Last updated July 15, 2021
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.
District of Columbia LLC Costs:
District of Columbia LLC formation: $220 (one-time)
District of Columbia LLC biennial report: $300 (every 2 years)
★ 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):
- Certificate of Occupancy, or
- 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 be 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 building’s 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 their 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:
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:
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.