I am often asked this question, frequently by contractors located in Maryland and Virginia considering expanding their business into the District of Columbia market. The law in DC requires contractors engaged in remodeling, improvement, repair and/or renovation work on a residential property to possess a home improvement license at all times throughout the course of a project. A contractor who violates this rule and accepts payment(s) from a homeowner in advance of full completion of the work has violated DC’s home improvement law, 16 DCMR § 800.1, which provides as follows:

No person shall require or accept any payment for a home improvement contract to be undertaken in the District in advance of the full completion of all work required to be performed under the contract, unless that person is licensed as a home improvement contractor or as a licensed salesperson employed by a licensed contractor in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

“Home improvement contractor” is defined as “any person who enters, or offers to enter, into a home improvement contract with a homeowner.” 16 DCMR § 899.1. “Home improvement work” is defined as “the addition to or alteration, conversion, improvement, modernization, remodeling, repair, or replacement of a residential property…” 16 DCMR § 899.1.

An application for a home improvement license from the District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs can be found at:

There are harsh consequences for a contractor who violates the DC home improvement regulations, including disgorgement (returning) of all money the contractor received from the homeowner.

Mike Bramnick is knowledgeable and experienced with the District of Columbia home improvement regulations, representing both homeowners and contractors in such disputes. For more information contact Mike Bramnick at (301) 547-3647 or by email at Mike@BramnickCreed.com.