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Homeowner's Center

The DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs’ (DCRA) Homeowners Center is devoted to helping homeowners get building permits for home improvement projects such as decks, fences, interior renovations and repairs, and window replacement.

The Homeowner Center facilitates the plan review process from start to finish for homeowners.  The Center provides support and resources to homeowners including general information about permit regulations and procedures; explaining application requirements for your project; reviewing and approving your plans; and issuing your permit once your plans are approved. Our goal is to make your experience as convenient and simple as possible.

Homeowner Center Projects

  • Driveway – New
  • Drywall – Repair/replace not more than 500 sq. ft.
  • Fences – New/replacement
  • Interior remodeling/alteration and repair – No more than 500 sq. ft. including bathrooms, kitchens without major structural change or removal or erection of interior load-bearing walls or impact on the sharing / party walls
  • Interior non- load bearing wall demolition
  • Porch & Steps – Repair existing on private Property not in historic or fine arts jurisdictions
  • Retaining Walls – Less than 4 ft. in height maximum, measured from bottom of footing and land disturbance is greater than 500 sq. ft. (on private property)
  • Accessory Structure (Garage/Shed) – No more than 500 sq. ft. and 15 ft. high; alteration & repair of existing; no change in use
  • Addition to Single-Family Dwelling – Up to 500 sq. ft.; no more than 1 story high at ground level; no party walls, no removal of exterior or load bearing wall
  • One-Level Decks – Less than 500 sq. ft. and less than 10 ft. above grade
  • Window/Door Replacement/Repair – If your property is in a Historic or CFA jurisdiction, you must get approval before you apply for a permit
  • Roof Repairs/Replacement – No structural changes

Simple and Easy Permitting

For many small repairs and replacement projects, you can obtain a permit completely online through our Postcard Permits. At DCRA, we are striving to make our processes and initiatives simple for our customers, with safe outcomes for the community. Our online tools make getting permits simple and fast.  We have eliminated the need to travel to our office and wait in line.  We are excited to offer these services to the residents and contractors of the District of Columbia.

**For properties located in a historic district, please apply for a Historic Property - Special Permit for as the Office of Planning is required to review such scopes of work that fall under the Postcard permit category.

All structural and some nonstructural work requires building permits. The Homeowners Center only issues building permits. If your project involves plumbing, wiring, or air conditioning, you will need supplemental permits. Your licensed contractor must get the supplemental permits in DCRA’s Permit Center on online.

How to Reach Us

You can schedule an appointment online. We also assist walk-in customers during Permit Center operating hours. For general inquiries about the Homeowner’s Center, please call (202) 442-9470.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can visit the homeowner center?
Any homeowner of a one or two family home or agent on behalf of the homeowner with written authorization.

 

What types of permits are reviewed in the permit center?

  1.  Please refer to our Job Classification System for descriptions of work that can be reviewed within the Homeowner’s Center.
  2. Homeowner Center Reviews are for the following descriptions of work:
  • Driveway – New
  • Drywall – Repair/replace not more than 500 sq. ft.
  • Fences – New/replacement
  • Interior remodeling/alteration and repair – No more than 500 sq. ft. including bathrooms, kitchens without major structural change or removal or erection of interior load-bearing walls or impact on the sharing / party walls Interior non-load bearing wall demolition
  • Porch & Steps – Repair of existing on private property
  • Retaining Walls – Less than 4 ft. in height maximum, measured from bottom of footing and land disturbance is greater than 500 sq. ft. (on private property)
  • Accessory Structure (Garage/Shed) – No more than 500 sq. ft. and 15 ft. high; alteration & repair of existing; no change in use
  • Addition to Single-Family Dwelling – Up to 500 sq. ft.; no more than 1 story high at ground level; no party walls, no removal of exterior or load bearing wall
  • One-Level Decks – Less than 500 sq. ft. and less than 10 ft. above grade
  • Window/Door Replacement/Repair
  • Roof Repairs/Replacement – this includes no structural changes

As a homeowner, can I get plumbing, electrical, or mechanical permits?
No, plumbing, mechanical, and electrical permits are issued only to licensed and bonded plumbers, gas fitters, master mechanics and master electricians. These permits are supplemental permits: only licensed professionals may apply for these permits.

 How long will it take me to get my permit?
The Homeowners Center has a goal of issuing a permit within one or two visits. This includes consultation, plan review and the final stage of permit issuance.

At which point of the permit process should I visit the Homeowners Center?
Please visit the HC as you are starting the permitting process. You can make an appointment online or walk-in during operating hours for questions and guidance on how to start the process.

What do I need to bring with me to the Homeowners Center?

If you have confirmed the scope of work of your project, please submit a permit application at the following link, Citizens Access Portal. Please review the permit types for submission requirements and submittal documents to complete the review.

If you are unsure of your full scope of work and whether a permit is required, you can visit the Homeowner’s Center for guidance and next steps.

Do I need to complete a neighbor notification?
If your project involves work on a party wall, a shared fence, retaining wall between you and a neighboring property, neighbor notification is required. Please refer to our Notify Your Neighbor process for general information on the neighbor notification and what is required.

What next steps do I need to take after I get my permit?
Please get more information from our Inspections site.

Homeowners Residential Series

Homeowners’ Center Permitting Education Series
Attention District homeowners! Join us for the DCRA's quarterly Homeowners' Center Permitting Education Series that will help you prepare for your home improvement projects.