expense paid, one year trip to Vietnam in 1968. He is a former Army [...]