We’ll Walk You Through The Process
Landlords in DC, we’re helping you get licensed. Getting your property licensed is a vital part to protecting your rights as a Landlord. Getting licensed also ensures your property is a safe place for Tenants.
Expires April 30, 2021
NAICS Code: 531110
NAICS Description: This classification applies if you own and rent out single-family homes, town houses, duplexes, individual condominium units or individual rooms. A Basic Business License is required 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
All applicants for a Basic Business License must comply with the following DC Code requirements:
If your organization is a corporation, limited liability company, partnership, or in some cases, a trust, said organization must be registered and in good standing with the Corporations Division. For more information, including assistance with completing the application process, please contact the Corporations Division at or visit DCRA Corporate Registration Information Center.
Non-Resident of the District of Columbia (including Foreign Corporations)
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.
Corporate Registered Agents
Any business required to register with the Corporations Division is required to maintain a registered agent. Said registered agent may be a bona fide District of Columbia resident or a company physically located in the District of Columbia. The registered agent’s office may or may not be the same address as the place of business.
Family trusts, general partnerships, and sole proprietors are required to maintain a resident agent. Said resident agent may be a bona fide District of Columbia resident or a company physically located in the District of Columbia. The resident agent’s office may or may not be the same address as the place of business.
Trade Name Registration (Use of Fictitious Business Name)
A business operating under a fictitious name or a name other than the legally recognized name must register the trade name with the Corporations Division. For more information, including assistance with completing the trade name application process, please contact the Corporations Division at or visit DCRA Corporate Registration Information Center.
Basic Business License Application
All applicants for a Basic Business License must complete an application, remit the associated payment, and submit the required supporting documentation.
Clean Hands Self-Certification
All applicants must certify that no more than $100 is owed to the District of Columbia Government as a result of fees, penalties, interest, or taxes through completion of a Clean Hands Self-Certification.
All Applicants must provide a registered tax number (i.e., SSN or FEIN) at the time of application. Register by completing and filing a Combined Business Tax Registration Application (Form FR-500) with the Office of Tax and Revenue, 1101 4th Street S.W., Suite W270, Washington, DC 20024. Online registration is available at the Business Tax Service Center. For more information, please call the Tax Customer Service Center at (202) 727-4829.
Basic Business License Self-Certification
In order to expedite the issuance of a Basic Business License for the One Family Rental category, all applicants should submit a BBL Self-Certification Form at the time of application.
DCRA Housing Inspection
All applicants for a Basic Business License for the One Family Rental category is required to have a housing inspection post issuance of this license. Appointments for housing inspections are scheduled and conducted by the Inspections and Compliance Administration, (202) 442-9557, Option 6. This housing inspection is performed to ensure the premise is in compliance with DC Housing Codes and is necessary to ensure the health and safety of renters.
Failure to meet all requirements within forty-five (45) days from the date of license issuance may result in the revocation of your Basic Business License, loss of paid fees, and additional administrative and civil penalties. Violations of the code that are not listed on the checklist[PDF] are subject to the issuance of a notice of violation.
Basic Business License Inspection (Tenant) Consent Form
If an applicant for a Basic Business License for the One Family Rental category currently has tenants residing at the rental property, a BBL Inspections Consent Form[PDF] must be completed by the current tenant(s) before inspectors can enter the unit(s).
Department of Housing and Community Development Rent Control Registration
All applicants for a Basic Business License for the One Family Rental category must register the rental units with the Department of Housing and Community Development’s Rental Accommodations Division (RAD), (202) 442-9505, at 1800 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE, 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20020 as required by the Rental Housing Act of 1985. TheRental Accommodations Registration Form[PDF] along with the Basic Business License Application must be presented to and stamped by the Rental Accommodations Division before the issuance of a Basic Business License. The fee associated with RAD registration is $43.00 per unit, per two-year license period in addition to the license, application, and endorsement fees.
Note: The Basic Business License Application must be approved and the associated fees must be paid prior to presenting the required documentation to the Department of Housing and Community Development’s Rental Accommodations Division (RAD).
Housing accommodations must be in compliance with the District of Columbia Housing Regulations, District of Columbia Municipal Regulations, Title 14, Chapter 11.
More information about rental housing regulation and the Rental Housing Act of 1985 is available from Department of Housing and Community Development’s Housing Services Center at 1800 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE, 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20020, (202) 442-9505.
Proactive Inspections Fee
Beginning October 1, 2009, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs began assessing all residential rental properties a $35.00 per unit fee up to a $2,000.00 maximum for the Proactive Inspections Program. The fee funds the cost of inspecting each residential property during a business license renewal period.
Application Submission Methods
You may apply for a Basic Business License and pay with a major credit/debit card via the Online Application System (OSUB). Some categories are available for immediate printing. Apply online now!
You may apply for a Basic Business License in-person with cash, check, money order or a major credit/debit card by visiting the DCRA, Business License Center, 1100 4th Street, SW, 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20024. No appointments are required. Applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Note: American Express is not accepted in the Business License Center.
You may apply for a Basic Business License and pay with a check or money order via mail. Please submit all requirements including the associated fee. Make check or money order payable to “DC Treasurer.”
Mail complete application and payment to:
Wells Fargo Bank
DC Government Wholesale Lockbox 91360
7175 Columbia Gateway Drive
Columbia, MD 21046
Note: Processing times for Basic Business Licenses submitted by mail may take up to 30 business days. Please consider applying online or in-person for the fastest turnaround.