Do I Need a License to Rent My House?

| October 26, 2011 More


This varies from city to city, but be sure to check with your local Department of Housing to ascertain whether you’ll need a license to rent your house.¬†While you may be tempted to skip this step, you do so at your own peril. In cities that do require a license, renting your property without one is illegal—and in many cities, this means you have no legal right to collect rent. You also run the risk of incurring significant fines and of being denied a license once you’ve been caught renting your property without one.

Fortunately, the process of securing a rental license is relatively painless. Here are the steps you’ll need to take:

  1. Fill out an application and pay the fee. Obtaining a rental license application can be as simple as visiting your Department of Housing’s website and downloading the proper forms. If your city doesn’t make the application forms available online, a quick trip to City Hall should do the trick. Licensing application fees are generally under $100.
  2. Schedule an inspection. Not all cities require this step, but most will send out an inspector, who will check to make sure that your prospective rental meets basic habitability and safety requirements. Plumbing and electrical systems will be checked to make sure they’re in good working order and hazard-free. You’ll also need to have working smoke detectors in place, proper ventilation for appliances that require it, etc.
  3. Make any required changes. If anything comes up during the inspection, make the needed repairs, using a licensed contractor for any major, skilled work that needs to be done. Once you’ve completed the work, you can schedule another appointment to get approved.

Once you’ve received approval, you’ll be mailed your license and will be free to accept tenants.


Category: Renting My House FAQ