dc landlords

Everything you need to know about investing in Washington, DC.



If you have a rental home in Washington 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. All DC businesses must be properly licensed so ‘Skip the Trip’ and apply online.

BBL (Basic Business License)

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/BBL EZ-Form’. 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. 

Next Steps

Step 1: Corporate Registration click here or (202) 442.4432

Step 2: Registration with IRS & DC Office of Tax & Revenue click here or (202) 727-4829

Step 3: Certificate of Occupancy [if applicable] click here or (202) 442-4576

Step 4: BBL Application click here

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 $2000 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. Click here to get started:

Inspection BBL Checklist

Stay informed and ready for action with your BBL checklist.

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