What is a Registered (or Resident) Agent? Why do I need one?

If you want to obtain a business license in the District, you are required to have either a registered agent or a resident agent. The function of both registered and resident agents is to accept legal summonses, notices, and official notices from the government, or other third parties, on your behalf as the property owner.


Is there a difference between a registered agent and a resident agent?

Yes, there is. A registered agent is a company that, as part of its corporate charter, accepts servings on behalf of others. (RentJiffy is a registered agent.) A resident agent is an individual who accepts servings on behalf of others. 


Your registered/resident agent must:

  • have an address (not a PO box) within the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.). A registered agent must use a commercial address, while a resident agent must use their home address of record, and
  • be able to accept service of process at their address of record from Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm, except on government holidays. 

Note: A tenant is not allowed to serve as the registered agent. Additionally, the registered agent's address cannot be the same address of a rental property except where there are multiple units, and the owner is living in one of the units. Additionally, in the case of the owner residing at the property, the owner cannot be renting out rooms in their unit.


Your registered/resident agent cannot:

  • be your tenant.
  • use the rental property address as their address unless the agent will be the owner of record, property has multiple units, and the unit the owner resides in is their primary residence with no tenants within the owner's unit. If your rental property is a single-family home, the rental property address cannot be used as the registered/resident agent's address even if the owner is residing at the property.


Why does your choice of registered/resident agent matter so much?

  • If your agent is not available when a process server comes to the designated address, the agent will be deemed unavailable – and you will be considered non-compliant. Service processors do not call, email, or text with notice they are coming. When you list a registered agent you are stating the agent is available at their address to be served.
  • Some documents may have a deadline that require a response from you within days, or even hours. Your time clock to respond will start ticking down when the registered agent receives those documents – not when he or she delivers them to you. That’s why having someone who is available and responsive is so essential.

The good news? RentJiffy can provide you with reliable and convenient registered agent services. As your registered agent, we will accept notices brought to our offices on your behalf. What’s more, we will scan and email the documents to you the same day we get them – it doesn’t get faster than that!


And it’s easy to have RentJiffy as your registered agent. Just fill out the Rental Property License form, and when you get to Step 4, select the option to make RentJiffy your registered agent. If you already have a license, you can still establish RentJiffy as your registered agent by contacting us at support@rentjiffy.com. We will create the necessary documents to update your license, RAD registration form, and invoice.


Articles in this section

Was this article helpful?
0 out of 0 found this helpful