Wed. Afternoon Rental Option – Columbia Heights

This rental is located on the 700 Block of Fairmont Street, NW:

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The Craigslist ad says:

“Industrial Hideway 1br Garden Apartment
700 Block of Fairmont Street, NW, Washington DC
1br/1ba Apartment with Back Porch and Garden
$1350 Per Month (Utilities Included: Electric – Gas – Wireless – No Bills)
May 1st Move-in. First Month Rent + Deposit.
Bedrooms 1
Bathrooms 1 (Standup Shower)
Sq Footage 600+ (interior)
Pet Policy Nice Dog = Nice Home (Cats Too)


700 Block of Fairmont. Columbia Heights Near Howard University. Five/Six Blocks to U Street. Six Blocks to Columbia Heights Center. Attention Gay Men: Town and Nellies is Five Blocks or A $5 Cab Ride. Fairmont Street is really quite attractive and the interior yards of Howard’s Campus are a delightful walk, as is a lap or two in the Banneker Pool. The street is great, the area on the rise. Access to the aparment from front or rear. There are steps to both entrances, but the view is awesome, as is the breeze as we are way above the swap.


Spacious one bedroom apartment featuring new modern amenties (such as Central Air and Heat), but within a charming 1920s rowhouse. English basement entrance in front with a fully exposed 1st Floor Appearance in back. Both elevations open onto garden with the back being an ample amount of outdoor space for a small dog or rabbit. The yard is fenced. A sizeable porch extends from the rear and upper porches of house-porches can also be used within reason. The rear garage also features a pergola on the roof beyond the rear gate looking on to the funky uban view with DC in the back ground. An old horse trough gone fountain will be tinkling in the back ground.

The interior features include exposed brick, plaster-like walls (painted), with glazed concrete floors and black and white poreclain tile in the bathroom. We have been very green in the reuse and retrofiting of interesting old wood doors, sinks, and raw materials within the building. The layout includes a large open room for living and dining with a small vintage bathroom (newly installed/standup shower), a galley kitchen with new stainless-eque appliances/ white cabinets, and a separate bedroom accessed through double pocket doors (includes closet). All of the exterior apatures are glazed as to maximize lighting possibilities. Galley kitchen features new appliances W/D, oven/stovetop range, overhead microwave and ventilator, standard size fridge and obviously a sink with hose/spray nozzle and garbage disposal. Current tenant and upstairs roomate use some of the exterior rear yard for planting veggies, etc. The new occupant is more than welcome to partake in pleasure gardening. A pet or two is welcome, but we don’t want a Great Dane convention.


-Living Room -Yard (front and back)
-Central Air Conditioning -W/D, Stove/Oven, Microwave -Porches to a futile point
-Central Heat -Running Water (LOL), Plumbing -Pergola
-Glazed Concrete -Exposed Brick -Garage for Extra Storage
-Pocket Doors -Industrial Vibe

One year lease. Security Deposit with Pet Fee Included. Fairmont Street is really nice, lots of young professionals and the general area is up and coming. Landlord is an urban minded preservationist with a sense of humor— Equal Opportunity Employer, but Not The Public Housing Authority. Hard attitudes based on ugly buildings is welcome, but NOT in regards to RACE, RELIGION, SEX OR SEXUAL Prefernces. Street Parking is pretty easy even within the block. Alley parking may be available, but not within this row. Email for appointment.”

Now that’s an ad! Hahaha. Wow. $1350 sound reasonable for this 1 bedroom?

49 Comment

  • …Are those cement floors in a basement apartment? I don’t think you can pass off an unfinished basement floor as “industrial.”

  • Ha! I’d take a “Great Dane convention” over a yippy little dog extravaganza any day of the week.

  • mtpgal

    Has anyone heard about the city trolling DC for folks renting basement apartments w/o a CoC? My realtor told me that they hired someone to do this full time looking to bust people. It freaked me out, so for now I’m only renting to people I know and can get in w/o an add. Perhaps I’m too paranoid, but the fact that folks can get all of their rent back (even years worth) who rent apartments without a CoC has me nervous.

    • Why not just get a CoC then?

      Your question sounds similar to parents who are freaked out about getting caught not paying “nanny taxes”, to which my response is to just do the paperwork, pay the fees/taxes and stop worrying.

