Get Answers to Your Business Licensing Questions
How can I file for a Basic Business License?
There are two ways to file for a new Basic Business License:
1. Mail-In Application — Business License applications can be downloaded from each license fact sheet. For General Business Licenses, you can complete the BBL EZ Form or BBL EZ Form en Español.
2. Walk into Business License Center. Obtain and complete forms, pay and pick-up your forms at the Business License Center at DCRA (1100 4th Street, SW, 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20024).
Can I apply online?
We are currently building an online application for Basic Business Licenses. We look forward to improving our services by offering online application and payment options in 2011. Please check back for updates on our progress.
How often are licenses renewed?
All Basic Business Licenses are valid for two years.
Where can I get a copy of the Basic Business License application?
All forms, including applications, can be downloaded here.
I have several businesses; can I apply for just one license?
No. If you have separate businesses, at separate locations, you cannot get one license for all. Licenses are issued by location; and to one license name.
1. If your licensed business is using a "Trade Name" and the business license and Certificate of Occupancy cover the same type of business, then you may license it accordingly. However, you MUST register the Trade Name at the same time.
I have several business activities; can I apply for just one license?
Yes. If you are applying to license a business which has several activities, you may combine all activities on one application. You MUST, however, provide all the appropriate documentation required for each activity. Requirements may differ from one business activity to the next. Fact sheets are available for each activity to ensure you are attaching the appropriate documentation and/or acquiring inspections and/or approvals correctly.
I currently hold a Basic Business License; do I also need to apply for a new license with a General Business endorsement?
Probably not. If you already have a current and correct Basic Business License for specialized business activities, you likely do not need to apply for a new Basic Business License with a General Business endorsement. If your current license includes any endorsements except the following, you do not need to apply for a General Business license.
- Retail Cigarette
- Patent Medicine
- Food Product
- Vending Machine
I lost my Basic Business License. How can I get a copy?
You must first obtain a “Lost and Stolen Report” form from DCRA’s Business License Center or download the form here. Finally, submit the report at the Business License Center with a $6 duplicate license fee.
I sent in my application; my check was cashed, but I did not receive my license yet. Why?
There could be a number of reasons why your license has not yet been issued. For information about the status of your license please call the Basic Business License office at (202) 442-4400 and hit "4", and have the following information ready: your name; the company name; address; and telephone number; the date you mailed the application; and the date your check was cashed. We will look into our records to see what the status of your license is. We will call you within 48 hours with our findings.
I sent in all the information required and received a Deficiency Notice. What does this mean?
It could mean a number of things. For example, something may not have been indicated on your application; required documents not attached; or payment received may have been in the wrong amount. The deficiency notice should indicate what actions are required to process your application.
I already have a Certificate of Authority to operate a business in the District; why another license?
A Certificate of Authority, or Certificate of Registration, issued by the Corporations Division is not a business license. It simply means that you have registered your corporation with the District and that your corporation is recognized accordingly.
I have clients in the District, but I don't have an office there, would I still need to apply for a Basic Business License?
If you are conducting business in the District, are registered with the Office of Tax and Revenue to do business in the District, and are not otherwise licensed, you are required to have a Basic Business License.
I am a sub-contractor and am only here for one contract; do I need to get a Basic Business License?
If you are a sub-contractor, and the firm you are contracting with is properly licensed to do business in the District, you are required to get your own, you would not fall under the contractor's license.
I'm employed but I do some freelance work on the side; do I need a Basic Business License?
If you are conducting business in the District, are registered with the Office of Tax and Revenue to do business in the District, and are not otherwise licensed, you are required to have a Basic Business License.
I own a single family dwelling rental unit in the District; do I need a license?
Yes, Click here for more info.
Is a business license required for an owner of a real property seeking to sell his/her/its property?
No. Although any real estate broker, etc. assisting in the sale is required to be a licensed real estate professional in the District of Columbia.
I'm a consultant, not a business, and I file my earnings on my Personal Tax form but I was told I still need a Basic Business License, why?
Unless you are registered as a business with the Office of Tax and Revenue, and have a Business Tax ID number (also referred to as a Federal Employer Identification Number), you are not required to obtain a Basic Business License.
What kind of license do I need?
This depends on your business activity. Most retail and office operations will require a General Business License, but DCRA also issues specialized license categories for food establishments, industry, and specific services. Please refer to our list of license categories for complete information.
I already have a Basic Business License; do I need a general business license?
