Washington, DC

From DCRA:

“Owning a home requires maintenance, repairs and renovations. How do you know if you are hiring the best contractor to do the job? To help District residents and businesses hire contractors and building professionals with more confidence, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) is introducing the new DCRA Contractor Rating System.

DCRA frequently hears the real life nightmares of District residents, oftentimes senior citizens, who pay for renovations and repairs, but don’t receive the work for which they have paid. Unfortunately, the options for recourse after the fact are sometimes limited, and always a headache. The DCRA Contractor Rating System arms residents with information to hire contractors who possess a proven track record of proper licensing, construction and inspections, thus preventing lots of pain and hassle.

The DCRA Contractor Rating System provides unprecedented free access to an inventory of contractors, architects, and other building professionals.

Building on our expressed policy of transparency, the DCRA Contractor Rating System uses objective data to assign a rating using between one and five stars to building professionals doing business in the District. 

Benefits of the DCRA Contractor Rating System Read More


Photo by PoPville flickr user Caitlin Faw

“Dear PoPville,

I’m trying to find info on the DCRA website but am not having any luck – probably because I don’t know the proper terms for my issue.

We’re in a row house with a detached garage behind it. My anecdotal understanding is that we can keep a full structure where the garage is since it was built before the zoning laws changed. Unfortunately, the garage is falling down and we need to demolish it for safety’s sake but we can’t afford to rebuild it at the moment. Read More


Photo by PoPville flickr user Eric P.

“Dear PoPville,

I’m a new homeowner in DC and live in a rowhouse (in between to other houses). With all the rain the last few weeks, we noticed a leak in our ceiling. We had a contractor come and check out the roof. He even brought a hose to spray the whole roof to see where the leak was stemming from. Upon testing, he found it was actually the issue is stemming the attached home next door whose roof/chimney isn’t properly sealed. The water comes through their chimney and into our shared wall where it collects and leaks into our house. Read More


“Dear PoPville,

I’m trying to apply for a BBL for my short-term rental- (additional bedrooms on Airbnb)
The licensing department of dcra told me that I need to go through the following steps: register my ssn with Tax and Revenue, Have a Clean Hands Certificate, and get a Certificate of Occupancy. The problem is that dcra does not issue CofO for single family homes. They told me that I can apply for a Home Occupation Permit- but that will require a “change of use” of the property to a Bed and Breakfast. Read More


Photo by PoPville flickr user Nathan Castellanos

“Dear PoPville,

I live in a semi-detached home and the house I am attached to is currently being renovated. On December 23rd, the contractors began demolition and in the process, knocked down an adjoining wall between our houses about 4-5 feet long. While their home is two stories, mine is three and I can clearly see into their home from my basement because they have knocked all the way down through the floor joists and through the wall into my house.

This is concerning due to the possible structural and asbestos issues this may pose to my home as well as the possibility of mice and rodents entering my home from an unfinished work site.

The lead contractor offered to come over, look at the damage and fix it and seemed very concerned about doing everything he could to rectify the situation but he’s not my contractor and I don’t know that I trust them to perform the work under the table.

Besides calling for an inspection and possible structural engineer, does the PoPville community have any advice for dealing with DCRA? The owners have all of the necessary permits (I checked) and this is a quick flip for profit so I’m sure they don’t want to be tied up with stop work orders and insurance claims.”


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