Licensing & Registration

Secondhand Personal Property

The County's Secondhand Personal Property law requires a dealer in secondhand personal property to

  1. obtain a license from the Office of Consumer Protection,
  2. report all transactions to the Police and
  3. hold all property received for a certain period of time after making the report to the Police. 
This law provides the Police with a means of checking stolen property reports against the list of secondhand personal property received by dealers and, as such, helps identify suspects who commit crimes in the County.

Who must be licensed?
Any person in the business of buying, receiving, or marketing secondhand personal property or acting as an auctioneer in Montgomery County must obtain a Secondhand Personal Property license.  This law was amended effective April 7, 2009, to clarify that the law applies to individuals making or assisting in sales over the Internet.  

Who is exempt from licensing?
Any person that buys personal property at a public sale is exempt from licensing.  Under COMCOR 44A.03.01.09, Charitable organizations may apply for an exemption to licensing, holding, recordkeeping and reporting requirements.  The OCP has an Exemption Request Form.  If the charitable organization only deals in secondhand personal property which are donated, they are automatically exempt from the law.  

What is secondhand personal property?
Personal property includes: Radios and other audio equipment; televisions and other video equipment; photographic, optical and computer equipment; typewriters, calculators and other electronic or electrical home or office appliances, machines or equipment; firearms; bicycles; jewelry; furs, leather goods; watches; paintings; fine or historic china, crystal, glass or porcelain; objets d'art; power tools; carpets and rugs; musical instruments; and any item serialized, marked for identification purposes, or engraved.   Chapter 44A of the Executive Regulations was amended in September 2016 to provide a financial limit to its reporting requirements.  Thereafter,  certain  items under $75 are  not  included in the definition of "secondhand personal property."   For a full listing of what is and is not included in the law, please see COMCOR 44A.03.01.01(d)(-(e).

The Office of Consumer Protection licenses secondhand personal property dealers.  Submit your application here: 

Second Hand Personal Property Dealers License

Please note that a license application on behalf of a partnership must be applied for by and issued to  all of the partners who are authorized to act for the partnership.  Please complete a partnership addendum  for   each partner authorized to act for a partnership.  You can obtain the Partnership Addendum here:

Licenses are valid for one year and can be renewed at most 30 days before expiring. Any person who fails to obtain the license is subject to a $500.00 Civil Citation and an Order for Abatement.  Failure to comply with the Order is subject to contempt proceedings.

The following laws govern Secondhand Personal Property Dealers in Montgomery County:

The OCP has prepared a handy brochure which summarizes the main points of the law.  However, please read the full Code and Regulations (above) for a complete understanding of the County's requirements on dealers.



Below is a summary of the main dealer requirements.  OCP has created this summary for informational purposes only.  License applicants should review the laws to ensure compliance with all regulations.

Reporting Requirements  ( See § 44A-3 for full reporting requirements)

  • A dealer must keep all records and receipts for a minimum of  one (1) year from the date of the latest recorded transaction.
  • A dealer must keep an electronic record, in English, of each purchase or receipt by or on behalf of the dealer at the time of the transaction.  
  • A dealer must give the Police:
    • electronic notice of each transaction within 24 hours after the transaction; and
    • copy of the written record of each transaction within 7 days after the transaction. 
Retention of Secondhand Personal Property  ( See §44A-4 for complete retention requirements)
  • A dealer must retain all secondhand personal property purchased or received for 21 days after the record of the transaction is submitted to the Police.
  • All secondhand personal property purchased or received by a dealer must be stored at the dealer's business location until 21 days after the record of the transaction is submitted to the Police, or as required by the Police.
  • The storage requirements do not apply to a consignee who:
    • operates from a fixed place of business;
    • complies with tagging requirements; and
    • withholds payment for consignments for at least 30 days after each item is received.
Transactions involving minors prohibited.
  • A dealer must not buy or receive any secondhand personal property from a person under 18 years of age. 
Inspection by Police; Release of Stolen Property  (See § 44A-7 for complete inspection requirements)
  • A dealer must allow the Police to examine the required records, examine any personal property purchased, received, or stored at the business location; and require retention for an additional 30 days after the storage retention period, of any property which the police know or believe to be missing or stolen.
  • A dealer must release to the Police an item of secondhand personal property, other than a security or printed evidence of indebtedness, located at the dealer's place of business if the Police have reasonable cause to believe that the item was stolen; the owner of the item or victim of the theft has positively identified the item; the owner of the item or the owner's agent or designee has provided an affidavit of ownership; or the property is involved in an on-going criminal or administrative proceeding. 
  • Unless payment is $10.00 or less, a dealer must pay for each item of secondhand personal property by check or in-store credit.  Cash can be used for amounts less than $10.00. If a dealer opts for in-store credit, it is good business to disclose this prior to the transaction.
Reporting changes to information.
  • If, during any license year, there is a change in the information that a person gave in obtaining or renewing a license, the person must report the change to the Office of Consumer Protection within 30 days after the change occurs and certify that the information given is correct under the penalties of perjury.
Contact Information Description

Montgomery County Police Department

Pawn, Precious Metal and Secondhand Property Unit

100 Edison Park Drive, 5th Floor

Gaithersburg, MD 20878

Investigator: Judy Hanger
                      T: 240-773-5068
[email protected]

Provides information on how to properly set up business to meet County's reporting

and holding requirements.
Maryland Department of Assessment and Taxation
301 W. Preston Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
T: 410 767-1184
T: 800 735-2258
Visit the Maryland Department of Assessment and Taxation to:
  • Register your business and establish legal entity
  • Register a trade name
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
11510 Georgia Avenue
Wheaton, MD 20902
T: 202 283-8097
Obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number
Comptroller of Maryland
Revenue Administration Center
Annapolis, MD 21411
Maryland Combined Registration Application
File a combined registration form to establish your tax accounts with the Comptroller of Maryland.
Business License Information System
Licensing and permit information for businesses in Maryland
Montgomery County Circuit Court
Montgomery Court License Department
50 Maryland Avenue, Room 111
T: 240-777-9460
Montgomery County Circuit Court
Provides information on business licenses in Montgomery County Maryland.