Apartment and Housing Rental Licenses in Washington DC

Landlords in Washington DC must have a basic business license to rent property within the District. The rental license is required regardless of whether you are renting units in an apartment building or a one family home. A basic business license must be obtained for each location. Therefore, the first step is completing the license application with the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA).

Business License Applications with DCRA

  • Apartment License in Washington DC

A DC Apartment License must be obtained for any building that has three or more housing units, regardless of whether the units are rented or occupied. An apartment lease is valid for two years and must be renewed before the lease expires.

You may apply for an apartment license online through DCRA. The application fee is $70; however, there are several other fees that you must also pay. The largest portion of the fees is based on the number of units in the apartment building. The category fee for a building with three to five units is $167, but the fee increases to $208 for buildings with units between six and 25. For buildings that have 26 or more units, the fee is $208 plus $130 for each addition 25 units.

To submit a complete application for an apartment license in DC, you must also include a Certificate of Occupancy, Corporate Registration, DHCD Rental Accommodations Registration Form, and a Tax Registration. Each of these forms must be obtained through a different office or division. For example, the CO must be obtained through the Office of Zoning while the Tax Registration is obtained through the Office of Tax and Revenue.

  • One Family Rental License

You may also apply for a one family rental license online with the DCRA. The license is valid for two years and must be renewed before the expiration of the license. A DC one family rental license covers single-family homes, duplexes, individual condominium units, townhomes, and individual rooms. The application fee and other required fees for a basic business license for a single-family home are $198.

As with an apartment license, you must also submit other forms with your application and the required fee. If applicable, forms that you submit with your application include BBL Self-Certification Form Corporate Registration, Rental Accommodations Registration Form, Tax Registration, and BBL Inspections (Tenant) Consent Form.

  • Two Family Rental License

The DC two family rental license is used to rent a converted basement apartment or English basement apartment. This license is not used for rooming houses (with six or more units), apartment buildings (with three or more units), individual rooms, single-family homes or individual condominium units.

As with the basic business license for a single-family home or an apartment building, the license is valid for two years and must be renewed before the expiration date of the license. The application fee and other fees for this type of basic business license are $283.80.

In addition to the fee and the application, you must submit various forms to the DCRA for approval. If applicable, you are required to submit a BBL Self-Certification Form, Certificate of Occupancy, Corporate Registration, Rental Accommodations Registration Form, Tax Registration, and BBL Inspections (Tenant) Consent Form.

Obtaining Certifications and Completing Forms

It can be difficult to understand the forms that are required, and the forms that may not apply to your rental unit. In addition, completing these forms can be a complex undertaking. Furthermore, dealing with the various offices and divisions for certifications can be overwhelming.

For example, every applicant for a basic business license for rental units in DC must complete and file a Clean Hands Self-Certification Form. This form confirms that you do not owe $100 or more in fees, penalties, taxes, or interest to any DC government office. This required form is relatively straightforward. However, completing and filing your Rent Control Registration, which must be filed after your business license is approved, is a much more complex and detailed form. Therefore, it can be helpful to have an experienced Washington DC business license attorney to help you with these forms.

Contact a Washington DC Business License Attorney for Help

Navigating the DCRA and the various offices you must do business with to obtain a basic business license for rental property in DC can be overwhelming, especially if you have never rented property in DC before now. The above summary of applications does not cover each step that must be taken to satisfy each law and regulation to rent property within the District. One mistake on a form can cause costly delays and denials of your application. In addition, if you do not have all required documentation, you could be charged fines and other penalties for failing to have a proper DC rental license.

The attorneys of The Law Offices of Paul D. Hunt work with businesses and individuals who need a basic business license for rental properties in Washington DC. We complete all required forms, help coordinate inspections, obtain certifications, and file all documents to ensure that the application process is as efficient as possible. Our law firm handles the legal steps to obtain a rental license so that you can focus on more important things such as preparing your rental property to receive top dollar in rental income.

Contact The Law Offices of Paul D. Hunt by calling 202-463-1965 for more information.