Dear PoP – Housing for $1000

Photo by PoPville flickr user cyrusrassool

A reader had written in asking about rental options for $1000. Fortunately they found a place already. But it got me thinking – when I look for afternoon rental options I don’t see too many for $1000. So I’m curious what folks suggest – what are the best neighborhoods to find rentals for around $1000? Or if that is the limit do you think it is better to look for shared housing?

23 Comment

  • Speaking as someone who rents a 1BR 4 blocks south of DC USA for less than $1000 (utilities included), I think you can find housing for one person for at or near that price in a lot of neighborhoods. What you need to do this however, is time … ideally you’re moving from a month to month lease which allows for flexibility in move out date. I found my place by calling the management company directly and getting a tour. It was never advertised.

    • Something like this would be a little more helpful if you named the management company.

      • Fred A. Smith. As a management co. they suck when it comes to returning phone calls about non-emergency building issues. On the flip side though, they’re great when something is an emergency (Example: inexplicably no hot water Friday night, plumber at my house Satruday at noon). So, on balance I( guess they’re better than most.

  • Frankly, I don’t think you will find any sort of 1 BR unit/studio for under 1k unless you are willing to live with limited light/windows and in an older structure, as well as on a sketchier block. As far as I can tell, decent studios in still transitioning ‘hoods start at about $950-$1000, and 1 BRs start at $1250. Best deals can be found in NE Capital Hill near H St, Bloomingdale and northern Columbia Hts/Petworth. imo.

    • I rent a 2 bedroom, 1 bath apt for $1015/month. It is the top floor in a 4 floor building. It faces SW so there is plenty of sunlight. Did I mention that I live 1 block off Logan Circle?
      Good deals can be found, the problem is that you may have to wait to find it.

  • I would suggest putting a housing wanted ad on Craigslist with your budget, geographic flexibility (you must have this, for self-contained place that price), a brief generic/anon blurb basically letting them know that you have a job, decent credit, and a previous landlord reference or two to offer.

    (By the way, it probably also helps if you are female, non-smoking, and have no pets- I see tons of ads that screen out all of the above)

    [As a back-up plan, put a similar ad with shared housing as the option to be safe.]

    You’d be surprised how many responses you’d get. For me, even though there may be many responses that you don’t want to follow up with, it takes a lot of effort out of the process.

    • And then you can sue Craigslist for the Fair Housing Act violation you posted on their website, hooray!

    • As a landlord of what I think are a couple of good-value places (not a 1BR for 1000, but good value 2BRs), while I exclusively use Craigslist to advertise my apartments when they’re vacant, I rarely check the housing wanted section — it’s way too needle-in-a-haystack, and most people on there are dreaming the impossible dream (private, util incl., blocks from Metro, and all for $800/mo.!). It seems pretty unlikely that you’d find a 1BR/non-share situation this way — basically it puts the onus on the landlord to find the poster, as opposed to reaching a lot more people with his own ad. This probably is a much better solution for shared housing, where people are looking for others to fill out a multi-room lease.

  • If you are OK with either having a basement apartment or living a further walk from metro, you could have options in much of Petworth, 16th St Heights, Brightwood, and Takoma.

    Our former housemate rented a 1BR in an older building pretty far from the metro in Chevy Chase for $1100/month – so there are good deals even in expensive parts of town. Another friend rented a 1BR on Longfellow St for $800/month. Recently a 1BR (not a basement) close to the new Yes Organic Market in Petworth was advertised at $795.

  • ah

    BTW, that’s a nice photo.

  • I’m a block and a half south of H St NE between 13th and 14th streets and pay $850/month + utilities for a basement studio (though with a hallway to the back entrance, I have plenty of space for 2 full sized bookshelves).

    I looked at several other places scattered around the city for under $1000 and they definitely exist, though they aren’t necessarily immediately metro accessible. One I found out off MacArthur Blvd west of Georgetown was quite nice.

  • You can rent some decent places in Brentwood, Woodridge, Trinidad, Rosedale/Stadium-Armory, & Brookland for that price. Or else older/nonrenovated in a slightly more expensive area, like Eckington, Gallaudet/Old City, NE Capitol Hill.

  • 3636 16th street.

    the woodner.

    HUGE studios with walk in closets, wood floor, big bathrooms…. for $850 up.

    lived there. loved it.

  • I lived at the Woodner from 2001-2004, and it was a pretty good deal overall but seemed to be going downhill. I couldn’t get hot water in the shower between 7 and 8 am, so many washing machines were broken that laundry became a day-long ordeal, and cockroaches were a real problem (maybe exacerbated by people piling trash in the trash room rather than dropping it down the chute). Those are all problems that could have either gotten worse or been fixed by now, and the units themselves are large and solid. The location’s good for the price, and if you can take the S bus to work you’re pretty set.

    Bottom line, see if you can talk to some current residents or people who’ve recently moved out about maintenance, pests, etc. If there are no major management problems, it’s a good deal.

    I read the previous post and the comments, and I’ll just say that my memories of the residents and staff I interacted with were all pleasant.

  • I’m pretty sure the apartments at the corner of Quincy and New Hampshire rent for around $1000. I haven’t been inside, but they are 1 block form the Petworth Metro.

    • Those buildings are poorly maintained and apartments were renting around $1200 a year ago. But the buildings are in the process of getting sold — so people might consider renting now even though they might have to live with pests and not so nice common areas and the understanding that the management is trifling. But when the building is sold and under new management the expectation is that the rents will increase.

  • Another way to get this price is by living in a private, single-family home’s in-law suite or basement rental (I know a lot of people don’t like basements, neither do I but if price is non-negotiable you take what you can get).

    I have had friends have luck with this through word of mouth. A lot of private homeowners don’t want to open their home and list their address through craigslist so they use their church mailing list or references from friends.

    Anyone who is non-negotiable and needs a lot price but doesn’t want to live with roommates might consider spreading the word verbally among their friends or searching church message boards… a friend of mine found a GREAT apartment this way, it was technically a basement but since the house was on a hill the back of the basement, where her pad was, was not underground. It was in one of those huge houses that’s pretty much right inside the park.

    Anyway, my $0.02. Like finding a job, sometimes you have to go off the listings and start asking around.

  • im in richman towers (16th and irving), 2 blocks from columbia heights metro, at $1020 a month with utilities included. not perfect but certainly decent, and very safe. i found a few studios at or a little under 1000 in the columbia heights-mt pleasant area, and 1brs for less at the slightly unsafe stretch between columbia heights and u street, but landed my deal by calling the building and getting put on a wait list since they didn’t have any vacancies – until the next day, when they called me back. i think it helps to walk around and get phone numbers of buildings you’re interested in, which are usually posted outside, or try to scan the neighborhoods during business hours when their leasing offices are open – the best deals probably don’t post on craigslist much – they don’t need to if they have waiting lists!

  • try Carillon House in Glover Park. was there for a number of years in the late ’90s and you can get a studio for around $1K/month. not shilling for the joint either.

  • The Lemming’s daily lineup.

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