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The first step in converting your basement to a rentable English basement is to get what’s called a certificate of occupancy (CoO). To do that, you’ll need to make sure that your plan for the English basement is up to D.C.’s code.

Depending on the condition of your home and how you bought it, your home might already have had a Certificate of Occupancy on it; in that case, you would just need to go down and redo the basement. If your English basement doesn’t have a Certificate of Occupancy, then you’ll have to go through the whole process of creating one.


One criterion needed to get a CoO is to have your English basement separately metered in terms of electricity, heating, and air conditioning.


After you obtain your CoO, you’ll also need to get a business license. The District of Columbia requires that when you have a rental unit, even an English basement, you need to be licensed.

Depending on the condition of your home and how you bought it, your home might already have had a Certificate of Occupancy on it.


When you’ve received the proper business license, you’ll need to have your unit inspected by the city. If you don’t pass the inspection, you’ll need to make the repairs and suggested updates in order to bring your unit up to code.


When you’ve acquired the relevant certificates, licenses, and you’ve passed the inspection, the last step is to file for your rent control exemption if you don’t want the amount of rent you charge a tenant to be controlled.


If you have any questions about converting your basement to an English basement, or would like to discuss the process in more detail,  feel free to reach out to me. I’m here to help.