If you already have a business license, you are most likely exempt from obtaining a General Business License. The exceptions are Basic Business Licenses in the following categories:
- Retail Cigarette
- Patent Medicine
- Food Product
- Vending Machine
If your Basic Business License only authorizes one or more of the five categories above, you must obtain a General Business License.
What do I need to apply for a license?
Each license category has different document, inspection, or investigation requirements available on our website. There are five basic steps, however, required for ALL licensed business activities, which must be satisfied before making application for your Basic Business License. They are:
- You must have a valid Federal Employee Identification Number (FEIN);
- You must register with the Office of Tax and Revenue and show that you have filed an FR-500 for DC business tax;
- You must have a Certificate of Occupancy for your business premise or a Home Occupation Permit if you work out of your home;
- You must submit a Clean Hands Self Certification form attesting that you do not owe more than $100 to the DC government (if you are completing the BBL EZ Form* BBL EZ Form en Español* you do not need a separate form); and
- If you are a corporation, partnership or limited liability company (domestic or foreign), you must be registered in the District and be in good standing. You must also have a Registered Agent.
Is there something I must do or attach before completing the Application?
Some business activities have pre-requisites. For example:
- A Beauty Shop owner/manager must have a Cosmetology license issued by the Occupational & Professional Licensing Administration of DCRA;
- A Funeral Establishment owner/manager must have a Funeral Director's license issued by the Occupational & Professional Licensing Administration of DCRA;
- A Parking Lot Attendant must have a Driver's License;
- A Solid Waste Vehicle must be inspected and approved by the Department of Motor Vehicles and Department of Public Works.
For a complete list of license requirements, look up your license category.
What if I need an inspection? When is it done and how is it arranged?
You must schedule all required inspections through the appropriate agency. Please refer to your business license category’s fact sheet for agency contact information. All inspections must be conducted and approved prior to submitting your application.
How do I find my "business activity" (endorsement) and NAICS Code?
We offer a complete list of NAICS codes and their associated business activities. You can also search for your NAICS code here. Just scroll down to NAICS Codes.
How do I find out if I have clean hands?
If you owe less than $100 to the District of Columbia government (for example, parking tickets, DCRA fines, back taxes, etc.) you have clean hands. If you owe more than $100 to the District of Columbia government, you will not be able to conduct business in the District.
What is a Resident Agent? Do I need one?
A Resident Agent is an individual residing in the District, or a DC-based business entity that you would appoint to represent you and your business or receive fiducial notice on your behalf. If you do not live or have a business premise here in the District, you need to appoint a Resident Agent.
What is a Registered Agent?
All corporations, partnerships and limited liability companies must provide the name and address of their Registered Agent. A Registered Agent is an individual or company located in the District of Columbia that will represent your business for any fiducial or similar matters. Registered Agents are required for both domestic and foreign corporations. Need a registered agent form?
How do I find a registered agent?
The Corporations Division maintains a list of registered agents. For more information, contact the Corporations Division at (202) 442-4400.
My business license will expire soon and I have not received a renewal notice; What should I do?
It depends on what you mean by soon. If it expires in less than thirty days, you must take action to ensure that you renew prior to the expiration date. Please contact the Business License Division at (202) 442-4400.
If your address has changed since your last renewal, please provide updated information as soon as possible by visiting the business license center or submit a written change of address.
I have not received a renewal notice yet and my license has expired. What do I do?
Please contact the Business License Division at (202) 442-4400.
I sent in my renewal form and payment but it was returned with a Deficiency Notice. It says I didn't pay but I have my cancelled check. Now what?
Most likely, the payment submitted was incorrect. Please check the total cost of your license (application fee, endorsement fees, and license category fees) and verify that your payment was accurate. If so, check the deficiency notice for the amount still owed. Please contact the Business License Division at (202) 442-4400.
Do I have to re-submit the same forms and documents for my renewal?
In most cases, the requirements for renewals are similar to the requirements at the time of application.
I received my Basic Business License renewal notice; what do I need to do?
You need to follow the instructions on the notice (which accompanies the Renewal Invoice), provide the appropriate documentation required, and submit payment.
Please be aware that the renewal notices are sent as a courtesy; it is not a requirement. DCRA will make every effort to send notices to licensees. If you have any questions please contact the Business License Division at (202) 442-4400.
