Landlords Need a Basic Business License to Rent. Does Your Landlord Have One?

Is your landlord licensed? Find Out Here.

When a property owner decides they want to rent a house, an apartment building or just a portion of their home, the District requires them to obtain a Basic Business License (BBL). This is one of the few ways that the city is able to ensure the property is safe to occupy and can be properly monitored. If gives you, the renters, and the landlord certain protections.

It also triggers an automatic inspection by the D.C. Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) and the D.C. Fire Marshall. If they don’t voluntary seek a BBL, we depend on people like yourselves to report these property owners and demand a housing inspection.


Note: Choose the type of rental property from the drop down menu, enter your address and search. If your landlord doesn’t have a license, send us a comment on this entry, tweet us, or email us.

4 thoughts on “Landlords Need a Basic Business License to Rent. Does Your Landlord Have One?

  1. Laura

    So just to clarify, because I believe this is a bit of an oversimplification, there is NO requirement for a landlord to obtain a basic business license or any other sort of permit or certificate if they are renting a room of their primary home to one or two people? This is in the case where the home is also the landlord’s primary residence. These blanket statements on the site that all landlords must be licensed seem to be in conflict with other things I have read, including in the comments on this site. Thanks for taking the time to clarify.

  2. Tara Murphy

    I found out that the house i share with 3 others is listed as a ‘rooming house’ which requires him to POST an occupancy permit and a business license. There are no such certificates on the property.

  3. TomDickandHarry

    1509 Gales St NE #2, DC 20002 (the upstairs unit). One of the tenants there told me that he was physically assaulted by the landlord during a fight. The landlord is a female and the tenant is a male, so he didnt fight back. The tenant told me he moved out the next day. I see screaming and fighting all the time coming from that condo unit. The landlord is not licensed and I have heard she may be here in the US illegally since she is not a US resident.

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