One Family Rental Overview

Single-family homes (free standing, attached, or semi-detached), individual condominium or coop units, and the rental of individual rooms are the main property types that qualify for this license. And if your property has been approved for an Accessory Dwelling Unit or you are renting out rooms in your property, you would still apply for a one-family license.

Like the license title says, these are properties that comprise one unit only. These types of properties have one kitchen for the entire property (except for approved Accessory Dwelling Units). 

Important Distinctions

  • In-law or au-pair suites are not permitted to be licensed as one-family properties. Typically these units have their own full kitchens, which does not allow them to qualify as a single-family homes.
  • Carriage houses that share the same real estate lot with another housing structure cannot be licensed as a one-family rental, as this is two housing units on the same property. If the carriage house has a square/lot address and a postal address that are not shared with another property, then it must apply for a one-family license.
  • Suppose an owner lives in a house and wants to rent a portion of it. If that portion has its own kitchen, it would be operating as a second unit, which means you have to apply as a two-family rental.

Filings and inspections

In the following sections, we’ll explain the licensing process for a One-Family Rental license, which involves several filings and an inspection. It includes the requirements, timeline, general information, and other details. 

 

Business Tax Registration

In D.C., renting property and collecting income, no matter how little or how much, is considered a business activity. Accordingly, you have to obtain a   Business Tax Registration, much like you had to obtain a business license. The Business Tax Registration will require you, whether you are a D.C.  resident or not, to file a tax return with the DC Office of Tax and Revenue, on an annual basis, to report your rental income. Once your tax return is processed, you’ll have to pay the associated tax, known as the Unincorporated Business Franchise Tax, if the applicant is not a corporation. Otherwise, a corporation will have to pay a Corporate Franchise Tax.

As of 2021, the Corporate and Unincorporated Franchise Tax rates are 8.25%. Additionally, there is $250 minimum tax if your gross receipts are $1 million or less.

Business tax registration is included as part of RentJiffy’s basic license package.

Basic Business License

The Basic Business License for a one-family rental endorsement is what you need to rent your property. Note: The applicant must be the owner listed on the property deed.

The Basic Business License will only be issued after passing a required property maintenance inspection.

A Basic Business License is included as part of RentJiffy’s basic license package.

RAD Registration

RAD Registration is known as the application process that will either register you for rent control or request exemption from rent control. 

The RAD registration is the last step in the process. The Rental Accommodations Office does not allow this filing process to begin until the license is issued and typically issues the RAD Registration a few days after the license is issued.

The RAD Registration is included as part of RentJiffy’s basic license package.

Certificate of Occupancy
The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs does not issue a Certificate of Occupancy to one-family properties, so it is not applicable for this license type.
Business Entity Registration

If your property is owned by a business entity such as an LLC or corporation, the company that owns it must be registered with the DC Office of Corporations before a license can be issued.

If your property is owned by a company and that company was registered outside of D.C. (such as Maryland or Virginia), you will need to complete a Foreign Entity Registration. 

This is not included as part of RentJiffy’s basic license package, but we can take care of all of the registration requirements for a separate fee.

Inspection

D.C. requires your property to pass an inspection, performed by a Building Inspector from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, before your license is issued. They do not accept home inspection reports from home inspectors (you may have had an inspection from a home inspector when you purchased your property).

If you’d like to learn about what commonly failed inspection items are, see our article What Inspectors Look For.

RentJiffy offers a time-saving inspection service where we schedule and meet the inspector on your behalf, so you don’t have to. For an additional fee, you can select this service when you complete your license application with us. 

How long will it take to get licensed?

One-Family Rental is the most basic rental housing license to obtain, so you can expect the license to be issued within 15-30 days after you signed your application. Additionally, you are required to pass an inspection before the license can be issued. To sum it up, your timeline will fluctuate depending on how long it takes to schedule your inspection, whether the property passes or fails, and how long it takes to remedy the failed item(s) and pass a subsequent inspection. 

The good news is, many owners do pass inspections and have their licenses issued within 15 calendar days (and sometimes sooner). So hope for a 15 calendar days pass (while you plan on 30 calendar days).

I have an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)
Though an ADU is technically a second-unit, D.C.’s zoning regulations do not define it as such. In the District, an ADU is considered part of the single-family property. This is why ADUs are not given Certificates of Occupancy. If you converted a portion of your property into an ADU, then you will apply for a One-Family Rental license, not a Two-Family Rental license. 
I am renting out rooms in my house
As long as you will be renting to 5 or less unrelated people, you can obtain a One-Family Rental license. But if you want to rent to more than 5 people, you will need a Rooming House license. At this time RentJiffy does not offer licensing services for Rooming Houses.
Ready to obtain your license?

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