Your renewal application must be postmarked on or before the renewal deadline date. After this date, you will be required to pay a late fee of $250 in addition to your license renewal fees. If your payment is submitted 31 days after the renewal deadline, you will be required to pay a late fee of $500 in addition to your license renewal fees.
DC Code and DC Municipal Regulations (DCMR)
What DC Code stipulates that I must get a General Business License?
Title 47 of the DC Code; Chapter 28 (found in Volume 21A). Specifically, § 47-2851.03d: “A General Business License shall be required for all businesses engaging in any business transaction in the District that have a business tax identification number and who are not otherwise required to obtain an endorsement under a license endorsement category under this chapter. If a business entity is comprised of principals who are required to maintain licenses granted or regulated by a local, state, or national certification board or body, the entity and its licensed principals shall not be required to obtain a General Business License. A biennial fee of $200 shall be charged for the General Business License.” Additional licensing requirements and procedures can be found in Chapter 38 of Title 17 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations.
Where can I access the DC Code and District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (DCMR)?
You may access the DC Code online. The DCMR can be also accessed online.
Also, most District libraries maintain updated volumes of the DC Code and the DCMR.
Accounting Issues: Payments and Refunds
How do I pay for my business license?
- Money Order
- Credit Card
Please make your check payable to the DC Treasurer and be certain to include the Application Fee ($77), Endorsement/Business Activity Fee ($27.50) for each business activity applicable to your license, and, if appropriate, include the license fee(s).
How much will my license cost?
Basic Business License fees include an application fee of $77, an additional $27.50 per endorsement (business activity) fee, and "license category fees" that relate directly to business activities. Fees vary according to business activity and their respective requirements.
How do I apply for a refund?
Refund requests must be submitted in writing. Please include BBL customer number, the name of the licensed establishment, the reason for requesting the refund, and amount of the refund. You must attach a copy of your cancelled check (back and front); or receipt. Application and Endorsement fees are non-refundable without special approval of the Business & Professional Licensing Administration Director/Administrator.
Mail the request to: Basic Business License Refund; Business & Professional Licensing Administration 1100 4th Street, SW, 3rd Floor, Washington, DC 20024.
Complaints Against Licensed and Unlicensed Business Establishments
I need to know if a particular business is licensed; can you help me?
Certain Basic Business License categories can be verified online. If you are inquiring about one of the following license types, you can use our Business License Verification system. If you’d like to verify another license type or report a business operating without a license or an expired license, please call (202) 442-4400 and hit "4".
- Home Improvement Contractor
- Apartment Building
- Inns and Motel
- Bed and Breakfast
- Rooming House
- Cooperative Association
- One-Family Rental Unit
- Two-Family Rental Unit
- Motor Vehicle Sales, Service, and Repair
Certificates of Occupancy and Inspections
What is a Certificate of Occupancy?
A Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) is a document that specifies the use of a building, structure or land according to Zoning Regulations and the provisions of the DC Building Codes. Its purpose is to ensure that the use of a building, structure or land in the District is compatible with the general intent of the Zoning Regulations. Consequently, no person can use a structure or land in the District for any purpose other than a single-family dwelling until a Certificate of Occupancy has been issued for that structure. The fee for a Certificate of Occupancy is based on square footage.
Do I need a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O)?
A new C of O is required when:
- No Certificate of Occupancy has been previously issued (new buildings)
- Property has a change of ownership
- Property has a change in occupancy load
- Property has a change in use
Where can I obtain a Certificate of Occupancy?
You would need to apply to the DCRA’s Permit Center for a Certificate of Occupancy at 1100 4th Street, SW, 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20024.
If my business is in an already established Office Building, do I still need to get a Certificate of Occupancy?
No. If your business is conducted in a commercial building that already has a general Certificate of Occupancy, you can use their Certificate of Occupancy Number as long as your business conforms to the use specified on the existing Certificate of Occupancy.
If your business does not conform to the existing C of 0 use, you will need to apply for your own Certificate of Occupancy. Generally, a review of the location and subsequent inspections will be necessary to ensure that the area is adequate and safe to support the new business (ie., restaurant; printing establishment; health spa, etc.).
How do I find what the commercial building's Certificate of Occupancy number is?
All Certificates of Occupancy must be prominently posted and visible to those entering the premises (with the exception of Churches). If you cannot easily find it, ask the Building Owner or Management Company.
If I work at home, do I need a Certificate of Occupancy?
You will need a Home Occupation Permit to operate out of your home.
I rent a single family dwelling unit in the District; do I need a Certificate of Occupancy?
