Burleith Landlords: Are you legal? Get licensed and get inspected.

DCRA recently received a comprehensive list of 134 properties from a coalition of Burleith neighborhood groups who spent nearly two months of walking the neighborhood and verifying data using our online PIVS application to identify what they believe are illegal rentals.

We have sent letters to each of the property owners identified on the list asking them to please respond. If you received a letter and are not currently renting your property, we apologize for the inconvenience and please respond to discuss why you may have ended up on the list and get your property off our list. If you are renting your property, please contact us immediately and we can assist you in getting your property licensed and, most importantly, inspected. We will not assess fines if you voluntarily come in and begin the licensing and inspection process.

You can contact also us via email (bbl.infocenter@dc.gov) or by calling 202-442-4311.

If we do not hear from the property owners within the period stated in the letters – 15 business days from when it was mailed – DCRA will be sending investigators to your property and you could face thousands in fines if you are indeed operating an unlicensed and uninspected rental property. One of our top priorities is to ensure rentals are safe for tenants, neighbors and the neighborhood. And if you’re a student, please discuss the licensing and inspection issues with your landlord.

DCRA: Coming to a Campus Near You

DCRA rep at Howard University, October 2008
DCRA rep at Howard University, October 2008

At this point, across the District, school is back in session.  By now, students are all settled in to their new apartments, fresh new towels and washclothes hanging on their bathroom racks.  Plush new rugs tossed onto floors with still creased from the package sheets fitted onto mattresses– adorned by vibrant new comforters.  But, are those landlords licensed!!!?  DCRA is going to help you make sure.

Yesterday, we headed to the Georgetown University’s campus for their Resource Fair and tomorrow, we’ll be paying a visit to the University of the District of Columbia’s campus.  We’ll be passing out information and answering any questions that students may have about their rental housing or landlords.  In the coming weeks, we hope to make it, at least once, to each of the campuses here in the District because this is vital information.

If you are renting a place from an unlicensed landlord, you could be putting yourself at grave risk.  Saving your life is more important than saving a few dollars.  Remember that.  While  you are here, check out the many resources offered at thisshouldbeillegal.com and tell your friends.

The first few weeks back at school can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time.  If  you are already dealing with off-campus housing woes, check to see if it’s something that we can help you with before you lose your cool.  And, if your college or university is having an event and you’d like for us to come out and hand out information and give your students a chance to ask questions with us, face to face, contact us using one of the methods in the “Contact Us” tab on the right side of the page.

Landlords: Let’s Get Licensed Today

We have written about this before, but the goal of thisshouldbeillegal.com is to ensure all collegiate off-campus housing is licensed and has been inspected for safety. DCRA can help landlords get the information they need to be sure you are legally renting to students – or any resident – and that your property is safe.

You can download a business license application and view fact sheets at the DCRA Web Site. Choose your property type and all of the information is available. If you don’t know your property type, the definitions are all right here. For just a few hundred dollars a year, you can ensure the safety of the young people living in your property.

You can also view the housing code information page for tips and details on what we look for during an inspection if you want to walk-through your own property.

Our goal is make student housing safe and we hope you can help us in this effort by getting licensed and putting your property through the proper inspections.

If you have issues you need help with, you can call our partners at the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development. Gilles A. E. Stucker Jr., Housing Provider Ombudsman with the Housing Regulation Administration, can walk you through any issues. You can call him at his office at 202.442.4569.

No. Your Landlord Won’t Know You Called Us … Even If You Want Them To.

Several people have asked privately whether landlords will know you called DCRA to report they had no business license or that they weren’t being responsive to your requests. Every year, DCRA conducts 40,000 home inspections at the request of renters for various reasons. And we take privacy and your wish to remain anonymous very seriously. Our goal is to ensure buildings are safe and healthy – not to create a big scene.

And most of the time, a simple visit from city inspectors can be just the nudge landlords need to respond to problems quickly and without any hassle. If you have any concerns, call us anonymously at 202-437-1024 or email us.

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.