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Last updated October 13, 2021

DC LLC Home Occupation Permit

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Detailed Lessons:

 

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Home Occupation Permit for LLCs in the District

If you want to run your business from home, you have to get a Home Occupation Permit for your LLC.

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

It doesn’t matter if you operate your business full time or part time (or how much money you make); a Home Occupation Permit is required.

Note: If you rent or own commercial/office space, then you need a Certificate of Occupancy instead.

Requirements & Restrictions for a Home Occupation Permit

There are certain requirements and restrictions that must be met in order to get a Home Occupation Permit and run your business from your home.

For example, Home Occupation Permits may only be used in buildings that are zoned residential and you can’t use more than 25% of a floor for your business.

You can find the full list on the DCRA website. Look for the bulleted list in the middle of the page:
DCRA: Get a Home Occupation Permit

What’s the purpose of the Home Occupation Permit?

The purpose of the Home Occupation Permit is to allow certain businesses to operate within a residential building without causing harm or being a nuisance to the neighborhood.

How to apply for a Home Occupation Permit (HOP)

Complete the HOP Application:
Home Occupation Permit Application Form

How to apply: Complete the application above and bring it to:

DC Permit Center
1100 4th Street SW, 2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20024

Note: The building is on the east side of 4th Street.

Hours: 8:30am to 4:30pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Thursday their hours are 9:30am to 4:30pm. You must arrive prior to 3:30pm in order to be served.

Best time to arrive: We recommend arriving to the parking garage between 8:00am and 8:15am (except on Thursdays). This way, you’ll be the first served when they open at 8:30am.

Conflicting information: The DCRA is in the process of updating numerous websites and there is a lot of outdated and incorrect information on their website. The only way to get a HOP is by walk-in filing at the Permit Center. You can’t apply online (used to be called “eHOP”) and you can’t apply by mail.

Tips:
• You can complete the HOP Application form before arrival to save time. Leave any parts blank that you don’t understand. The representatives at the Permit Center will provide assistance during your visit.
• Bring a blank copy of the application in case your first one has any issues.

Proof of residency (if tenant):
If you rent your home, you need to show proof of residency either via your driver’s license, non-driver ID card, or a copy of a utility bill (gas, water, or electric).

HOP fee: $72.60 ($36.30 paid with application, then $36.30 paid once approved)

Methods of payment: Credit or debit card, cash, check, or money order. Check or money order should be made payable to “DC Treasurer”.

Approval time: Most Home Occupation Permits are issued same-day for walk-in filings.

Parking: There is a parking garage (also on the east side of 4th Street; right next to CVS). You can also use metered street parking if you find a spot, however, it’ll be less stressful to just pay for the parking garage since getting a HOP can take a few hours. We recommend paying for 2 to 3 hours of parking.

Here is an image of the 1100 building and you can see the entrance to the underground parking next to the CVS:

Washington DC Business License and Permit Center

How it works: Park inside the garage and then head up to the 2nd floor. The 2nd floor is an open floor plan. There are no suite numbers or offices. Look for the “Permit Center”. This is where you’ll apply for your Home Occupation Permit.

Allow time: If you arrive early in the morning, we recommend allowing 1 to 2 hours. If you arrive late morning or early afternoon, please allow 2 to 3 hours.

Permit Center Contact Information:

If you have any questions about the HOP, you can call the Permit Center at 202-442-4576.

Licensed Professionals

If you are a licensed professional and are forming a Professional LLC (PLLC) in DC, you’ll need to bring a copy of your professional license when applying for your Home Occupation Permit.

Lodging or Bed & Breakfast

If your home-based business will be a Bed & Breakfast or offer lodging, you must order a Plat Map (aka a “Building Plat”) from the DC Surveyor’s Office.

They have drafters which will prepare your Building Plat after you pay for and order one.

The Building Plat they draw for you should show all existing structures as well as parking spaces for the owner and their guests.

You can find information on Building Plats here:

Look at your deed:
You will need to look at your deed in order to find your property’s square footage and lot number(s).

How long does it take?
After you place an order it’ll take anywhere from 1 to 5 business days (depending on how much you pay) for a drafter to draw up your Building Plat.

Building Plat fee:

  • $55 for regular pickup (3-5 business days)
  • $82.50 for expedited pickup (next business day)

Payment methods:
If you’re ordering online, you’ll make payment with a debit or credit card. If you’re ordering in person, you can make payment with a debit or credit card, cash, check, or money order. If you’re paying with a check or money order, please make it payable to the “DC Treasurer”.

Once your Plat is ready:
The DC Surveyor’s Office will notify you and then you’ll need to visit their office to pick up your Building Plat. Alternatively, if you have CADD software and can print your own plans, you can also request to have your plans emailed to you instead (see the Request form above).

When you apply for your Home Occupation Permit:
When you arrive at the Permit Center (2nd floor), along with your Home Occupation Permit Application, you must also have your printed Building Plat.

Surveyor’s Office Contact Information:

If you have any questions about your Building Plat, you can call the DC Surveyor’s Office at 202-442-4566. Their hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 4:15pm, except on Thursdays; when their hours are 9:30am to 4:15pm.

Child Development Homes

If your home-based business will be a Child Development Home, you must:

1. Create an emergency evacuation plan that shows all exits.

2. Schedule a fire inspection (this is mandatory) with the DC Fire Marshal. The fire inspection costs $150. You can schedule your inspection online (https://dcwebforms.dc.gov/fems/permit1/) and pay with a debit or credit card. After you submit the request, someone from the DC Fire Marshal’s office will call you (usually within 1 week) to set up a date and time for the inspection.

When you arrive at the Permit Center (2nd floor), along with your Home Occupation Permit Application, you must also have a:

  • Copy of your emergency evacuation plan
  • Fire inspection approval letter

DC Fire Marshal Contact Information:

If you have any questions about the above, you can call the DC Fire Marshal at 202-442-4532. Their hours are Monday through Friday from 8:15am to 4:45pm.

What if my Home Occupation Permit is denied?

If your Home Occupation Permit is denied, the Zoning Administrator will send you a letter explaining why.

From that point, you can either change things in the home to become compliant (if applicable and mentioned in your denial letter) or you’ll need to rent an office/commercial space to carry out your business activities.

No Renewals Needed for a Home Occupation Permit

Home Occupation Permits are valid forever. There are no renewal filings or renewal fees.

However, if either of the following are true, then you will need to get a new Home Occupation Permit:

  1. You move to a new location in DC
  2. You change your occupation/business

Next Step: Basic Business License

After you get your Home Occupation Permit, you can then 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, except on Thursdays, when their hours are 9:30am to 4:30pm.

Note: The “Permit Center” is a part of the Office of the Zoning Administrator and has the same phone number.

Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator, LLC University®
Matt Horwitz has been the leading expert on LLC education for the past decade. He founded LLC University in 2010 after realizing people needed simple and actionable instructions to start an LLC that other companies weren't offering. He's cited by Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo Finance, and the US Chamber of Commerce, and was featured by CNBC and InventRight.
 
Matt holds a Bachelor's Degree in business from Drexel University with a concentration in business law. He performs extensive research and analysis to convert state laws into simple instructions anyone can follow to form their LLC - all for free! Read more about Matt Horwitz and LLC University.

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