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Mon. Afternoon Rental Option (Owner Request)

by Prince Of Petworth February 15, 2010 at 3:00 pm 35 Comments


This studio is located in the 4200 block of 4th Street, NW:

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The Craigslist ad says:

“Get ready to live in a bright studio basement with a separate entrance, kitchen with stainless steel appliances, bathroom and washer & dryer. If you are into gardening you can also have space in the backyard to plant some herbs and vegetables. Street parking is available. You can have access to a garage parking for an additonal fee. You will pay 1/3 of the utilities which averages to about $50-$80, including gas, electric, water and wireless internet. Cable is also available at an additional cost.

It is located 15 minutes from the Georgia/Petworth Metro Station on the green line, near the new Yes Market on Taylor Street, and is on several bus routes including 60, 64, 70 & H8.

Looking for someone clean and responsible. Sorry, no pets or smoking.

Move-in date March 1st. Initial 3-month trial period, then one-year lease. One month deposit.”

Does $800 sound reasonable?

  • Rolltop

    I have to object on principle that publishing owner-requested rental of the week is just tantamount to free advertising!

    • Eric in Ledroiit

      who cares?

      • anon

        agreed. Craigslist is free advertising too… This leads to a legitimate discussion about pricing that I think is really valuable.

  • Rolltop

    Oh, and if the owner couldn’t get it rented by publishing it on Craigslist and needs the free POP advertising, it’s inherently probably not a good deal!!

    • anon

      …and just before this, we saw a GDoN on a recently sold property.

      limiting the discussion to purely off-the-market properties not only provides an unfortunate *lagging* indicator of what is available to renters, it also deprives potential landlords of some good feedback as to best serve the rental market (i.e. 90 “trial” periods apparently don’t seem like a good idea?).

      it’s win/win/win!

      • caballero

        I agree. I will be renting out my basement soon, and I appreciate the market intel. More info helps everyone in the long run….buyers, sellers, owners, and renters.

        The more “free advertising,” the better.

    • landlord

      Most of PoP readers are already living somewhere, so the value of this “free advertising” shouldn’t bother you so much. (Why does it?) I recently had 32 responses for my apartment listing through Craigslist, and only one had seen it on PoP.

      I think these postings are useful to readers in just showing them what sort of rentals are available out there, so everyone has a better idea of various options.

  • Jaybeas

    The price seems right, but I just can’t get past that wood paneling…

  • Finstock

    I just can’t get past how much of a dick rolltop is.

  • SDJ

    $700. And that’s pushing it.

    We’re talking an out-dated basement studio here folks — WITHOUT utilities.

  • Drewlove

    I would think the 3 month trial period is a deal breaker. As a tenant I wouldn’t want to move all my stuff without assurance that I won’t have to move again in 3 months because the landlord decided they want to rent it to their friend’s cousin instead.

    • dcsarah

      Yeah, what is that about? They are not employers.

      It sounds like these people have never rented out their basement before. At the very least they will probably make for horrible/demanding landlords because they will have unrealistic expectations for their tenants.

  • The price seems about right ($700 is the lowest I’d charge). What’s the square footage? I’d like to see photos of the bathroom and kitchen too.

    Do you even want a tenant to sign a contract? It might be more hassle than it’s worth, especially if s/he is a bad tenant.

  • I can’t decide if that wood paneling is awful or awesome.

    • Finstock

      that’s because you’re a latent hipster. Just apply some lube and let somebody figure it out for you.

  • im not sure that the landlords can force the tennant to leave after the the 3 month period is up, even if the arrangment is put in writing. ?? that could mean trouble for the i think.

  • Actually seems cheap to me. You could get 900.

  • About 500, like the warm southwestern feel with the navajo inspired rug, and the mission sofa.


    Will the Landlord allow 4, 6, or more people to live in this studio apartment? I hope this will not be the case, because many Landlords in Wards 1, 2, 4, are allowing large groups of people living in many apartment buildings in the District of Columbia. Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser Chair the Committee that oversees DCRA and both Bowser and Fenty have ignored overcrowding in apartment buildings by not introducing legislation to address overcrowding.

  • Better than TV?

    I like the way the couch is facing the support beam, like it’s the focal point of the room.

    • anon

      the rug really ties the room together.

  • Andy

    does it have a certificate of occupancy?

  • Nope

    Not remotely a good deal. Basement living (dying?) ought to be cheaper than that, especially given the location.

  • ogden

    I agree on the ‘three month trial period’ thing. I don’t know where the owner came up with the idea, but this isn’t appropriate in the world of rental real estate. If you want someone to move in, you need to commit to a full lease.

    In the world of employment, sure trial periods happen–but it is the one paying the money that gets to decide to continue the agreement, not the one receiving it!

  • Chris

    Bad deal, but I would love the chance to sit on that couch and watch the beam.

  • Columbia Heights Boy

    If its a studio, its too much. If it’s a one bedroom and the landlord was just too lazy to get apicture, then shame on her/him.

  • Matvey

    Not a chance.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know anything about the price, but the 3-month trial period is just bizarre. You take your chances as a landlord, and it’s on the landlord to do due diligence and rent only to people with whom he feels comfortable based on verification of income, previous rental history, credit check, etc. — particularly since he’s only renting out a basement in his home. I haven’t rented in years, but there’s no way the location and space merits such finicky terms (I include the 1/3 of utilities bit in that — just fold the average number into the rent and include it in the price).

    And I second the call not to make PoP a Craigslist of last resort — no more owner requests, please.

  • anon

    I don’t think the price is completely out of line, but it’s hard to tell without seeing it in person. Maybe $700 would be more appropriate if the utilities aren’t included.

    That 3-month trial shizz is a TOTAL dealbreaker though. Makes the landlord seem reallll sketchy, or at least real invasive. I would never move anywhere where they asked for such a thing.

    (And for the record, I live a few blocks away and am your prime rental audience.)

  • Nate

    Given the distance to the metro, I think $500 – $600 is about as best one should offer given that the living space and likely the kitchen/bathroom are dated.

    • It’s a 10 minute walk at most to the Metro. And a frequent bus runs that way to the Metro and then all the way to downtown.

      There maybe reasons it’s not priced well, but it’s not that far from the Metro at all.

  • Petworthian

    The price is fine, the 3-month thing is lame if not illegal, ad needs a picture of the kitchen, and the wood paneling says “You will be breathing in black mold spores from the seeping walls of my poorly waterproofed foundation.”

    • Nate

      The 3 month lease may work out fine for some person (especially for a summer visitor.) As long as both parties are in the know and no one is being mislead (which may or may not be the case here), I don’t think there is anything wrong with it. With that said, prospective tenants should proceed with caution.

      And “legally” there is nothing wrong with it. Individual month leases, followed by week-to-week agreements are not uncommon among low income residents in DC.

  • Likely to ge gyped if paying more than 500-600 range.

  • Bill

    The price is good. We’ve been renting our basement for years (technically as a room in our house, not a separate apt) for 700-750. We’ve always had eager takers. We’re closer to the metro than this example, but our basement is not slick at all. It’s decent and comfortable, we usually rent to visiting grad students for a semester at a time. They’re happy to have it in this market.


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