Basic Business License Initiative

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This spring, GSTA is collaborating with the Georgetown Community Partnership, the Office of Neighborhood Life, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E, the Office of the Tenant Advocate, and the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) to promote safety in Georgetown rental housing.

Around 50% of Georgetown houses lack Basic Business Licenses (BBLs). When a BBL is issued, there is a concurrent inspection of the home. As a result, houses without Basic Business Licenses may be unsafe because they have not been inspected.

As a result, DCRA inspectors will be inspecting homes without BBLs for potentially dangerous flaws such as faulty wiring, broken appliances, or structural damage. The inspector will compile a report that will be send to the landlord. The landlord must rectify the damages or they will receive sanctions from the agency.

Click here to check the status of your landlord

Frequently Asked Questions about January Inspections

Q: Why was my house chosen for inspection? Did I do something wrong?

A: Your house was chosen for inspection because it lacks a Basic Business License and consequently may be unsafe. You absolutely did nothing wrong; rather your landlord needs to come into compliance with DC regulations.

Q: What should I do to prepare for an inspection?

A: You should make sure that you are fully in compliance with your lease. The goal of these inspections is to make homes safer rather than mistakenly punish students that are not complying with leases. We encourage you to make sure that the house is clean at the time of the inspection, that any tenant-caused damage is repaired, that you are following all rules in the lease regarding animals/subletters/miscellaneous factors, and that you have the appropriate number of people living in your home.

After you have ensured that you are in compliance, we encourage you to make a list of damages that you or a Tenant Association advocate can show to an inspector. Examples of damages include faulty wiring, appliances, lack of hot or running water, holes in walls, peeling paint, insects, rodents, and/or other damages.

If you have photographic evidence of previous non-tenant caused damages, be sure to have copies available for the inspector. Make sure you have copies of all previous written requests to the landlord for repairs.

You are encouraged to schedule an appointment with an advocate before your inspection. Advocates may walk through the home with you before the inspection and answer any questions you may have. An advocate will be present at the inspection itself. You may waive your right to be present at the inspection by filling out a short form.

Q: What does the inspection process look like?

A: An inspector from the DCRA and an advocate from the Tenant Association will come to your home at a pre-arranged time. The inspector will walk through the home and record the damages that they note. This process is subjective–minor sources of damage that do not bother the tenants can be overlooked by the inspector. The inspector will then draft a report–make sure to ask for a copy before the inspector leaves.

After the inspection, a copy of the report will be sent to the landlord who is responsible for making all repairs to the home within a specified period. If they do not, they will be fined and/or issued other penalties.

Q: Will I be evicted if the inspector finds damage?

A: DCRA will only remove students if there is an immediately life threatening situation in the home. It is an extremely rare occurrence and the agency has issued assurances that it is a step that is extremely unlikely.

If your home is deemed inhabitable, you are eligible for housing on Georgetown’s campus.

Q: Can I cancel an inspection?

A: At this time you cannot cancel an inspection. It is possible for you to give your key to an advocate and avoid being present for the inspection. You will need to sign a short form. Please contact us for more details.

In the instance of tenant-created damages or lease violations, please contact the Office of Neighborhood Life or the GSTA at contact@gs-ta.org.

We can work to resolve the situation with you before the inspection.

Click to Read More Information on DCRA’s Website