DCRA NEWS | November 1 - 15, 2019

Having trouble viewing this email? View as a webpage.


News Email Header Graphic

November 1 - 15, 2019 | Volume 4 | Issue 7

Prepare for Your Pop-Up Shop


With the holidays approaching, pop-up shops are popping up all over the District.


Temporary shops and eateries give small businesses the chance to ring up quick seasonal sales, and for entrepreneurs to test out their products in the market. But just because pop-up shops are often short-lived doesn’t mean there are fewer city regulations to follow.


If you are ready to launch your pop-up shop in the District, you must be licensed to conduct business in DC.  Even food trucks and festivals are considered pop-ups. The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) issues business licenses. Go to the DC Business Center on our website for the steps to license your business:


  1. Register your Business. Get a Certificate of Registration/Trade Name.
  2. Register for Tax Collection. Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
  3. Get a Certificate of Occupancy. Before applying for this, pop-up owners should check with the building owner to see if an active certificate currently exists for a given space or if you need to apply for one.
  4. Get a basic business license.


DCRA also issues sign permits and building permits. If you are renovating or making structural changes to your retail space, you will need a building permit. If you are opening a pop-up eatery or other food retailer, you will also need to have an inspection from the DC Department of Health and follow the DCRA requirements for opening and licensing a food establishment.


Open Shop Sign In Window

Become an Age-Friendly Business


More businesses in the District are becoming “age-friendly” to attract people of all ages, especially those 50 years and older.


DC’s Age-Friendly Initiative encourages businesses to foster an inclusive and welcoming environment for all kinds of customers by observing best business practices. The initiative continues to grow, with 78 local businesses currently designated and endorsed by the DC Economic Partnership as “age-friendly.”

“The benefit of joining is visibility to the public,” said Gail Kohn, Age-Friendly DC Coordinator, Office of the Deputy Mayor, Health and Human Services. Mayor Muriel Bowser advertises these businesses annually and a list is posted on the Age-Friendly DC website.


Businesses may display the endorsement logo (blue arrow) in their window or other prominent location.

Seniors contribute to the local economy as loyal customers with purchase power, and many are interested in becoming business owners. DCRA has developed a Senior Entrepreneurship Workshop to assist residents 60 years and older in starting a business or sustaining an existing one. Staff explains the regulatory process for corporate registration, business licensing, vending and events, farmer’s markets, and more. This DCRA workshop will be offered again on January 9, 2020 (see upcoming events).


To be designated as age-friendly, your business must:

  • Be located in the District
  • Have a valid, active business license
  • Pledge to uphold the age-friendly checklist values:
    • Products, services and practices to help make the city welcoming to older customers
    • Accessible and comfortable facility; welcoming atmosphere
    • Respectful, friendly customer service
    • Products and services of interest to all ages, including those age 50+
    • Easily accessed information about the business and its products


Background: The Age-Friendly Initiative grew out of two demographic trends -- urban living and an aging population. After the World Health Organization (WHO) launched the initiative in 2007, Mayor Bowser led the effort to make DC one of the first Age-Friendly Cities designated by WHO. DC followed WHO guidance for implementing a five-year strategic plan from 2012-2017. DC has begun another five-year plan from 2018-2023. 


Age-Friendly Business Logo

Turning the District Green and Other Improvements


The future of building in DC is looking up and looking green. Last week the DC Building Industry Association (DCBIA) hosted DCRA for updates on our agency’s Vision 2020 and plans for green building implementation across the District.


DCRA Green Building Manager David Epley discussed the potential benefits of green energy homes and businesses. For example, residents can install energy-efficient windows that control how much light comes into a residential or business space.

DCRA Director Ernest Chrappah gave updates on various components of DCRA’s Vision 2020, including our new website and DCRA’s recently launched resident housing inspector program. “Think of it as ‘uber for inspections’ where residents can be trained to inspect residential homes and vacant buildings on an on-demand basis,” he said. “The program creates jobs for DC residents while helping us eliminate the backlog of uninspected properties in the District.”

Also part of the DCRA Vision 2020 is a Dashboard that provides data on the agency’s efficiency and performance. Are we meeting your expectations?


Panoramic Picture of Washington, DC

DCRA and Sullivan Awarded in ‘Win-Win’ Disability Intern Program


DCRA and Donald Sullivan, program manager for the agency’s Vacant Building Enforcement (VBE), were recently honored for outstanding participation in the Aspiring Professional Internship Program.


