Published on: Friday, July 10, 2020 News

Renting Out a Room to Make Ends Meet

In this difficult time, Takoma Park homeowners may turn to renting out a room in their homes to help make ends meet. If this is an option that you are considering, here are some factors you should consider: The City calls this housing arrangement, where the owner and a renter share common areas of a dwelling (kitchen, living room, bathroom), Owner Occupied Group Housing (“OOGH”). This designation applies to both condominiums and single-family homes.

The City requires registration of OOGH. This is a very simple process of completing a registration form and paying a $50 fee for a three-year registration.

City staff will conduct a code-compliance inspection to ensure the property: 1) has the required smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, 2) has proper locks on bedroom and egress doors (there must be a thumb-turn instead of a key on the interior side of the lock), and 3) meets property maintenance standards. This inspection will be repeated every three years, upon renewal of the OOGH registration. Code-compliance on safety and maintenance issues may prevent situations that lead to injury or loss. Importantly, if you already rent out a room, it is not too late to get registered. OOGHs are not considered “rental properties,” so there is no state-required lead inspection, and the interaction between owner and tenant is not governed by city code.

If you are considering making a room available as a short-term rental via Airbnb or a similar platform, you will also need to register with Montgomery County as those are regulated differently. Search for “Short Term Rental” on or call 311 for further instructions.

Alternatively, a completely separate apartment in your home, where there is no shared space between owner and tenant, is an accessory dwelling unit (“ADU”) and is considered a rental property. It must be initially approved by the County, and  then licensed by the City. The County has greatly simplified the process for ADU approval, and obtaining a rental license from the City is straightforward. Operating an unlicensed ADU is unlawful and subject to a municipal citation and fine.

Please contact the City’s Licensing Specialist, Patti Mallin at with your questions about Owner Occupied Group Housing, or search “owner occupied group housing” on for the registration form and additional details.

This article appeared in the July 2020 edition of the Takoma Park Newsletter. The Takoma Park Newsletter is available for download here.