The District requires a business to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy or Home Occupation Permit
showing that it meets the correct building and zoning codes for the intended use of its building. Print, fill out, and submit the application in person to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Permit Center, 941 North Capitol Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002. For more information, call the Permit Center at (202) 442-4589.
A business may not need one, however, if it is leasing space in a building that already holds a Certificate of Occupancy. For
instance, a law firm can operate under the umbrella of an office building's Certificate of Occupancy as long as the firm operates
in a manner that conforms with office use.
Certain businesses need to obtain a separate certificate if the property owner's Certificate of Occupancy does not cover their business.
It is important, therefore, to ask the owner, property manager, or agent
about the Certificate of Occupancy before entering into a lease agreement.
The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs provides information about these permits including regulations, filing requirements, and fees for a Certificate of Occupancy or Home Occupation Permit.