88°Mostly Cloudy

Do Basement Rentals Really Go For This Much These Days?

by Prince Of Petworth April 7, 2016 at 3:00 pm 81 Comments


“Dear PoPville,

I saw this posting for a basement rental in Bloomindale [Adams St NW at 2nd St NW] and I was curious to get readers perspectives on it.


Our brand new, fully renovated walk-out basement on the border of LeDroit Park and Bloomingdale will be perfect for someone who loves light, a big open feel, and close access to all the activity on Georgia Ave, U St, North Capitol and 1st St! Large south-facing windows let in direct sun all day long, to compliment full-height ceilings, exposed brick, and full-sized entry/exit doorways. The unit has a contemporary styling, tile floors, and all brand-new stainless appliances. It has in-unit laundry (washer/dryer), Elfa storage solutions in the closet, and is completely closed off from the upstairs–complete privacy! Although there is plenty of street parking, off-street parking is negotiable. We are asking $2,300/month.

The place looks pretty sweet but I was a little surprised to see how much it was renting for. Has bloomingdale come this far?”

Ed. Note: I think it depends on how much light the unit gets. And obviously this one is totally renovated too. So what do you guys think is $2300/mo reasonable for this one?

  • Hill Denizen

    So since it includes utilities, it’s really more like $2000 for a 1 bed. I think that’s way too much for this neighborhood, even if it is renovated. For that much you can get a 1 bed in a new full service building in a better location.

    • turtwigs

      It’s definitely too expensive but props to the landlord for cashing in on the all of the kids with access to their parents’ bottomless wallets. I’m sure a GW undergrad will happily move right on in.

  • CTF

    That still seems a little high for me. I have a fully renovated basement with everything this one has save the dishwasher, all utilities included, about the same size and off-street parking for $1400 a month. It’s also a 10-12 minute walk from a metro stop (red line, not green/yellow though). I get slightly less light, but not $1000 less! I’m interested to hear other’s perspectives though.

    • ***

      sounds about the same as my set-up – fully renovated (first ever tenant) in a detached house, all utilities included (including premium cable), washer/dryer, about 1,000sf and off-street parking for $1600. But I am up in Forest Hills and about a 20 minute walk to the metro.

    • Anon

      How long ago did you both move in? A few years makes a big difference.

      • ***

        Actually I just realized that last week was my 5 year anniversary in my place. And not a dollar increase in my rent since day 1!

      • pru

        This. There is basically no point in comparing rent posted in an ad to rent from a lease signed a year ago.

        • ***

          Fair point. I think we can agree this is still high.

        • JohnH

          Yes, everyone’s situation is different. But didn’t rents go down in the last year? This price is still absurd.

        • Accountering

          Rents are flat from a year ago. A lease signed in April 2015 is quite relevant to what you would pay in April 2016.

  • Zachary Klein

    That’s high for a non-basement 1BR in that neighborhood….

  • Katie

    I JUST moved out of a basement apartment at Adams and 2nd St. NW last week and we were paying $1470 with all utilities included. That said, ours was much smaller (600 sq. ft.) and a little more cheaply renovated (though still nice with updated look, stainless steel appliances, etc.). But with THAT said, we just bought a 2 bedroom condo a block over and our mortgage will be less than $2300. So maybe somewhere in between…

    • Katie

      I also just realized I went to the open house for this place, which was on the market for just under $1M. It was really, really beautiful throughout for what that’s worth to the value.

      • textdoc

        I’m confused — the open house for which place? The whole house for which this is the basement?

        • Nathan

          There was an open house for the whole house when it was offered for sale a few months ago.

        • Katie

          @textdoc Sorry! Should have clarified – the entire renovated row house was just recently on the market. Now the new owners are renting out the basement.

  • John M

    The landlord of this unit jumped the gun on this. Wayyyyy too much for a 1-bedroom English basement in Bloomingdale, despite being recently renovated. I toured a 2-bed 2-bath basement in a brand new building in Columbia Heights a few months ago and it was only $2495 (utilities not included, however). It was also not in a rowhouse, which anyone who’s had to move into a rowhouse basement will tell you it isn’t the easiest thing to do with couches and beds. The Gale (like 3 blocks east of this apartment) has two bedrooms at that price point and at least it includes pools and a gym.

