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Get a Home Occupation Permit

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A home occupation is a business, profession or other economic activity conducted full- or part-time in the principal residence of the person conducting the business. Examples of allowable home occupations are general office use, tutoring of no more than five students at one time, sewing, fine arts activities, computer programming, cosmetologists and hair care providers, physicians and other licensed health care professionals.

Conditions for Home Occupancy Permits

A few, but not all, of the basic conditions for a home occupation permit include:

  • No more than 25 percent of the dwelling's floor area, or 250 square feet, can be used;
  • No more than one employee who is not a dwelling resident;
  • No structural alterations to the dwelling's interior, if they would make it difficult to return the dwelling to exclusive residential use;
  • No more than two vehicles can be used;
  • No more than eight (8) trips to the premises daily by visitors, customers and delivery persons;
  • No more than eight (8) clients on the premises in any one-hour period;
  • No parking or storage of commercial vehicles;
  • One exterior sign, unlit and flush-mounted, of no more than 144 square inches; and
  • Commercial food preparation activity is not considered a home occupation.

Applying for Home Occupation Permit

Read the Zoning Regulations (below in related documents) to learn about home occupations before you complete the application for the Home Occupation Permit (HOP). Use the Home Occupation Permit Application Checklist below to fill out the Home Occupation Permit Application (also below).

You may be able to obtain a home occupation as part of the on-line business license submission OSUB) process.  Please visit here for more information and to apply online.

Be sure that you attach all the required documents to the application (i.e. license, incorporation document, letter of good standing, etc.) If your application is incomplete, it can't be approved.

Once the application is received, it typically takes 10 business days before the permit is issued.

Applications must be submitted in person. We do not accept applications and payments by mail.

Fees

When you submit your application you pay a $36.30 non-refundable application fee and you will pay a $36.30 issuance fee if your application is approved.

The permit is perpetually valid unless there is change in address or occupation. If you wish to cancel your HOP, download and submit the HOP Cancellation Form .

Payment Information

Make your payments, payable to the DC Treasurer, at the Cashier's Office in the Business License Center. You can call (202) 442-4576, after 10 days, to find out about the status of your application.

Issuance and Denials

If your application is denied, you will get a letter that explains why the occupation was denied. If you have any questions after you read the regulations, please ask contact the DCRA's Office of the Zoning Administrator at 202-442-4400 or via email.

The validated HOP (which you get after you pay the issuance fee) is required before you can file for DC Tax ID numbers and applicable business license(s). Please take your HOP to the Business License Center at 1100 4th Street, SW, Washington, DC, 20024, for all license services.

Filed HOP applications are valid for 90 days from the application date. If you do not pay the issuance fee within 90 days of your application's approval, it will be cancelled without notice.

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