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by Washington DC Registered Agent LLC


How to Get an Apartment License in Washington DC

Doing anything in Washington DC requires a license, and renting out an apartment is no exception. Before you can become a landlord, you’ll have to complete the following steps to make sure you are in compliance with DC law.


Do I need a Washington DC Apartment License?

If you are are renting or leasing a building that has three or more units in Washington DC, you are required to have and maintain a Washington DC Apartment License.


Do I need a registered agent for a DC Apartment License?

Yes. All applicants are required to list a DC registered agent on their Apartment License Application.

Here at Washington DC Registered Agent LLC, we pride ourselves in how UNCOMPLICATED we are. Simple, straightforward service. That’s our motto.

When you hire Washington DC Registered Agent LLC, we offer 365 days of registered agent service, complete with a safe and secure client account, annual reminders, and a knowledgeable support staff, for $49.

How much does a Washington DC Apartment License cost?

The cost depends on how many units are in the apartment building. Here is a brief fee breakdown:

Application Fee: $70.00
Endorsement Fee: $25.00
Category License Fee: Varies Based on Number of Units
10% Tech Fee: Varies Based on Subtotal

The category license fee also includes an RAO fee of $50.00/unit. The license is good for either two or four years (depending on what option you select) and must be renewed once it has expired.


What if the building I plan to rent out has a swimming pool?

If the apartment building you are planning on renting has a swimming pool, you will need to apply for a Washington DC Swimming Pool License in addition to the DC Apartment License. You can access the application by logging into the DC Business Center portal.

Before you can get a swimming pool license, you must have the location inspected by the Bureau of Food, Drug, and Radiation Protection and the Environmental Health Administration.


What is the building I plan to rent out has coin-operated laundry machines?

If the building you plan to rent offers coin-operated laundry to tenants, you must have the location inspected by the Fire Prevention Inspection Division.


How do I get a Washington DC Apartment License?

Now that you know if you need a Washington DC Apartment License, here’s how you actually get one.

  • Register Your Business with the DLCP

    If you’re operating as a legal business entity such as an LLC, corporation, or partnership in Washington DC, you must register your entity with the Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection (DLCP). Check out our Washington DC Incorporation page and our Washington DC LLC Formation page for more information on registering your business in Washington DC.

  • Register Your Business with the DC Office of Tax and Revenue

    In addition to registering your business with the DLCP, you are required to register your business with the DC Office of Tax and Revenue. You can register online at the Washington DC Office of Tax and Revenue website.

  • Or Complete a Foreign Registration Statement

    If your legal business entity is already registered in another state and you want to do business in Washington DC, you are required to complete and file the Certified Resident Agent Appointment Form and the Foreign Registration Statement with the DLCP. In addition to these documents, you must also provide a Certificate of Good Standing from the state the business is already registered in.

  • Obtain an EIN

    Your legal business entity must have a employer identification number (EIN) issued by the IRS. An EIN is a unique nine-digit number. Obtaining an EIN can be completed entirely online. Visit the IRS website to complete the process.

  • Obtain a Certificate of Occupancy

    If you are renting an apartment building with more than three units in DC, you must have a Washington DC Certificate of Occupancy. For more information on how to obtain your Certificate of Occupancy, check out our free online guide.

  • Register with the Department of Housing and Community Development

    To register with the Department of Housing and Community Development, complete and file the RAD Registration/Claim of Exemption Form with the Rental Accommodations Division located at 1100 4th Street, SW, Washington DC, 20024. In addition to the application, you are required to pay a $43.00 fee for each unit of the building. You will also need to provide proof of ownership of housing accommodation when you file this form.

    The Rental Accommodations Division is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. On Thursday, the Division is open 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

    After this from is filed, you will be provided a Landlord Registration Number or a RAD exemption number for each building that you have registered. Once you have this number, you can proceed to complete the Apartment License process.

  • Pay the Proactive Inspection Fee

    In addition to the aforementioned fees, you must also pay a $35.00 per unit fee to the Proactive Inspections Program. This fee goes towards your future apartment inspection. The Proactive Inspections Division works to make sure all multi-unit rental properties in DC are inspected and complaint with DC code.

    After you have obtained your DC Apartment License, you will receive notification from the DLCP informing you of an upcoming inspection. This inspection will include the exterior and interior of the building and all units. You, or your agent, must be present during this inspection.

  • Choose a Registered Agent

    All entities registered with the DLCP must maintain a registered agent. A registered agent is a third party entity or individual who is elected to receive any legal correspondence on behalf of the company. A registered agent must have a physical address in the District of Columbia—a PO box address is not valid.

    If you are a sole proprietor, you are still required to have a resident agent with a physical address in DC.

    Here at Washington DC Registered Agent LLC, we provide registered agent (or resident agent) service for 365 days a year for $49.

  • Apply for a Basic Business License

    You can apply for a Washington DC Apartment License by mail, in-person, or online. You are required to provide:

    • Certificate of Occupancy Number
    • General Business Information
    • Registered Agent Information
    • Stamped Rent Control Registration Form
    • Notice of Business Tax Registration
  • Complete the Clean Hands Self-Certification

    The Clean Hands Self-Certification only requires your signature validating that you do not owe the Washington DC Government more than $100. When you complete your Basic Business License application online, you also are prompted to complete this step.



How can I submit my application and application materials?

You can submit your Apartment License Application and application materials via mail, in-person, or online.

Submit by Mail

You can submit your application and application materials via mail by sending the packet and check or money order to:

Wells Fargo Bank
DC Government Wholesale Lockbox 91360
7175 Columbia Gateway Drive
Columbia, MD 21046

Applying via mail can take up to thirty days.

Submit In-Person

You can also submit your application and application materials in person by delivering the required packet to

Department of Licensing & Consumer Protection
Corporations Division
Business License Center
1100 4th Street, SW
2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20024

Applications are processed as they arrive. You are not required to make an appointment and you can pay with cash, card, check, or money order.

Submit Online

You can submit your application, all necessary materials, and fees online by using the DC Business Center portal. Processing time is immediate.


How do I renew my DC Apartment License?

You will receive a postcard with renewal instructions from the DLCP before your license expires. Most renewal steps can be completed online, however, depending on your situation you may have to complete annual inspections before you can renew your apartment license.


Why should I choose Washington DC Registered Agent LLC as my registered agent service?

Washington DC Registered Agent has helped thousands of DC companies in their business endeavors. We know how hard navigating DC’s rules and regulations can be. We don’t want to be one more thorn in your side. Washington DC Registered Agent provides efficient, straightforward, and quality registered agent service. If you’re just needing a registered agent, or if you’re ready to incorporate, we’re here to help when you need us.