No, but a Certificate of Occupancy is required for a rental establishment with 2 or more units.
My business is out of the District, and the BBL application asks for a Certificate of Occupancy Number, what do I do?
You do not need a Certificate of Occupancy if your business is located outside the District. Leave the space blank.
Home Occupation Permits
What is the purpose of a Home Occupation Permit?
To allow individuals to conduct certain occupations in their principal residence, while at the same time protecting residential neighborhoods from possible adverse effects of such occupations.
What is considered a "home occupation"?
A home occupation is a business, profession or other economic activity that is conducted full or part-time in the principal residence of the person conducting the business. There are tight restrictions as to what types of businesses can be operated from the home.
Examples are: consultants; writers; artists; tutoring; hair care providers; physicians and other health care professionals.
Where do I go to get a Home Occupation Permit?
You would need to apply to the DCRA’s Permit Center for a Home Occupancy Permit at 1100 4th Street, SW 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20024.
Office of Tax and Revenue: Filing Form FR 500
What does "clean hands" mean?
Clean Hands refers to the business financial status with the District of Columbia. A Clean Hands Self-Certification Form is required of all BBL Applicants to attest that they do not owe more than $100 to the District of Columbia as a result of fines, penalties, interest assessments, or past due taxes.
What is an FR 500?
The FR500, or Combined Tax Registration Form, is used by businesses to register all their tax requirements on one simple form. Whether registering for sales tax, franchise tax, unemployment tax, etc., the business person completes all areas applicable to their business activity either in hard copy or by going online.
I already pay business taxes to the District, do I need to file an FR 500?
If your business is already registered with the Office of Tax & Revenue, there is no need for you to re-register.
I'm a foreign corporation; I pay taxes in my home state, why do I need to file with the Office of Tax & Revenue in the District?
All businesses operating in the District of Columbia must register with the Office of Tax and Revenue regardless of whether you are paying taxes in your home state. You, and OTR, must assess your liability for employee taxes, sales tax, franchise tax and whatever other tax consideration may be required of your business.
Corporations Division: Corporate Status
What is a Corporation Registration?
The Corporations Division of the Business and Professional Licensing Administration registers foreign and domestic corporations and partnerships in the District of Columbia. Forms for lawfully registering for-profit and nonprofit corporations and limited liability companies and partnerships are available from the DCRA website or call (202) 442-4400.
What does it mean to "be in good standing" with the District?
Corporations, partnerships, or limited liability companies in "good standing" are those that have registered, and have filed the required reports and have paid all applicable fees.
All corporations, partnerships or limited liability companies must be registered and in good standing with the Corporations Division in the District. This applies to foreign businesses operating in the District as well.
I am already registered to do business in the District. Why do I need a Basic Business License?
In what way are you "registered" to do business in the District?
Do you already have a Basic Business License, or do you have:
(a) a Certificate of Authority to Conduct Business in the District issued by Corporation Division;
(b) a Trade Name Registration issued by DCRA; or
(c) or are you registered with the Office of Tax & Revenue?
Corporate, Trade Name, and Office of Tax & Revenue registration do not exempt businesses from obtaining a Basic Business License.
I'm incorporated in another state and do little business in the District, why do I need to register with the Corporations Division?
All foreign corporations conducting any business in the District are required, as per the DC Code, to register with the DCRA Corporations Division and provide a "Clean Hands Certification" statement from the Corporations Division of their home state. To register, contact Corporations at (202) 442-4400 or download the forms online.
I got a notice that I am not in "good standing," what does that mean? Who do I talk to?
This means that if you are a DC corporation, your company is either not current in filing its financial statements or applicable payments. If you are a foreign corporation, it means either that you have not registered your corporation in the District, or have not filed your financial statements or paid the applicable fees. You must contact the Corporations Division at (202) 442-4400 to determine what steps you need to take to correct the situation.
Why do I need to pay for a Trade Name? I already paid for registering my business?
If you have a Trade Name and have registered it with the District, you don’t need to do it again. Registering your corporation, limited-liability company or partnership in the District is not the same as registering your trade name.
How do I start a business in the District of Columbia?
It is always best to contact an attorney to help you establish your business and determine what business structure (Sole Proprietor, LLC, Partnership, Private Corporation or Corporation) is best for you. If, however, you would like to see what some of your options are, help is available online.
Fines, Suspensions, Revocations, Reinstatements
Why am I being fined for not renewing my license on time when DCRA didn't send my renewal notice?
