Make Sure You Are Compliant
If you have a rental home in DC the Government of the District of Columbia, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, requires registration and licensing services for business. Without this license, you can not rent out your home.
For a residential One Family or Two Family Dwelling, DCRA requires landlords to have a BBL ‘Basic Business License’ which is a document issued from the DCRA’s Business Licensing Division. All applicants must submit a BBL Application. However, there are prerequisites for obtaining a BBL such as registration with the Corporations Division, registration and compliance with the Office of Tax and Revenue and have a Certificate of Occupancy or Home Occupation Permit.
Steps to Obtaining a Basic Business License (BBL)
If your business is operating as a corporate entity (e.g., corporation, limited liability company, or partnership), register via CorpOnline.
Trade Name Registration
If you are planning to use a fictitious or shortened version of the corporate name when conducting business, register the trade name via CorpOnline.
IRS + DC Tax Registration
Apply for an Employer Identification Numer (EIN) online, in-person at 77 K Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002, or via telephone at (202) 803-9000.
DC Office of Tax (OTR)
Register EIN with the DC Office of Tax and Revenue online. For more information visit 1101 4th Street, SW, 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20024, or call (202) 727-4TAX.
Clean Hands Certification
A Clean Hands check will be conducted during the Basic Business License online application process. Learn more about Clean Hands.
Certificate of Occupancy
Expedited Home Occupation Permit (eHOP): If conducting business out of a home in the District, you may be eligible to obtain an Expedited Home Occupation Permit when you apply for a Basic Business License via My DC Business Center.
Home Occupation Permit (HOP): If conducting business out of a home in the District, apply for a Home Occupation Permit.
Certificate of Occupancy (COO): If operating out of an office location in the District, apply for a Certificate of Occupancy.
Basic Business License (BBL) Application
Your business’ activities determine the type of Basic Business License required.
Fee charged by DCRA: Basic Business License fees start around $200 and go up to $500 (and in some cases up to $1,000). The fees will depend on your business’ Endorsement Category. For example, a BBL for operating a rental property is $190 for 2 years and a BBL for the “general business” category is $325 for 2 years.
BBL Renewals: Your Basic Business License will be good for 2 years before it expires. You must renew your Basic Business License every 2 years and pay the renewal fee.
Time to Renew Your BBL?
DC issues a hefty $2,000 fine if your license isn’t in compliance, here’s a helpful guide to avoid that penalty! Best practice is to start your BBL renewal process 45-60 days out from the current expiration of your BBL License.
Post Licensure Requirements
Additional approvals, licensure and/or registrations after a BBL has been issued are required for certain categories. Make sure to fill out the Checklist form linked below.