Rental Business License Services in Washington, DC

Stay compliant and protect your rental property investments.

Check It Off Your List: Columbia Property Management Can Get you Registered

Good news: If you hire us all you need to do is answer a few simple questions and
provide us with a few original signatures.


If you are a landlord with a residential rental unit located in the District of Columbia you are required to have a business license and to register with the Rental Accommodations Division.


Luckily, our company provides this service for a fee so that you don’t have to spend your valuable time learning all of the ins and outs of this process.


By successfully procuring many of our clients’ business licenses we were able to learn what works best and make the process efficient.

Know Your Fees

The District of Columbia has an application fee for the business license that depends on the number of rental units at that address.

Single family, including condo units –$198.00
Two-family rental –$283.80
Three-unit apartment – $453.20
Four-unit apartment – $508.20

The fee you pay to Columbia Property Management depends on the number of rental units at that address.

$600 each for single family license
$800 for 2-unit
$1500 for 3-units
$1800 for 4-units.

NOTE: A valid Certificate of Occupancy is needed for 2 units or more per address. If none is on record, we will advise you of other third-party services who can help.


Preparing for Your License

To be able to submit an application for the business license the owner may not owe the District Government more than $100 or have any outstanding tax returns not filed or registered. This must be resolved before proceeding with the application process.

If you don’t presently have a Certificate of Occupancy you will need the document to be issued before applying for your business license (needed only for 2 units or more). Sometimes a Zoning inspection is required prior to issuing the Certificate of Occupancy, or C of O. Having a C of O issued in the last ten years re-issued with the current owners name won’t require a Zoning inspection and the city fee is approximately $85. Depending on the circumstances with the property, Columbia Property Management may be able to assist you with obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy, or we will refer you to a company who can.

Meeting Maintenance Standards

Your rental unit must be maintained. Repairs or improvements may be needed in the rental in order to pass the mandatory safety inspection on the first try. We strive to have properties comply before applying for the business license on your behalf to ensure it will pass. We base our standards on the years of experience we have and the most common pitfalls that cause an inspection to fail. Our pre-inspection is a “best effort” review. A sample of the items that are inspected are:

• Hard-wired smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on each level (interconnected to the house electric).

• Window or ventilation in kitchen and bathrooms.

• GFCI outlets in kitchen and bathrooms (outlets with the reset button).

• Keyless locks on all exit doors and security gates.

• Emergency escape egress from all sleeping areas (door or window).

• No peeling or chipping paint.

• No holes in walls, floors, or ceilings.

• Hot water heater, heating and central air conditioning are in good working order.

• Recent hot water installations must include an expansion tank.

Our company can help coordinate removing deficiencies such as these that risk causing your rental unit to fail the inspection. A formal proposal will be made and you can decide if you wish to move forward. We can also refer you to contractors and other companies for larger jobs.

Your rental unit must be structurally able to pass inspection. If it is not a legal two-family flat it will have to pass inspection as a single family dwelling. If you rent the basement separately, contact us. Each case is unique depending on the structure of the home and we will need additional information and possibly a site visit to determine if we can help you with the business license.

Let’s Get Your Rental Business Registered

We would be grateful to count you as a client for our DC Business License service. Complete the form below to provide some basic information about the rental you wish to have licensed. We will follow up via email or phone to ask a few additional questions about the property and to provide you with next steps.

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What Are People Saying About Us

Shira Golub
Shira Golub
11 February 2024
Renting from Columbia Property Management has been such a wonderful experience, especially working with Gregory Marimon as my property manager. They are extremely responsive and always make sure to help me mitigate any issues that arise.
Lee Huang
Lee Huang
30 November 2023
They're managing a property of mine in DC and it's been a breeze for me because they handle everything. This has included some complicated and unexpected repair issues, in which they've been stellar in coordinating communications with me, tenant, building management, and contractors. Thankful for them!
carolyn wesley
carolyn wesley
8 November 2023
My experience with Anthony was excellent, he is always willing to go over and beyond in anyway to assist you.
Emma Ford
Emma Ford
24 October 2023
Have had a good experience with CPM; our assistant property manager Greg has been super on top of repairs for our house, usually sending people same-day or within 24 hours. Straightforward system to pay rent and submit work requests as well.
Barbara Harmon
Barbara Harmon
10 October 2023
After having a bad experience with another management company, I've had an amazing experience with Scott and his team. They are very responsive and addressed my questions and concerns. They are very professional and open to my ideas and suggestions....which is a bonus because I live overseas. I appreciate their guinuine concern about my best interests. appfind solutions to a few matters that cropped up.
5 October 2023
Benjamin Jaime
Benjamin Jaime
24 August 2023
"I had an incredible experience renting my first home in downtown DC through Columbia Property Management. Their service was truly amazing, and they consistently addressed any concerns or issues promptly. The professionalism displayed by their team was outstanding. I wholeheartedly recommend their services to anyone in search of a hassle-free rental experience!" Scott B, Susie S, Christopher and company are friendly, honest and transparent. They helped me a lot at all times and processes. From the first day to the last. Thanks guys you are the best!

Why Hire Us?

Whether you need help with staying compliant with Washington DC landlord-tenant laws, tenant screening, marketing rental property, rental property maintenance, or ongoing support with leasing and management of your investment property, Columbia Property Management is here to support you.

As experts in the housing and rental regulations in the District of Columbia , we proactively manage leasing and tenant relationships to ensure the best possible outcome for the landlord, despite the tenant friendly nature of the laws and courts in DC.

We conduct property inspections at least twice a year and in many cases three to four times annually. This helps to spot problems early such as when preventative maintenance is required or when lease violations are observed.

Our expert management systems and processes ensure a seamless investment experience. From advanced techniques in tenant screening to monthly CPA review of the accounting in your client trust account, we go the extra mile to protect you and increase the return on your rental investment.

In the end, it is about creating long term wealth for you and your family and we are proud to be partners with our clients to help them achieve their goals.

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