Published on: Sunday, November 4, 2018 News

Register Your Owner-Occupied Group House

An Owner Occupied Group House is a single-family home:

  • Occupied by the owners or a family members as their primary residence; and
  • One or more unrelated individuals who pay rent or share the costs of utilities.

The ability to rent out a private bedroom and then share common space in single-family homes creates affordable housing opportunities in our terrific Takoma Park neighborhoods as well as providing income for homeowners.

These houses are not considered rental properties by the City, although they are required to be registered. This is the same registration that is required for homeowners who rent rooms in the homes they live in through short-term services, such as Airbnb. Registration lasts for three years, expiring December 31 of the third year.

Register in three easy steps
  1. Complete a brief application, on the City website.
  2. Pay the $50 registration fee.
  3. Pass an inspection conducted by City staff to ensure the home meets health and safety standards.

The inspector will test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, both of which need to be either hard-wired or the ten-year, tamper-proof type. They will verify that each bedroom has a key- operated lock on the exterior and a thumb turn on the interior and as well as a window that provides safe exit in case of a fire or other emergency. The inspector will also check that the cooking and sanitation facilities are in good working order. This inspection is repeated at the time the registration is renewed, every three years.

Do you have questions about the registration process or want to verify that your group house is already registered? Contact Housing and Community Development at 301-891-7119 or housing@

This article appeared in the November 2018 edition of the Takoma Park Newsletter. The Takoma Park Newsletter is available for download here.