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Ask DCRA: What Are Postcard Permits?

by Lark Turner

Ask DCRA: What Are Postcard Permits?: Figure 1

Starting this week, UrbanTurf will be running a four-week series that examines the questions that homeowners most frequently ask of the city’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA).

With the help of DCRA’s Matt Orlins, UrbanTurf pinpointed the 4-5 questions that most regularly hit the agency’s inbox. This week, we tackle postcard permits, the little permits an average homeowner needs to complete small projects.

As their name suggests, the permits “are minimum-scope online permits designed to allow a homeowner or contractor to pull permits online for small projects without having to submit drawings or even physically come down to apply at DCRA,” Orlins told UrbanTurf.

To get a postcard permit, a homeowner needs to provide basic information about the work they plan to do. A postcard permit isn’t for you if you’re doing work on the outside of a house in a historic district or work on a historically-designated building, or if you need complex approvals to do your project. Here’s a full list of the kind of work you can do with a postcard permit. It includes things like:

  • Fixing a fence
  • Tearing down non-loadbearing walls (if your house is less than 5,000 square feet)
  • Making basic repairs

Postcard permits for certain types of mechanical, plumbing or electrical work can be issued, but only to licensed contractors. The best part of a postcard permit? They’re cheap, typically no more than $37. But that price comes with certain limits.

“They are limited in scope and in many cases have limits on quantities or areas that can be included in the scope; for example, the maximum area allowed for an online permit for interior demolition is 5,000 square feet, and the replacement of plumbing fixtures cannot exceed more than one new fixture,” Orlins said.

You can apply for a postcard permit here, or learn more about them here.

See other articles related to: postcard permits, matt orlins, dcra

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/ask_dcra_what_are_postcard_permits/8834

1 Comment

  1. Josh121 said at 5:35 pm on Wednesday March 15, 2017:
    Great article! I'm tearing down a non-loadbearing wall. Do you need to get the renovation work inspected by DCRA after it's completed? Or do you just need to get the Post Card Permit and then you're done?

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