The responsibility to ensure that your business continues to be licensed is solely yours. Keeping your information up-to-date (i.e., change of address, telephone numbers, Resident or Registered Agent) will assist to ensure that the renewal notice DCRA sends out reaches you, and on time.
How do I reinstate my license?
If your license was suspended or revoked; before it will be reinstated, you must comply with the actions required which, ultimately was the reason for the revocation. Licensee may request a hearing.
My license was suspended for not being in compliance with another Agency. What do I have to do?
You will have to:
1. Correct the situation which brought your business out of compliance;
2. Undergo inspections by that agency and any other relative agencies;
3. Pay the required fines or penalties; and
4. Apply at DCRA for reinstatement of business license with a compliance approval of all relevant agencies.
Professional & Occupational Licenses
Does DCRA license professionals?
DCRA's Occupational & Professional Licensing Administration is responsible for licensing a host of business and professional licenses. For example, Certified Public Accountants and CPA firms are licensed through OPLA as well as Architects, Real Estate Agents, Master Electricians, Plumbers, even Asbestos Workers. But, DCRA does not license all professionals. Many are licensed through the:
- Department of Health
- Department of Mental Health
- Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking
- Metropolitan Police Department (for Security Officers)
I am a doctor (nurse, plumber, social worker, attorney or other professional). I hold a professional license. Am I required to obtain a Basic Business License?
No. You are licensed through the Department of Health Professional Licensing Administration.
Does DCRA issue a license for security businesses, private investigators, detectives or armed guards? Does a private investigation firm also have to have a DCRA Basic Business License?
Yes. Security Agencies and firms must receive a license from DCRA, but applicants must first go to MPD for a professional license. Private detectives, investigators and armed security guards only receive licenses from MPD.
My firm is licensed through the Occupational & Professional License Administration, do I also need to register for a Basic Business License?
No. The firm does not need a Basic Business License.
I'm licensed through the Department of Health, do I also need to be licensed by DCRA?
No. The Department of Health has responsibility for licensing all medical professionals, healthcare professionals and healthcare facilities.
Does a law firm require a license?
Non-Profit Organizations, Associations and Miscellaneous
Are trade associations required to be licensed?
If the association provides services to members only they are not required to obtain a license. If the association is engaged in business services that derives income beyond its members then they would need a General Business License. If you conduct fund raising campaigns, seek government, local government, or grants you are not required to obtain a Charitable Solicitation License.
Are churches required to be licensed?
Churches are not required to obtains a business license, unless they are engaged in some type of business.
Are colleges required to get a business license?
Post secondary educational institutions are not required obtain a general business license because they are required to obtain an Educational Services license endorsement which issued by the Educational Licensure Commission.
I manage and operate a non-profit establishment. My organization is exempt from District and Federal Tax. Am I required to obtain a Basic Business License?
Non-profit is the tax status of a given organization. You must apply for a Basic Business License based on the source of your organizations funds. If you seek funds from your members only, you are not required to obtain a General Business License. If you conduct fund raising campaigns, seek government, local government, or grants you will need a Charitable Solicitation License.
For example, you may be an environmental research non-profit, which is funded by membership fees; or you may be a voluntary health organization, which solicits funds for research and educating the public on a specific health cause.
The environmental research non-profit would not be required to obtain a General Business License because it does not solicit funds outside its membership. The voluntary health organization, conversely, would require a Charitable Solicitation License because it solicits funds outside its membership. Each of those have different funding sources, and thus different license types.
How do I know if I am to register as a "Charitable Solicitation?"
This depends on how your organization is funded. If any or all of your funds come from fund raising efforts, grants, bazaars, auctions, or other events from outside of your own members, you must obtain a Charitable Solicitation License. Solicitation also includes seeking funds through federal, local or private grants.
What are the exceptions to "solicitation"?
The charitable solicitation requirements does not apply to those organizations who solicit solely for educational, church or religious purposes or a corporation or an unincorporated association under the supervision and control of any such entity that has been granted exemption from taxation under the provisions of section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code (see DC Code §44-1703).
Does my non-profit need a general business license?
If your non-profit is not required to obtain a charitable solicitation license, it will need to obtain a General Business License.
I'm a religious organization and should be exempt from getting a license. Is this true?
Churches are not required to be licensed under the BBL Program unless they have additional activities such as schools; day care centers; soup kitchens, thrift shops, or other activities that must be inspected or investigated.
