Washington DC

Washington DC Neighborhoods

Washington DC is an urban city with trendy neighborhoods like Adams Morgan and Georgetown. If you are thinking of moving to Washington DC browse these pages to find out the pros and cons of each neighborhood, the average rent for an apartment, and the little details that make each neighborhood different and special.

Washington DC is divided into four quadrants: northeast (NE), southeast (SE), southwest (SW), and northwest (NW). The U.S. Capitol is at the center of the city. When looking for housing, keep in mind that the safer areas are located close to the Capitol Building.

Although there is a variety of housing in the city, finding an apartment can often be a daunting task. Lack of familiarity with the city and the desire to find an affordable apartment in a safe area can make the process difficult. Remember that the search for housing can take a long time. So the earlier you start, the more options you will have!

Washington DC Apartment

Adams Morgan

Who lives here: Young professionals, young families, students, diplomats, immigrants, longtime Washington DC residents.
Location: 18th St NW and Columbia Rd NW.
Transportation: Metro, Metrobus, DC Circulator, by foot.
Rent for a studio apartment: $1500
Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $1600 and up
Pros: Young neighborhood, popular nightlife, hot spot for shopping and dining.
Cons: Lack of parking, considered less safe than other neighborhoods.

Washington DC Apartment

Dupont Circle

Who lives here: Young professionals, young families, and longtime Washington DC residents.
Location: 19th St NW and Connecticut Ave NW.
Transportation: Metro, Metrobus, by foot.
Rent for a studio apartment: $1500 and up
Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $1600 - $1900
Pros: Trendy neighborhood, GLBT friendly, lots of great bookstores and restaurants.
Cons: Expensive, lack of parking.

Washington DC Apartment

Chinatown

Who lives here: Professionals who work in Downtown DC. A mixed crowd, a blend of races and ages.
Location: 18th St NW and Columbia Rd NW.
Transportation: Metro, Metrobus, DC Circulator, by foot.
Rent for a studio apartment: $1600
Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $1800 and up
Pros: Historical neighborhood, vibrant nightlife, restaurants and bars.
Cons: Lack of parking, traffic during rush hour, homeless people and parahandlers, and noisy.

Washington DC Apartment

Georgetown

Who lives here: Highly educated professionals, GW students, politicians, lobbyists, and social elite.
Location: M St NW and Wisconsin Ave NW.
Transportation: Metrobus, DC Circulator, by foot.
Rent for a studio apartment: $1500 and up
Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $1700 and up
Pros: Upscale neighborhood, surrounded by retail and nightlife.
Cons: Very expensive, no parking, no metro; rentals tend to go to government officials and diplomats rather than students.

Washington DC Apartment

Foggy Bottom

Who lives here: Diplomats, World Bank employees, longtime Washington DC residents, and GW students.
Location: Along the Washington DC/Virginia border.
Transportation: Metro, Metrobus, by foot.
Rent for a studio apartment: $1300 - $1600
Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $1600 - $1800
Pros: Convenient, upscale neighborhood, close to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Cons: Expensive, no parking, very few studio apartments in the lower rent rate.

Washington DC Apartment

Capitol Hill

Who lives here: Young professionals, families, politicos, longtime Washington DC residents.
Location: Center of the city.
Transportation: Metro, Metrobus, by foot.
Rent for a 2-bedroom row house: $1900 - $2500
Rent for a 3- and 4-bedroom house: $2900 - $4000
One bedrooms and studios are available, but prices vary greatly.
Pros: Old historical neighborhood with culinary and cultural attractions.
Cons: Lack of parking, and some sketchier streets.

Neighborhoods Around Washington DC


Washington DC Apartment

Old Town Alexandria

Who lives here: Federal and military personnel, families
Distance to DC: 20 min.
Transportation: Metro, DASH, Fairfax Connector.
Rent for a studio apartment: $1400 and up
Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $1500 and up
Pros: Restored historic houses with shops, restaurants, and bars.
Cons: Traffic, lack of street, flooding risk.


Silver Spring, Maryland

Who lives here: Families, young professionals
Distance to DC: 30-35 min.
Transportation: Metro, bus.
Rent for a studio apartment: $1000 - $1200
Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $1300 and up
Pros: the beltway, large shopping districts, urban feel.

Arlington, Virginia

Who lives here: Families, young professionals, students
Distance to DC: 5-15 min.
Transportation: Metro, bus, highway, back roads.
Rent for a studio apartment: $1200
Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $1400
Pros: Urban villages, such as Ballston, Clarendon, Court House, Crystal City, Rosslyn, and Virginia Square, are built around Metro stations making it easy to live, work, shop, and play within a walkable, pedestrian-friendly environment. Young crowd with local retail and nightlife.
Cons: Expensive, lack of street parking.

Fairfax County, Virginia

Who lives here: Families, young professionals, GMU students.
Distance to DC: 30-40 min.
Transportation: Metro, bus, highway, back roads.
Rent for a 2-bedroom apartment: $1400
Pros: Less expensive, safe, nice suburb.
Cons: Traffic, can be a long commute to Washington DC

Washington DC apartment

What's Required for Renting?

The process for finding an apartment in Washington DC can be ridiculously bureaucratic compared to other cities.

Most landlords expect the two most recent paystubs, credit report, and the last three landlords of everyone who would be living in the place when applying. Yes, it is a lot of documentation just to apply. So, have copies of those documents on hand when looking for an apartment.


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What is Subletting?

Subletting is renting an apartment from someone who already rents the apartment from a landlord. In essence, you pay someone to stay in their apartment while they're gone.

Most people sublet their apartment because they move out and have time left on their lease, or have to travel for a period of time and want to have someone else pay the bills.

Subletting could be a good way to find out whether you like a neighborhood. Also, if you plan to stay in Washington DC for a short time, subletting an apartment may be a good option.


The Security Deposit

Most landlords in Washington DC require tenants to pay a security deposit along with the first month's rent when they move in. A security deposit usually equals a month's rent, and it can only be collected once.

In Washington DC, the landlord must put your security deposit into an account that earns passbook interest for a year. This interest must be given to you when you move out if you have lived in the apartment at least 12 months.

Within 45 days after you move out, the landlord must either return your security deposit plus interest or notify you that the deposit will be used to cover damages. The landlord must send you an itemized list of any repairs or expenses that are taken out of the security deposit.


What You Should Know About Group Houses

Group houses are a common rental option and come with a unique set of leasing issues.

A number of people sign a lease in a group house, but then people sequence through the house. Some move out, new people move in and then some of the people who originally signed the lease are no longer there.

Under a concept known as "joint and several liability", the house's landlord can pursue all the original signers of the lease for remedy if legal disputes arise or back rent is owed. The landlord could also choose to concentrate on the one or two left in the house.


Furnished Apartments

One solution for furniture is renting a furnished apartment or living in a group house. When renting a furnished apartment ensure that most, if not everything you need is available for daily living.

A furnished apartment might be a good choice if your stay in Washington DC is longer than a month, but less than a year. Consider how much you will spend on rent and furnishings.

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