Cooperative Conversion

See also: Condominium ConversionTenant Relocation

What Is It?

In a cooperative apartment complex you don't actually own any real estate. Rather, you own shares in a not-for-profit corporation, and you lease your unit from the cooperative.

The conversion of apartments to cooperative ownership is controlled both by Washington state law and by Seattle ordinance. Seattle’s ordinance:

  • Provides for relocation assistance to tenants
  • Outlines the required inspections for compliance with Seattle’s Housing and Building Maintenance Code
  • Allows tenants to buy their own unit
  • Requires 120 days' notice to tenants who must move out of the converted unit
  • Requires notifications to buyers about their responsibilities and costs associated with purchasing a converted unit

If you are converting an apartment to a cooperative, you must:

  • Tell tenants about their right to receive relocation assistance
  • Provide tenants with information on how to end their lease
  • File reports with us about the conversion and the relocation assistance payments
  • Have the units inspected by a City inspector, make any needed housing code repairs, and certify and warrant those repairs

This ordinance does not cover:

Read the Code

Read the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) section about the cooperative conversion ordinance, SMC Chapter 22.902.

Proposed Changes


Construction and Inspections

Nathan Torgelson, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 2000, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 34019, Seattle, WA, 98124-4019
Phone: (206) 684-8600
Phone Alt: Violation Complaint Line: (206) 615-0808
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SDCI issues land use, construction, and trade permits, conducts construction and housing-related inspections, ensures compliance with our codes, and regulates rental rules. SDCI is committed to an antiracist workplace and to addressing racism through our work in the community.