From Tom Hay
The DC Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) recently moved to a new headquarters building at 1100 4th Street SW from North Capitol Street. The new location is right on top of the Waterfront-SEU Metro Station on the Green Line. The agency, which has vast regulatory oversight, moved to the new location in March 2010. An added bonus at the new DCRA location is a new Safeway store in the building.
DCRA is familiar to any homeowner who has applied for a building permit. Permits are needed for home improvement projects such as building a deck or replacing a window to a full scale gut and renovate. (Check out the Washington Business Journal’s profile on DCRA Director Linda Argo.)
The agency also handles administration of certificates of occupancy and business licenses. In DC, any landlord who rents out an apartment or English basement is required to have a basic business license.
With the large number of 19th Century homes and English basement apartments in the Dupont-Logan area, I thought it was worth paying a visit to DCRA and let you know about the recent move and some changes at the agency. The new location is an easy trip from the U Street-Green Line to the Waterfront-SEU stop. I drove and was able to find free, 2-hour on street parking about a block away.
A few changes you will notice:
- Nametags: In order to be more customer friendly all staff now wear nametags.
- Internet Workstations: A wall of walk-up computers with internet access; no printers though.
- A Homeowner Center: For assistance with permits for basic home improvement projects.
- Permit and Licensing Center: The two centers share a clean, spacious and bright location on the 2nd floor.
A few tips before planning a visit:
- Check the DCRA website for forms and instructions since many transactions may completed online.
- DCRA has also created a web site, Rent Your DC Basement Legally, to assist landlords of basement apartments in becoming compliant with local laws and regulations. The site has checklists and advice to guide homeowners through the process.
- Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm; and Thursdays, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm (except District Government holidays).