Articles

Are District of Columbia Condominium Associations Required to Register with DCRA and/or Obtain Business Licenses?

Date: March 14, 2016

The registration and licensing requirements of condominium associations in the District of Columbia vary depending upon several factors.

REGISTRATION

The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (“DCRA”) Corporations Division serves as the Office of Corporate Registrar for the District of Columbia. The Corporations Division registers all entities that conduct business within the District of Columbia.

Registration is the first step in business regulatory compliance. This registration is separate and must be done before an entity applies for a business license, permit, tax registration or any other registration within the District, if required.

Unincorporated entities are not required to be registered with DCRA’s Superintendent of Corporations Office.  Accordingly, unincorporated condominium associations within the District of Columbia are not required to register with DCRA.  

However, incorporated District of Columbia condominium associations are required to register with the DCRA.  To register a nonprofit corporation in the District, the association must deliver its articles of incorporation (form DNP-1) to the Superintendent for filing online through the DCRA website at http://dcra.dc.gov/service/domestic-nonprofit-corporation.  The association may also register through mail or walk-in.

Associations must also file status reports every two (2) years in order to maintain good standing in the District.  The reports are due April 1st of each year, beginning with April 1st of the very next year from the year of registration.

LICENSING

There are various types of business licenses issued by the DCRA, all of which fall under the umbrella of a Basic Business License.

A District of Columbia condominium association does not need a general business license when it is only providing or offering services to the unit owners and not to the general public. Therefore, in most instances, an association does not require a general business license.

However, if the condominium association provides or offers to provide any services to the general public, a general business license is required, and may be obtained through the DCRA website at http://dcra.dc.gov/node/514532. The application may also be made via mail or walk-in.  The general business license is valid for two (2) years.

The association must comply with the following DC Code requirements when making application for a general business license:

  1. The association must be registered with DCRA;
  2. The association must submit the application for a general business license, together with payment and required documentation;
  3. The association must certify that no more than $100 is owed to the District of Columbia Government as a result of fees, penalties, interest, or taxes through completion of a Clean Hands Self-Certification. 
  4. The association must submit its tax identification number; and 
  5. The association must provide a Certificate of Occupancy or Home Occupation.

If a condominium association operates an elevator(s) on its premises, it must obtain a certificate of inspection from DCRA.  This applies regardless of whether or not the association is incorporated.  All applicants for a Certificate of Inspection must comply with the following DC Code requirements:

  1. Complete a Conveyance Equipment Information Card, remit the associated payment, and submit the required supporting documentation; and
  2. Present a Third Party Inspection Report to be reviewed and approved by an elevator inspector from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. 

If an association has an indoor and/or outdoor swimming pool, it must have a swimming pool license.   This permit is required regardless of whether or not the association is incorporated.  To obtain a license, the association must:

  1. Obtain a certificate of occupancy or home occupation permit;
  2. If incorporated, register with DCRA;
  3. Register with Office of Tax and Revenue;
  4. Certify that no more than $100 is owed to the District of Columbia Government as a result of fees, penalties, interest, or taxes through completion of a Clean Hands Self-Certification;
  5. Submit a properly completed Basic Business License Application;
  6. Obtain approval from the Department of Health; and
  7. Indicate other business activities (endorsement type) on application.

Condominium Associations are not required to be incorporated in order to obtain these licenses.