Sullivan said the program has been an excellent resource for discovering quality individuals with unique abilities. “We were fortunate to have an intern with the skillset to take ownership of a project, which resulted in a new comprehensive Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on administrative tasks for our department,” he said.

VBE intern Tasha Jahnke did such a professional job that she was selected for a full-time, permanent position within the Office of Information Systems (OIS) at DCRA, said Sullivan. “This is a win for the District, our agency, and most importantly, DC residents who need employment and want to make an impact in our city.”

The award was presented at the DC Department on Disability Services Employer Recognition event in October, as part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The event’s keynote speaker was Scott Michael Robertson, PhD, a person with autism who is a policy adviser for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.

Launched in 2018, the program has placed 21 residents with disabilities into internships lasting up to 6 months. Of the residents who completed the program, 63 percent have found employment within the DC government.


DCRA being honored for outstanding participation in the Aspiring Professional Internship Program

How Are You Enjoying Our New Website?


Our new, user-friendly and modern website is up and running! is up and running! We invite you to provide us with feedback to improve upon now that the majority of the migration is completed. If you’ve had a chance to experience our new website, we’d love to hear your feedback.


Take the Survey

Upcoming Events


Building Codes & Your Safety
Tuesday, November 12
5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

DCRA - 1100 4th Street SW, Washington, DC 20024 | Room E-200 (2nd floor)
The purpose of the construction codes is to protect the public health, safety and general welfare of the occupants and users of buildings and structures in the District. In this session, DCRA will train attendees on the applicable codes for converting one and two-family homes into residential rental units. We will also discuss how to maintain rental units and stay in compliance with the District’s Housing Code Standards.


How to Successfully Apply for a Security Agency or Private Detective Agency License

Thursday, November 19

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm 

DCRA - 1100 4th Street SW, Washington DC 20024 | Room E-200 (2nd floor)


DCRA’s Small Business Resource Center is partnering with Occupational and Professional Licensing Administration (OPLA) to host a security licensing workshop for entrepreneurs on general license requirement, private detective business licensing, corporate registrations, and license renewals.


All Things Nonprofit

Thursday, November 21

10:00 am – 12:00 pm

DCRA - 1100 4th Street SW, Washington, DC 20024 | Room E-200 (2nd floor)


In this workshop you will learn how to start a nonprofit business (including corporate registration, licensing and tax registration), and how to apply for grants available to nonprofits.


All About Inspections
Tuesday, December 10
6:00 pm  –  7:30 pm
DCRA - 1100 4th Street SW, Washington, DC 20024 | Room E-200 (2nd floor)


DCRA experts will instruct landlords on our inspections process. Whether it is a construction inspection, housing code inspection, permitting inspection, or violation inspection, we want to help you keep the District and its residents safe.


Meet One-On-One with a Lawyer for Free!
Wednesday, December 11
10:30 am – 12:30 pm
DCRA - 1100 4th Street SW, Washington, DC 20024 | Room E-200 (2nd floor)

DCRA is partnering with the Latino Economic Development Center and Office on Latino Affairs to help residents with legal issues. Sponsored by the DC Bar Pro Bono Center, this workshop will allow residents to get information on business formation, contracts, leases, taxes or any other questions related to small business legal issues.


Senior Entrepreneur Workshop
Thursday, January 9
10:15 am – 11:45 am
Hattie Wellness Center | Hattie Holmes 324 Kennedy St NW, Washington, DC 20011

This program is for people 60 years of age or older and interested in starting a new business or sustaining an existing business. DCRA staff will be on hand to provide information on the regulatory processes for corporate registration, business licensing, vending and events, and farmer’s markets.

Licensing Your Rental Property
Thursday, January 30, 2020
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
DCRA - 1100 4th Street SW, Washington, DC 20024 | Room E-200 (2nd floor)

DCRA experts will instruct homeowners on how to apply for a Residential Housing license which are required for all rental properties in the District of Columbia. Join our licensing staff to learn more and receive on-site assistance with the Residential Housing Rental licensing process. Our staff will be assisting property owners with obtaining their license on the spot!


Track Our Performance

Dashboard Icon Image

Agency Dashboard

We are committed to providing information that offers a candid look at our agency’s efficiency and performance.


If you have any questions regarding this newsletter, please contact the DCRA Communications Team at dcracommteam@dc.gov. DCRA actively uses feedback to improve our delivery and services. Please take a minute to share your feedback on how we performed in our last engagement. Subscribe to receive DCRA news and updates.