So, you are thinking about renting out your house in Washington, DC or in surrounding Maryland? Private landlord in DC? Cool, we have some info for you.
First, we’ll start with DC. If your home is in Maryland specifically in Montgomery or Prince George’s County, scroll down a bit.
[scroll down for Maryland info]
Is DC a landlord friendly state? No. The District of Columbia is one of the most pro-tenant municipalities in the United States. Yes, in the entire US. However, real estate values remain stable and quickly appreciating which makes the area very attractive to investors. Is it profitable being a DC landlord? Yes, absolutely!
As a private landlord it is important to understand all of the local regulations to ensure you and your asset is protected.
Let’s start with the basics.
Steps To Rent a Single-Family Property in Washington, DC
Below are the requirements if you own and rent a single-family home, townhouse, individual condominium unit, individual room, or duplex (2-units). This does not include what is referred to as Apartment Houses (with three or more units) or Rooming Houses (with six or more occupants).
ONE FAMILY RENTAL LICENSE
A Basic Business License for the One Family Rental category is required.
DCRA HOUSING INSPECTION
A housing inspection is required post issuance of the business license.
The District of Columbia laws requires landlords provide apartments that are in a safe, habitable and livable condition. The landlord has a duty to make all repairs necessary to make buildings and apartments habitable. DC law also requires landlords to maintain buildings and apartments according to various established standards, including the Housing Code Standards listed below:
DC Housing Code Standards
Inside the Apartment
- Bathrooms: A bathroom must be private and ventilated, it must have a bathtub or shower, toilet, sink with hot (at least 120 degrees) and cold running water, and it must have a waterproof floor and wall base.
- Cleanliness: Apartments must be free of insects, rats, and mice. Apartments must also be free of dirt, dust, cobwebs, garbage, and litter at the time of move-in. Tenants are responsible for keeping their apartments clean after they move in.
- Insects: Insects such as roaches, ants, water bugs, etc. are prohibited.
- Doors: Doors must not be blocked, must open and close easily (particularly emergency exits and fire doors), and must fit reasonably well within their frame. Knobs and locks must be in good working condition.
- Electricity: Each apartment or house must have two separate electrical outlets per habitable room (one of which must be a wall or floor convenience outlet), wires with good insulation, and correct fuses.
- Fire Safety: Lighted fire exit signs, fire extinguishers, and a fire alarm system.
- Floors: Floors must be clean, sound, waterproof, and level. Cracks, holes, splinters, and rat or mouse holes are prohibited.
- Heat: If a tenant cannot control heat settings within the unit, the landlord must insure heating equipment maintains the temperature at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night in all occupied rooms and bathrooms.
- Hot Water: Water temperature must reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the kitchen and bathroom.
- Kitchens: All facilities provided by the landlord for cooking, storage, or refrigeration of food must be maintained in a safe and good working condition. The kitchen sink must have hot and cold running water.
- Paint: Paint must not be peeling or flaking and must not contain exposed lead paint.
- Plumbing: Leaky plumbing is prohibited. Each apartment must have hot and cold running water in the kitchen and bathroom.
- Privacy: Each apartment must have a door to an outside hallway or the street. Bathrooms must permit privacy; tenants must be able to get to the bathroom and bedrooms without going through another bathroom or bedroom.
- Security: Tenants must be able to lock the apartment from both the outside and inside. Building entrances must have locks.
- Space: At least 70 square feet is required for each room used for sleeping by one tenant over 1 year old. For rooms used by 2 or more tenants for sleeping, there must be at least 50 square feet for each tenant. Under the DC Human Rights Act (not the Housing Code), it may be considered unlawful discrimination if a landlord tries to evict a family with children in order to limit the number of tenants living in the apartment. For purposes of the Human Rights Act, in general up to 2 persons are allowed in an efficiency, 3 persons in a one bedroom, 5 persons in a two bedroom, and 7 persons in a three bedroom.
- Stairs: Stairs must be firm and secure with good railings and good lighting. Obstructions are prohibited.
- Walls and Ceilings: Holes, wide cracks, or peeling paint, plaster, or wallpaper is prohibited.
- Windows: Windows must have screens from March 15 to November 15. Windows must open and close easily, must contain glass without cracks or holes, and must be without air or water leaks.
Outside the Apartment
- Cleanliness: All walks must be free of dirt, garbage, litter, rats, mice, and insects. The grass must be cut.
- Foundation: The foundation must have sound joints between the bricks and stones. Holes and cracks are prohibited.
- Porches: Porches must have safe and secure floors and railings.
- Roof: The roof must have gutters, drains, and down spouts that do not leak. Roof leaks are prohibited.
- Stairs and Steps: Stairs and steps must be evenly spaced with railings. Tripping hazards or obstructions are prohibited.
- Trash: Waterproof plastic or metal covered trash cans must be provided. Grounds and walks must be free of junk, trash, and litter.
- Walkways: Walkways must be free of obstructions and trash. Holes in the sidewalk are not permitted.
- Walls: Walls must be waterproof and clean. Holes, cracks, and mouse or rat holes are not permitted.
- Water: Flooding in yards, walks, basements as well as damp walls and floors are not permitted.
- Wood Surfaces: Wooden walls, doors, and windows must be painted. Peeling paint is not permitted.
Steps To Rent a Single-Family Property in Prince George’s County, MD
Do I need a license to rent my house in Maryland? Yes. If you want to a single family rental property in Prince George’s County, MD, you are required to have a valid rental license. The license fee is $115 for a 2-year license.
There are three (3) exemptions to the rental license requirement. Those exemptions are:
- If the tenant is related to the landlord. For example, if the tenant is the landlord’s parent, son, daughter, sibling, grandchild, grandparent or in-law.
- If the landlord is an active member of the military. This includes any branch of the United States Armed Forces, Diplomatic Corps or Foreign Service, who maintains the subject property for his/her domicile and permanent residence.
- If the landlord has been relocated, maintains the property as their primary residence, and leased the property for less than 2 consecutive years. The specifics are: 1) the landlord relocated for employment or education only, 2)maintains the subject property as his/her domicile and permanent residence, and 3) the subject property has not been leased for more than two consecutive years.
All Prince George’s County Rental Licenses, including Single Family Rental Licenses, are processed in Momentum, Prince George’s County’s online system. The Momentum system allows landlords to submit applications, upload documentation, and make payments online. When the applications have been reviewed and approved, landlords will be able to print their licenses.
A rental license is required for the following property types:
- Short-Term Rental Host
- Short-Term Rental Platform
- Single Family Rental
- Multifamily Rental
Note: If a rental property is located where there is a Condominium Association, Cooperative Housing Corporation or Homeowners’ Association, certification must be provided from the appropriate entity that the dwelling unit does not have a lien for non-payment or Common Ownership fees and the dwelling unit does not violate any existing covenants or bylaws.
The ASH MCGINTY Team are not property manager, but…
“we find good properties.”
If you want to expand your rental portfolio, contact us!
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