      If you cannot afford the CoC, you shouldn’t be renting your illegal basement.

      • mtpgal

        In some of the historic areas you can’t get a CoC. It’s not the paperwork holding me back.

        • Fair enough, but then if it’s not legal to rent, then why even try to risk it?

          • He wants to risk it because he wants to make money, silly. He is now trying to assess the risk associated with this attempt to make money.

    • FHA approved the rehab. We had to pave all kinds of new ways. We had a more industrial dirt floor but they didn’t like that…. They didn’t like the pavement either, but when i varnished it with a clear coat, they seemed very happy. But yes they are touchy about the apartment features in that regard…

  • Nellie’s is 5 blocks away? I guess that’s true, but it just seems further… maybe a very long 5 blocks.

    Anyway, seems like a decent deal for once, as opposed to that pile of crap $2900 Floridian apartment.

    • We tried to put some effort into minimizing the amount of shit that would need to be replaced, like flooring and more wall board where there was texture, we salvaged, etc. Green begins with reuse. AND THANK YOU, the Floridian is a real horrible hole, it is grotesque…once the bubbles off the wine…lol.

  • mtpgal

    Ridiculous amount of typos. What I meant to say is my realtor told me the city has someone trolling Craigslist full time looking for illegal apartments.

    • Oh, so we have money for THAT but not essential services? And not for garbage/recycle cans? Oh, DC.

    • I’m extremely skeptical that this is happening. There’s almost no way to determine if a rental is legal without a very thorough inspection of the place. There’s a fine line between taking on a roommate and renting out a basement apartment.

      Even more than that, after the financial crisis hit, many people became unable to pay their mortgages without renting their basements out. Illegal or not, this is a policy that’d encourage more foreclosures. You can do the balancing test on your own of what’s worse: illegal rental units or more foreclosures.

      • I vote in favor of more foreclosures.

        • mtpgal

          You seem to feel strongly about illegal rentals. Is it safety concerns, or ?

          • No, really I’m just playing devil’s advocate.

            I’m all in favor of people risking something illegal to make some extra money, but if they get caught, I have no sympathy. If you buy a house you can barely afford without renting an illegal unit, then you really have no reason to whine about losing your house to foreclosure if you get caught and can no longer rent it out.

  • Not bad, but this is Pleasant Plains, not Columbia Heights. (Or I guess maybe it’s like in the old days when Columbia Heights was “Mount Pleasant East” and U Street was “Dupont East.”)

    • The 700 block is on the west side of Georgia, so it is probably more Columbia Heights than Pleasant Plains.

      • the google map for the ad actually says fairmont at 11th street. doesn’t seem accurate to me, considering that you have to cross sherman to get to 11th from the 700 block. gotta love landlords who are trying to deceive – c’mon, like we’re not going to figure out where it is really located if we’re going to rent it?

      • saf

        Pleasant Plains is also west of GA Ave.

    • I thought pleasant plains was a sub neighborhood of columbia heights..

    • Pleasant Plains is sub neighborhood of Columbia Heights.

  • Never rent from someone who has strong opinions about random crap. I don’t want my “preservationist” landlord getting mad I don’t recycle.

    • you’re right on point 1. you’re an awful person on point 2.

      • awful for not recycling?

        what happens to the recyclables abut Waste Management picks them up? i mean on the days where the regular trash guys don’t just thrown them in the trash truck.

        do you know?

        • They get recycled. In addition to the fact that recyclables are a valuable commodity, waste management companies can be fined when recyclables are disposed of improperly, and this fine is frequently passed down to the trash men responsible. Basically, doesn’t make sense for the company or the trash men to put your soda can in a landfill.

  • Looks like a great place to smoke weed.

  • So I wondered why that address looked familiar, and then I remembered this:

    Otherwise, it looks pretty nice for the price.

  • If the City didn’t make the C of O requirements so ridiculous more people would get them. You ought to be thankful so many people do rent their basements illegally! those are just about the only affordable places left in the City. For example, of a C of O requires an 8 ft ceiling but your basement is 7ft, it costs about 30k to dig the floor down to add that foot. wtf? why not let the market dictate what someone is willing to pay for a basement with 7ft ceilings? Everybody wants cheap rent but feels like punishing landlords is the way to do it. Guess what? that cost gets passed right back to you renter. My tax just doubled on my rental unit now that I am not claiming homestead deduction (look at me trying to be honest)…next year I am increasing the rent 200/month for tenants.

