Alphabet Soup: 5 Common Acronyms D.C. Property Owners Should Know
“…have no fear, the infinite alphabet soup that is associated with property owning/management can be easily digestible with just a little help from Longford Management.”
Who hasn’t taken a shortcut before? How about a shortcut that makes absolutely zero sense for those not in the know? Well, that’s kind of how acronyms work unfortunately. But have no fear, I’m here to hopefully make the alphabet soup seem less confusing and more helpful for every property owner .
For the sake of brevity, we have gone ahead and selected 5 acronyms that every property owner should know.
- HVAC-Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning
If you haven’t heard of this acronym before then you probably haven’t had your air conditioner break down during the middle of a heat wave. For those of us in the know, HVAC can mean everything from air conditioning systems to furnaces. As a property owner, knowing the ins and outs of your HVAC system is key to maintaining your home’s indoor air quality. Also, an annual tune-up of both the heat and A/C side of your system can assure your continued comfort. Oh, and in D.C. you’re required to service your system in line with housing code guidelines.
- BBL-Basic Business License
If you ever intend on renting your property in D.C. every owner–from single family home to large multi-family properties–has to have a basic business license in order to do so. Whether your property is self-managed or managed by a third party company you will need proof of a BBL. Owners can obtain their BBL on their own or hire a firm like RentJiffy.com to obtain it. Pricing varies depending on your number of units. Also, make sure your COO (certificate of occupancy) is in order before you begin renting.
- DCRA-Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
The DCRA wears many hats in the District. They issue BBLs, actively review construction documents before any building can commence, conduct inspections on buildings and rental properties and issue housing code violations to those in the wrong (I didn’t say all of those hats were nice!). According to the DCRA website; “The mission of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) is to protect the health, safety, economic interests and quality of life of residents, businesses and visitors.” They also offer advice to new homeowners/homebuyers. Recently DCRA even announced an amnesty program that will offer business licenses and corporate registrations to businesses without fines. According to an official press release:
All businesses within the District of Columbia, operating with an expired license or without a license qualify to participate in the program, as do customers with revoked corporate statuses, missing or expired business licenses, and unregistered weights and measures devices.
I highly recommend applying to this program if it applies to your situation. I also I highly recommend bookmarking the DCRA website because it is an essential stop when owning or managing a property in D.C.
- DCOTR-D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue
Yes, the office of tax and revenue can be a frightful place, but they also can be quite helpful. When you buy a home in the District, paying property taxes along with your mortgage is a given. There are however tax relief programs in place to help homeowners. The Homestead deduction offers qualified homeowners the opportunity to dramatically reduce their property taxes. Just don’t forget to remove the homestead deduction if you decide to move out of your home or small multi-family property in order to rent it. See, they’re not so scary after all.
Investment property owners should also be aware that there are some specific tax filing requirements for you, even if you live outside the DC area. Regardless, no matter where you live you should consult with a local tax professional to make sure your annual tax filing is done correctly, as it can be costly and in DC this is often checked at time of sale!
- NARPM-National Association of Residential Property Managers
Currently our organization is an active member of the National Association of Residential Property Managers, so maybe we’re a little biased. But partiality aside, NARPM is one of the best educational sites online for property managers as well as property owners. From single family homes to multi-family properties, NARPM’s website offers multiple courses and educational tools to make sure you are getting the most out of your rental.
Sometimes shortcuts can lead to more confusion rather than outright efficiency (same goes for acronyms). Luckily you have informed sources like Longford Management to help guide you through the muddle. So have no fear, the infinite alphabet soup that is associated with property owning/management can be easily digestible with just a little help from Longford Management.