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Home Occupation Permits

Permit Description

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. Note: 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)

Home Occupation Permits and Business Licensing

  • An Expedited HOP (EHOP) process is available as part of the online business licensing process for the home offices of the following occupation types: businessperson; salesperson; independent consultant; journalist; writer; typing, word processing, or computing programming services; telemarketing services. Please click here to apply for both a Basic Business License and an Expedited HOP.
  • For all other HOP types, the applicant does not need to register their business prior to submission of the online HOP application; required or desired business licensing and registration will occur after the HOP is obtained.

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 upload 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)

NOTE: 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 at the bottom of this page under the Related Information section.

Get A Home Occupation Permit

Office of the Zoning Administrator (OZA) is pleased to announce an efficient new process to apply for a Home Occupation Permit. Customers may log in using their single sign-on Access DC account and submit requests for a Home Occupation Permit. This process allows applicants to submit their application conveniently, pay fees online, and receive their Home Occupation Permit electronically within three (3) business days circumstances where an inspection is not required. Learn more about creating a single sign-on account at Access DC.

Please review the following steps BEFORE submitting your Home Occupation Permit (HOP) application:

Applicant must submit an online HOP application, and upload the required supporting documentation (see a-d below). Note: 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 upload 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 upload a copy of all existing HOPs.
    • If the proposed business is a Corporation, please upload a copy of the Articles of Incorporation, Listing of Corporate Officers, and Letter of Good Standing.
      • The Letter of Good Standing is obtainable from CorpOnline, DCRA's online corporate registration and filing platform.
  • If the applicant classifies themselves as a licensed professional, please upload 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 upload the required written and graphic fire evacuation plans and a copy of the applicant’s driver’s license.

Request a Home Occupation Permit

Application Review Process

Non-childcare related applications will be reviewed by the Office of the Zoning Administrator (OZA) within one (1) business day from the date the application is accepted for review. Note: All applications are screened for completeness before DCRA can accept the application for review.

If the proposed business is a Child Development Home (CDH) the Office of the Zoning Administrator will review the HOP application and schedule an inspection within three (3) business days. 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 will be contacted by our Inspections and Compliance (ICA Division within three (3) business days to schedule an inspection date.

When the OZA review and any required inspections are approved, the system will automatically generate an invoice for permit fees. Upon payment confirmation, DCRA will electronically issue a PDF copy of the permit via e-mail.

Applicants can track their application's progress via Scout, DCRA's online consolidated database.

Need Assistance with your HOP Application?

Please check out our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Guide. If you still can't find the answer, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

How do I submit a Home Occupation Application?

  1. Create your DCRA single sign-on Access DC account, or log in if you are a returning customer.
  2. On the top left, select "Building" located on the Menu Bar.
  3. Under the "Building" tab, select " Request a Building Permit, Shop Drawing Approval, Register with Vacant Building Enforcement, and Survey Plat."
  4. Review and select the checkbox to agree to the general disclaimer and click "Continue Application."
  5. Under "Select a Service Type," choose Home Occupation Permit," and click Continue Application.
  6. Follow the system's prompts and notifications to complete your request.

Note: Upon approval of your application and Inspection (Inspections are ONLY required for Child Development Homes) you will receive an e-mail notification with instructions on paying fees. After the fees are paid, the system will automatically issue your Home Occupation Permit.

How do I pay fees using my single sign-on Access DC Account?

  1. Create your DCRA single sign-on Access DC account, or log in if you are a returning customer.
  2. On the Blue Menu Bar, Click the "My Records" tab to populate your record history.
  3. Under the "Action" section, select the appropriate permit number that matches the address for your Home Occupation Permit.
  4. Click "Pay Fees Due"
  5. Under the "Applicable Fees" section, click "Checkout" to pay fees (Credit or Debit Card payments only)
  6. Verify fee amount ($36. 30) under the "PAY NOW" section and click "Checkout."
  7. Complete fields.
  8. Click "Submit Payment" to receive a payment receipt. Your Home Occupation Permit will automatically be e-mailed to you electronically upon payment confirmation.

Related Information:

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