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.
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.
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