District of Columbia Certificate of Occupancy or Home Occupation Permit

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DC LLC Certificate of Occupancy
or Home Occupation Permit

Quick Start Guide
This Quick Start Guide is a brief overview of how to form an LLC in the District of Columbia.

Detailed Lessons:

 

District of Columbia LLC Costs:
District of Columbia LLC formation: $220 (one-time)
District of Columbia LLC biennial report: $300 (every 2 years)

Need help?
Hire a reliable service to form your District of Columbia LLC:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)

Certificate of Occupancy or Home Occupation Permit from Zoning Administrator

All LLCs in the District of Columbia must have one of the following from the Office of the Zoning Administrator (ZA):

  • a Certificate of Occupancy
  • or a Home Occupation Permit

A Certificate of Occupancy is used for commercial buildings and a Home Occupation Permit is used for residential buildings.

Certificate of Occupancy (C of O):

A Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) is required if your business will rent office space or owns a commercial building in DC.

A Certificate of Occupancy can only used for commercially-zoned buildings. Exceptions: multi-family dwellings (duplex, triplex, etc.), child development homes, bed & breakfasts, group homes, and other similar dwellings.

If you’re renting office space, it’s likely that the buildings Certificate of Occupancy will cover your business activities. You’ll need to get the C of O Number in order to enter it on your Basic Business License Application, which we’ll discuss in the next lesson.

Home Occupation Permit (HOP):

A Home Occupation Permit (HOP) is required if you work from home in DC.

It doesn’t matter if you own the home or rent the home; a Home Occupation Permit is required.

A Home Occupation Permit can only be used for residentially-zoned buildings.

Not required if:

A Certificate of Occupancy or Home Occupation Permit is not required if you don’t have a physical location in DC.

However, if you’re supposed to get a C of O or a HOP and you don’t, there will be serious fines and penalties from multiple government agencies in the District.

What address to use if you hired a Registered Agent?

If you hired a Registered Agent, such as Northwest Registered Agent ($125 per year), and you’ve used there address for your Registered Agent Address as well as your Business Address, you can’t use their address for your Certificate of Occupancy or Home Occupation Permit application. You’ll need to use the address in DC where you are actually operating from.

How to get a Certificate of Occupancy

If you need to get a Certificate of Occupancy for your District of Columbia LLC, please see this lesson:

DC LLC Certificate of Occupancy

How to get a Home Occupation Permit

If you need to get a Home Occupation Permit for your District of Columbia LLC, please see this lesson:

DC LLC Home Occupation Permit

Next Step: Basic Business License

Make sure you click one of the two links above to receive your Certificate of Occupancy or Home Occupation Permit. Once you have your C of O or HOP you’re ready to proceed to the next lesson: DC LLC Basic Business License.

Contact Info: Office of the Zoning Administrator

If you have any questions about your LLC’s Home Occupation Permit, you can contact the Office of the Zoning Administrator at 202-442-4576. Their office hours are 8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday.

Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator, LLC University®
Forming an LLC shouldn't be so complicated. Our step-by-step guide will make the process a breeze – and no complex legal jargon! LLC University® teaches people how to form an LLC for free in all 50 states. We hope you find our free guides and resources helpful in your business journey.

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