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Basic Business License (BBL)

Legal Requirements for Owners of Rental Properties

As an owner of rental property in the District of Columbia, you receive many benefits. Before getting started, however, you will need to complete certain forms to obtain the required District of Columbia Basic Business License (BBL). This involves registering your business (the rental) for tax purposes and determining whether you are or are not subject to rent control (most owners will not be). In addition, if you have been living at the property, you will need to revoke the Homestead Deduction which has reduced your real estate taxes while you lived there. The BBL is a DC requirement, and we would like to make sure our clients are in compliance with the law.

Please use the information below to help make the process go smoothly and let us know if you have any questions

Steps to Obtaining a Basic Business License

Getting Started

A: START with the FR 500 Tax Form which you must do online. You will need this tax registration to complete the BBL form. Here is a link to the User Guide towards completing the form. Once this is filed, please be sure your accountant knows to file a DC Form D30 each year-this is what you need for clean hands tax status when you renew. A few notes while applying:

  • – For most people, you will be a sole proprietor, even if you own a property jointly. Only if you are an LLC or corporation do you need to use another form.
  • – For most people, you will use your Social Security number for your ID number.
  • – The PHYSICAL address is the property. If it is a specific unit, fill in “Unit” and put the unit designation in the next box. Do not fill the entry if it is just a house. Don’t forget to click on the “verify address” note. Then choose the one with the Zip + 4 that is marked “validated.”
  • – Click the box that says “Send mail to another address.”
  • – You will use your current personal address as the mailing address. If you are about to move, use the address that will get to you within a week or so, not your new long term address. Again, validate the address in the same manner. If you are out of the country, use Yarmouth Management, 309 7th St. SE, Washington, DC 20003-4307. Please let us know if you are using our address. This address is important because you will receive the tax registration at this address. You need that to complete the BBL form.
  • – “Date Business Commenced” will usually be the first of the following month.
  • – “Have you previously registered?” Answer “No.”
  • – The NAICS number is 531110. That will fill in the words.
  • – Answer “no” to all the questions that have no relation to rentals, “yes” to filing as an unincorporated franchise, and “yes” for personal property.
  • – Describe your activities as “residential rental.”
  • – Your tax year ends at 12/31/XX
  • – Answer No to all questions except for business income from having rental property and if you have rental property in the District of Columbia.
  • – Verify your answers, then submit. Within a week or so, you will receive a letter with your tax registration number. Once you have that, you can prepare the BBL Application online.


  • – Go to My DC Business Center:
  • – Create an Access Dc login and PW
  • – Go to my BBL
  • – Apply for a new license
  • – Download and complete the one/two family self certification form (save this for later)
  • – Choose your primary business activity: lodging and rental housing
  • – Opt for the 4 year term (places are re-inspected when they renew)
  • – Register with Corporations Division?  Answer is no (unless you are an LLC or other corporate structure)
  • – Most clients opt for “sole proprietor”
  • – Your tax id is usually your SSN
  • – They now ask for a series of addresses…the first is the rental…the next 3 are usually the owner/manager, owner/agent and the property manager.  If we are your manager, you can list us in all 3-309 7th St SE WDC 20003 2025473511
  • – Upload your pass report and self certification form
  • – Pay and you are done
  • – Check back in a few days to get a copy of the actual license and share a copy with Yarmouth
A: The RAD Registration/Claim of Exemption Form registers a rental property as either subject or exempt from rent control in The District. The most common exemption for individual homeowners is due to having 4 or fewer DC rentals. Once completed, this form will be stamped and filed with the RAD office. You can contact the Rental Accommodations Division at (202) 442-9505 or visit the DCRA office at 1800 Martin Luther King Avenue SE 20020, on the second floor.

Further Assistance

A: If it is not possible for you to file these forms yourself, you may hire a facilitator to handle filing them on your behalf. Please get in touch with us first so we can offer further assistance.