My business has an IRS 501(c)(3) exempt status. Do I still need to apply for Charitable Solicitation Registration?
If you are not a church or other religious organization, and you have 501(c)(3) status, it is likely you will need to obtain a license.
Does a condominium association that provides services or offers to provide services only to condominium unit owners need a general business license to operate in the District?
A condominium association does not need a general business license when it is only providing or offering to provide services to the unit owners and not the general public.
Does a condominium association that provides services or offers to provide services to the general public need a general business license to operate in the District?
When the condominium association provides or offers to provide any services to the general public a general business license is required.
Is a condominium association that offers condominium units for sale to the general public required to have a license to operate as a real estate broker in the District?
A condominium association that offers condominium units for sale to the general public must have a license as a real estate broker.
Is each non-profit entity, notwithstanding any District of Columbia or federal tax exemption status, having a tax identification number, required to obtain a business license from the District of Columbia to conduct its business operations including each condominium association and cooperative association?
The condominium association does not need a general business license when it is only providing or offering services to the unit owners and not to the general public. However, if the condominium association provides or offers to provide any services to the general public a general business license is required. In addition, a condominium association that offers units for sale to the general public must have a license as a real estate broker. Cooperative Associations are already required to obtain a Basic Business License and do not need an additional General Business License.
Is a ground lessor of unimproved land required to obtain a general business license in the leasing of land?
No. If there is no income generated or service rendered then they would not be required to obtain a General Business License.
Is a ground lessee who improved the land with an income producing building be required to obtain at least a General Business License with the regard to the building’s income producing operations?
Yes. The lessee would have a “business operation” that both is generating income and providing service and would be required to obtain a General Business License?
Does an investor in a business entity that owns/operates a business required to have a business license to be an investor in a business, even a business that owns income producing real estate?
The investor would not be required to obtain a General Business License. The business entity would need a General Business License or the appropriate Basic Business License.
Is the owner of a building, deriving income from the rental of the building for non-residential purposes, required to obtain a general business license with regard to the leasing of the rentable areas within the building?
Yes. The owner is required to obtain a General Business License.
Is the owner of a building deriving income from the rental of a building as a housing accommodation required to obtain a basic business license with a rental housing endorsement?
Yes, they would need to seek the appropriate Basic Business License depending upon the type of housing being provided.
Does the owner of a building deriving income from the rental of a building having both residential and nonresidential have to obtain two licenses?
Yes. The owner would need a General Business License for those portions of the building rented for non-residential purposes and a Basic Business License with a rental housing endorsement for those portions of the building rented for residential housing purposes.
What if the owner is renting three or fewer condominium units in the same building as above for rental housing purposes, then is the owner required to obtain three (3) separate basic business licenses with a rental housing endorsement, one for each of the condominium units? Yes. These are separate units and would each require a one-family endorsement.
What if the owner is renting out more than 3 residential condominium units in a condominium building, what does the owner need?
The owner needs to obtain a single basic business license with a rental housing endorsement as an apartment building.
If the building also contains nonresidential uses, then as noted above the owner must also obtain at least a general business license for those operations, and the business tenants there of each obtain a general business or basic business license with appropriate endorsements as applicable.
Does the owner of a single family housing accommodation, including a condominium unit, who elects to lease out his or her housing accommodation would be required to obtain a basic business license with a housing endorsement?
Yes. They would need a separate license for each unit.
Does an owner of a multiple residential housing accommodations in multiple buildings need to obtain separate basic business licenses with a housing endorsement for each building, but an owner of multiple non-residential buildings held under a single name may obtain a single business license for all such buildings owned?
The property management company needs a general business license or a professional license. The “owner” in this case is not required to obtain a business license. However, if the owner also operates as a property manager then they need a general business license or professional license.
Does a party otherwise exempt from having to obtain a general business license, due to licensure by the District of Columbia for some business or profession, required to obtain a general business license for the leasing of property or the conduct of a business unrelated to the licensure (e.g. a law firm subleasing space within its premises to others must obtain a general business license with regard to the subleasing of space)?
Yes. They would be required to obtain a General Business License.
Does having property managed by a licensed professional property manager or licensed real estate professional relieve the property owner from having to obtain a general business license (or as applicable a basic business license with a rental housing endorsement) in regard to the leasing of that property?
No. The property would still be required to obtain a rental housing endorsement if they, their building or a portion of their building includes residential housing.