Skip to Content

Washington DC Rental Licensing Process

If you plan to rent your property in Washington DC you will need to obtain a rental license from DCRA. Weather you are renting out your basement, or you multi-unit building, you will need to get a BBL. (Basic Business License)

This process requires some time, and a lot of paper work. The process to register your property with DC is basically the same for all types of units, multi-units require a Certificate of Occupancy. The first thing you need to do is check with DC and make sure you are in compliance with all zoning regulations, and do a clean hand check. (Verify you do not owe the District of Columbia more than $100) Once you have verified this info, here is are the steps to obtaining your DC rental license for your single family, condo, english basement, duplex, and multi-unit.

First you will need to get a Certificate of Occupancy. This can be obtained from the DCRA. For single family units this is a self certification form.

Second you will need to register you business with the Office of Tax and Revenue. This can be done online at:

Third you will need to fill out the Basic Business License and pay the fees this can be done online at:

Fourth you will need to call and schedule a housing inspection to make sure the property is up to code. You will receive a phone number to call and schedule this inspection. This inspection must take place within 45 days.

Fifth and last, you must file a copy of all the paper work with the Department of Housing and Community Development DCHCD. When you file your copies, you will either register as rent-controlled or ask for an exemption.

RPM helps a lot of out out of state, and in area owners with this process. We usually do all of this in person. We take 2 or 3 down the DCRA and start the process. Once the paper work is filled out, it takes about 2 hours to process a Business Licenses. Online works great, but we like the in person experience, plus it gets us out of the office.

If you need help with this process, give us a call at 202-269-0303 we would love the opportunity to answer any questions, or we can even complete the process for you.

Lets say you own a rental in the Brookland neighborhood, but you do not live in the District. We can have you compete a limited power of Attorney, that would be used to act in your behalf for the rental licensing process. About 90% of the landlords we manage for use this option. We charge a small fee to fill out and process the BBL, but it saves a lot of landlords the stress of going through all the steps. We will even schedule and meet with the housing inspector. We always do a walk through prior to the housing inspection, so we can repair any items that might need address, so we can avoid a second inspection.

Not that you have completed all of the steps…. Congrat, you can now legally rent out your Washington DC investment property. Let the cash flow begin.

Real Property Management DC Metro 2828 10th St. NE #3 Washington DC 20017 202-269-0303

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.

The Neighborly Done Right Promise

The Neighborly Done Right Promise ® delivered by Real Property Management, a proud Neighborly company

When it comes to finding the right property manager for your investment property, you want to know that they stand behind their work and get the job done right – the first time. At Real Property Management we have the expertise, technology, and systems to manage your property the right way. We work hard to optimize your return on investment while preserving your asset and giving you peace of mind. Our highly trained and skilled team works hard so you can be sure your property's management will be Done Right.

Canada excluded. Services performed by independently owned and operated franchises.

See Full Details