We want to rent out our basement. It is a small studio with its own kitchen and bath. Do we need a licence of some kind?

Asked 9 months ago - Washington, DC

It has its own entrance as well.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Lynn Johnson

    Contributor Level 8

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes, you need a number of things--registering with DCRA, getting an exemption for small landlords, getting a bus. license, registering with the DC inc. tax office. There are companies that will do this for you for about $750 to give you some idea of the time involved. You may even need an inspection of the unit--I can't remember if that is waived for 1 unit rentals.
    Good luck, but most important, choose your tenant carefully because you can pay thousands of $ to get a bad tenant out (credit check, prior LL contact, suffic. income, etc.). Also, be SURE you have a good DC lease form (national universal forms don't do it).
    Lynn Johnson, Esq.

  2. Richard S Sternberg

    Pro

    Contributor Level 8

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . My colleague's answer is spot-on. Let me add that being a landlord in DC is not for the feint of heart. The law does not favor you. It is small tenancy landlords that pay me a lot of money each year, and I appreciate the business. Include that in your rental computation, but don't collect impermissible security deposits or use lease clauses that have been found illegal. Also, a basement without adequate street-level access suitable for fire escape may have serious problems getting a license.

    Good luck!

    Reading an answer on the Internet does not create an attorney-client relationship. You are represented by me when... more
  3. Robert E. Harris Jr.

    Contributor Level 16

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Sternberg and Johnson said it all.

    The above response is general information ONLY and is not legal advice, does not form an attorney-client... more

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