    • Yep. Imagine what the rental situation would look like if there were no illegal apartments. There would be a huge shortage and prices would skyrocket.

      • So be it! Then, we could all move to Detroit and have huge homes! Maybe we should move the federal gov’t to Detroit? Who’s with me??!?! Anyone?

        • You are splitting hairs. DC and Detroit compete for the title of the murder capital of the country.

      • The problem really isn’t legal vs. illegal. It’s the way the housing market has previously valued illegal rentals. In the past, it was pretty easy to get away with illegal rentals — so people didn’t pay less for a house that needed $50k to transition the basement unit from illegal to legal. That’s not really my problem, renters’ problems, or anyone’s but the people who bought houses with illegal rental units. Owning real estate entails risk. If they didn’t want to assume risk, current illegal LLs shouldn’t have bought in the first place. They lost out, unfortunately; that’s the nature of the game.

        If you’re a smart buyer today, you’ll look at illegal rentals and value them differently — maybe not $50k, $60k less (because illegal rentals do have value, after all), but certainly a lot less than a house with a C of O.

        • I have no idea what you’re talking about – but the facts – there are a few essential safety issues that govt. inspectors should insure in any rental unit.

          Safe wiring/electric – adequate egress – smoke/carbon monoxide detectors. Everything else is market. Crappy place? Don’t rent it!

          Those at most risk of suffering from bad housing – the 10 illegal immigrant dishwashers sharing a 4th floor walk-up in Mt. Pleasant with shifts on the 8 mattresses on the floor are in much more need of government safety intervention.

          • There would be few illegal rentals today if home buyers generally valued illegal basement apt differently than legal ones. Every time someone begins the C of O conversation, a bunch of people complain about the “onerous” process of acquiring a C of O. That problem rests with them. They bought a house with a gray market rental, possibly overpaying compared to their neighbor who owns the same house with a dug out, fully renovated basement. Because they overpaid, it’s not as easy for them to take out a loan or otherwise finance the necessary improvements to make it legal. They’re stuck, and give up on acquiring a C of O.

            In other words, general lack of compliance with C of O standards (and therefore safety issues) is best addressed by having an educated buying populace. Buyers can enforce these standards by removing non C of O purchases from consideration, or offering vastly less amounts of money for them. It’s with buyers that self interest aligns perfectly with safety — and not so much with current owners.

    • Legal Ceiling height is 7ft for a CofO in DC.

      • 7ft?? That would really really suck, being 6’6″. Cannot imagine living in such a claustrophobia-inducing space.

        • You don’t have to imagine it dumb-head ballstoyou! You can actually measure it! As can anyone else who might consider renting a place with lower ceilings. It isn’t a safety issue but an aesthetic/comfort issue. If you don’t like an apartment – don’t rent it.

          I think this place is actually a pretty good deal. Garden, porch, pets, all utilities etc. And I appreciate the comprehensiveness and humor of the ad.

          The Devil clearly needs a smarter advocate.

  • Okay, back to the subject at hand. Does anyone think this is a good deal or not? I’m really curious about this one I live close by. Thanks.

  • if you lease a basement but instead of calling it an apartment, you have a tenant sign a ‘roomate contract’ even though the place has its own kitchen, full bath, etc. would this be considered legal? like having a roomate that has a self-sustaining space and isn’t ‘allowed’ into the main house…

    • I’m curious about this too.

      • Only legal if stairs connect the upstairs with the basement. I don’t think you’d want to lock the connecting door, tho’ — best to give them as many means of egress as possible.

        If no stairs, get your Realtor to insist on C of O, or drill the other side on a lack thereof as you negotiate them down. Way down.

  • I’m a pretty big fan (as a property manager) of flexible pet policies and I think it says a lot that these folks are encourages four legged pals. The price seems fair too!

  • Depending on the floor situation, I think it’s a GREAT deal. Even if those are cement floors, I’d take it if my lease ended tomorrow instead of August 1.

    In fact, I’d take it largely because I want to be friends with whoever wrote this. Amazing.

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