How Do I Create a Rental Unit On My Property?
Is an accessory dwelling unit the same as an affordable dwelling unit?
How do I know if I can create a rental unit on my property?
If your block is yellow on this map, you may be able to create an accessory dwelling unit. Depending on where you live, your property must be at least 1,200 or 2,000 square feet. You must also live on the property where the accessory dwelling unit is located while it’s rented.
Or, if your block is yellow on this map—primarily neighborhoods with row houses—your property may become a two-family flat, which is a dwelling with no more than 2 units.
Do I need to build a separate building structure to create a rental unit?
Do I need to get approval from DC Government if I end up building an accessory dwelling unit?
What are the steps to build an accessory dwelling unit from scratch?
You check if your property is allowed to have an accessory dwelling unit based on zoning laws.
You find an architect or designer who knows about local building laws.
The architect visits your property and gives you a proposal that describes their services and fees.
The architect creates a design for the accessory dwelling unit based on your needs and goals that also meets DC Code. Plans must also include electrical, plumbing, and other technical plans.
You or the architect submit a project application using the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) Permit Wizard to begin the plan review process.
DCRA may need to consult other DC agencies, such as the Department of Transportation, the Department of Energy & Environment, or quasi-governmental agencies, such as DC Water about your plan.
After the plan review is complete, usually 45-60 days, DCRA will issue the approved permits for your project.
You share building drawings with, and compare bids from, multiple contractors. You should check references and legal documents before choosing a contractor. The DCRA Contractor Rating System can help you find properly-licensed and high-performing building professionals for your project.
The accessory dwelling unit is built. The architect helps make decisions about building materials and responds to unexpected changes in the project. Building inspectors visit the construction site to make sure the project follows regulations.
Can I get a loan to help pay for the cost of building the accessory dwelling unit?
Do I need to get approval from DC Government for a rental unit?
What are some of the benefits of a rental unit?
Who can rent a unit in my home?
Can I rent the unit on Airbnb?
I have a question that’s not covered here. Who can I contact?
If you have a question about permits or business licenses, contact DCRA using the online form, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, live chatting with us on dcra.dc.gov, or calling (202) 442-4400. They are open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm and Thursday 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.
Should I hire a property manager?
Most single family homes in the District of Columbia are allowed to have a rental unit. Rental units are typically in the basement or backyard of the property. They’re sometimes called accessory dwelling units or two-family flats, depending on the zoning rules for your home. All rental units must have a separate entrance, as well as permanent rooms and appliances for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation.
Keywords: homeowners, rental unit, rent my home, rent out, how to rent out my house, extra income
This page was last updated July 2021.