DESCRIPTION: This classification applies to you if you own and rent out single-family homes, town houses, duplexes, individual condominium units or individual rooms. You’ll need to apply for a Basic Business License for each rental location. This classification does not include Apartment Houses (with three or more units) or Rooming House (with six or more occupants).
Endorsement Class: Housing - Residential
Legal Authority: DC Code 47-2828; 47-2851 DC Municipal Regulation Title 14, Chapter 2
License Duration: Two (2) Years
License Available Online: No
Category License Fee: $35.00
Application Fee: $70.00
Endorsement Fee: $25.00
RAO Fee: $43.00 per unit
Technology Fee: 10 percent of total
Step-by-Step Application Requirements
STEP ONE: Zoning Compliance
Certificate of Occupancy/Home Occupancy for Compliance for Zoning Regulations
No Certificate of Occupancy is required for one-family rental licenses.
STEP TWO: Corporate Registration
Corporation Division Requirements
If you are a corporation, partnership or limited liability company you must be registered in the District and in good standing. For instructions on how to register, please go to DCRA Corporate Registration Information Center. If you are a sole proprietor, no registration is necessary and you can skip this step. For more information, please call the Corporation Division at (202) 442-4432.
If you are not a resident of the District of Columbia, you'll need to appoint a Resident Agent or an Attorney-in-Fact who lives or works in an office in the District, who will be the official recipient of any financial, process, or legal notices that we need to send to you. If you are not a DC resident, please complete the Certified Resident Agent Appointment Form.
Every corporation needs to have a registered agent office in the District of Columbia. This office can but does not need to be the same as your place of business. Foreign corporations doing business in DC need to certify that their named registered agent is duly authorized to represent that corporation.
If your business uses a Trade Name, you'll need to register the name with DCRA and indicate both the trade name and the official business name (including its corporation, LLC, or partnership classification) if applicable.
STEP THREE: Taxes
Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) Registration
Before applying for your BBL, you'll also need to register your business with OTR and submit a copy of your tax registration certificate with your application. If you're not already registered, simply complete and file a Combined Business Tax Registration Application (Form FR500). You get all the necessary forms and submit your application online at the Business Tax Service Center. For more information, please call the Tax Customer Center at (202) 727-4829.
STEP FOUR: Clean Hands Certification
You'll also need to certify that you don't owe more than $100 to the District of Columbia government as a result of fees, penalties, interest, or taxes through completion of a Clean Hands form provided in your BBL application package. Section G in the BBL EZ Form or BBL EZ Form en Español must be completed and signed for your application to be processed. A signed form from the Office of Tax and Revenue may also be required.
STEP FIVE: Complete Basic Business License Application and Self-Certification Form
To make sure you get your BBL as quickly as possible, you must submit a properly completed BBL EZ Form after completing steps 1 through 4. All of your responses should be printed clearly in English.
Note on PDF Forms: To download and fill out BBL EZ form you should open the form and save to your desktop. We recommend you also rename the form as you save to your desktop. For most users, you should be able to save your work. If you cannot, you should print the form before closing.
STEP SIX: DCRA Housing Inspection
A housing inspection is required post issuance of this license. After your license is issued, the DCRA Inspections Division will schedule an appointment time to inspect the premise for compliance to housing codes. You can find a sample Housing Inspection Checklist below in related documents.
Failure to meet all requirements within forty-five (45) days from the date of license issuance may result in your Basic Business License being revoked, loss of paid fees, and additional administrative and civil penalties.
Violations of the code that are not listed on the checklist are subject to the issuance of a notice of violation.
If you currently have tenants residing in your property, you will need them to complete the BBL Inspection Tenant Consent Form before inspectors can enter the unit(s). The form is below in related documents.
STEP SEVEN: DHCD Rent Control Registration
You must register the rental unit(s) with the Department of Housing and Community Development's Rental Accommodations Division (RAD) at 1800 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20020 as required by the Rental Housing Act of 1985. You will need to complete and attach a Rent Control Registration Form along with the Basic Business License Application or visit DHCD to submit forms and payment. You’ll have to pay a $43.00 RAO fee, per unit, per two-year period in addition to the license, application, and endorsement fees. If you are planning to mail your payment, please include this fee in your payment.
For more information on the regulation of rental housing and the Rental Housing Act of 1985, or to obtain a copy of the Tenant Guide to Safe and Decent Housing, please call the DHCD’s Housing Services Center at (202) 442-4477.
NOTE: You must complete the DCRA Licensing Application and the tax registration process before going to DHCD.
STEP EIGHT: Additional Business Activities
If you conduct more than one business activity (endorsement type), you'll need to indicate those activities on your BBL application. You might have any number of additional business activities connected to this particular license endorsement.
Service at a Glance
Provided By: DCRA
Location: 1100 4th Street SW Washington, DC 20024
Request this Service
BBL EZ Form
BBL Self Certification Form
Clean Hands Form
Resident Agent Appointment Form
Basic Business License Safety Inspection
DHCD Rental Accommodations Registration Form
Housing Inspection Checklist
BBL Inspection Tenant Consent Form
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