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Home Occupation Permits

Permit Description

This permit is required for operating a business from your home. (You must live in the District of Columbia and it must be your primary residence)

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.
  • Applicant must be the home owner and must provide one of the following documents to prove that the property address on their application is their primary residence:                      
    1.  DC issued driver’s license or identification card; or
    2. A current utility bill (Electric or Gas)
  • HOP applications for Child Development Homes (CDH) are subject to different conditions than the general HOP category.  For more information on the permissions and restrictions that apply to CDH applications, please review the “At a Glance: Establishing a Childcare Operation in the District of Columbia” quick guide and other resources available here.  
    ***At a glance document has been recently revised and is ready for review by the communications team.  When updated in the DMS, it should be linked to directly from this section, added to the bottom of the HOP page, and also updated at the bottom of the childcare permitting page. 

Applying for Home Occupation Permit

Application Requirements and Review Process

Please review the following steps for completing and submitting the Home Occupation Permit (HOP) application:  

1. Applicant must submit a fully completed HOP application as an email attachment to coapp@dc.gov, with all required supporting documentation also attached (see a-d below).  Note that HOP applications submitted by anyone other than the named applicant, for whom the premises is their primary residence, will not be accepted.

  • if applicant is a tenant of the residence, please attach proof of residency.  Acceptable documents include:
    • Driver’s license or identification card issued by the District of Columbia.
    • Gas or electric utility bill.  
  •  If the applicant is presently operating a business in the residence, please attach to the application a copy of all existing HOPs.
  •  If the proposed business is a Corporation, please attach to the application a copy of the Articles of Incorporation, Listing of Corporate Officers, and Letter of Good Standing.
  • If the applicant classifies themselves as a licensed professional, please attach a copy of the license to practice in the District of Columbia.  Examples of professions requiring professional licensure include, but are not limited to:
    •  Attorney
    • Medical Doctor
    • Dentist
    • Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
    • Registered Nurse (RN)
    • Funeral Director
    • Real Estate sales
    • Architects
  • If the proposed business is a Child Development Home (CDH) as defined by 11 DCMR B-100, please attach to the application the required written and graphic fire evacuation plans and a copy of the applicant’s driver’s license.  

2. The application will be reviewed by the Office of the Zoning Administrator (OZA) within ten (10) business days and the OZA will notify the applicant of the status of the application.  

3. If the proposed business is a Child Development Home (CDH), a DCRA fire safety inspection is required to:

  • Verify the home’s compliance with Appendix M of the Building Code.
  • Review the fire evacuation plans and stamp on site if approved.  
    • The applicant must schedule this inspection by sending an email to hillary.seybold@dc.gov that includes the address, HOP permit application number, name of applicant, and the phone number and email address of applicant.  

4.  When the OZA review and any required inspections are approved, the application will be prepared for issuance.  The applicant will pay the application and issuance fees ($72.60 total) online and receive the digitally issued permit.  

 

Fees

How do I pay fees using a DCRA Portal Account if I submitted my application via email to coapp.dc.gov?

  1. Create your DCRA Portal Account, or log in if you are a returning customer
  2. Click the “Building” menu tab, to populate the record search screen
  3. Under the “General Search Section” type the appropriate permit number for your Home Occupation Permit in the search field and press enter
  4. Click “Add to Cart”
  5. Click “Cart Icon” located at the top of the page
  6. Click “Checkout” to pay fees (Credit or Debit Card payments only)
  7. Click “Print/View Receipt”
  8. Click “Download or Print” payment receipt.
  9. Thank you! Your Home Occupation Permit will be e-mailed to you shortly.

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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