    • Anon X

      I think there are a lot of people who would prefer to live in Bloomingdale over Columbia Heights. It is more centrally located to the rest of the city, probably safer, better restaurants/bars within a short walk, is less congested and more accessible, etc. Yes, most of CH is closer to a metro – but as we’ve seen from ridership numbers (which have decreased, even as the population increases), thats not the critical attribute that it was even 3 years ago.

      That said, I’m shocked that a brand new building in CH was renting a 2/2 for 2500/month. Either that is with a hefty concession that expires after year one, fees will kill you, or something else.

      I think this place is over priced, but since there are routinely 1brs going for 1800-2100 across the city, I’m not sure its over priced by that much considering it includes utilities.

      The biggest thing working against it, is that while Bloomingdale is a prime location in the central core of the city (sorry, haters, its true), 2nd and Adams is a forgotten corner of Bloomingdale that is suffering short-term (matters immensely to a renter) from the ongoing tunnel project.

  • SilverSpringGal

    Includes utilities which is nice but that’s a lot to ask for a one-bedroom in Bloomingdale. Then again I once had someone ask for 2K/mo for a renovated basement in Brightwood 5 years ago. It stayed on the market. Just because they’re asking doesn’t mean they’ll get that or it worth it. Also remember prices rise in summer for intern season.

    • HaileUnlikely

      Holy cow. 5 years ago I lived in an unrenovated 3 BR, 2.5 BA rowhouse in Brightwood and the rent for the entire house was a bit less than that.

      • The King Ad-Hoc

        Twenty years ago you could rent an entire row house for $1,000.

        • HaileUnlikely

          Yes. Five years ago I was renting one for about $1600.

  • D

    I paid 1600 without utilities and 1350 with utilities two separate years and two separate basements. I had several very bad experiences and would never live in Bloomingdale again no matter the cost. But for others, I feel like 1600-1800 for a basement is reasonable. 2300 is way too much.

  • siz

    this does look like a very nice reno, but i live one block over on adams and my renovated, two floor, three bedroom, 2 bathroom house with 2 parking spaces is only a few hundred more than this (granted does not include utils). $1600-$1800 seems right to me, but they’ll probably get someone to pay it.

    • siz

      sorry – THREE bathrooms!

      • Anon


    • Anon X

      So… if they get someone to pay it, its by definition not over priced. Its over priced if the price is so high that the market wont bear it.

      I guess people define the rental market as n=1 sort of situation. Its not. Just because you cant/wont pay it, doesnt mean its over priced.

      • Anonymous

        Same applies conversely though. The rental market isn’t n=1, so the fact that one person is willing to pay a certain price is not proof that the market will bear it. I mean we all know which way prices are headed, but this price might be a little ahead of its time.

        • Evan Tupac Grooter

          The fact that one person is willing to pay a certain price is the definition that the market will bear it.

          • Philippe Lecheval

            Sort of, but if someone who comes from a place where typical rents are way higher than they are here and has no real knowledge of the neighborhood they’re moving to other than where it is on a map signs a lease for the place, that doesn’t mean anybody else would pay that much for an equivalent apartment.

      • siz

        i guess this is true, but it’s out of step with other one bedroom basements in the northern bloomingdale area – i have several friends who are in nicely renovated ones around me!

  • jen

    That’s really high for that neighborhood. In super-sought-after Mt. Pleasant, near the back entrance of the zoo, the basement rentals hover around the 2k mark but usually around $1700/1800…that price is way out of whack.

  • Anon

    Way too much. We have a two bedroom basement unit on 2nd for $2050.

  • anon

    I pay that amount for a two bedroom on the fourth floor, in a better location in Bloomingdale, also all utilities included. This is very overpriced.

  • Bdylan89

    Says this is steps from Boundary Stone and Red Hen but it’s a half mile. I’m in Eckington around 2nd and Todd so I must be steps away too. Granted it’s about a 6 or 7 minute walk but this is not “steps” away.

    • siz

      for real!

  • hliz101

    I live about a block from here, in what I think is a nicer basement unit (that kitchen is tinnnnny). Mines a little over 700 ft2 and was newly redone when I moved in as the first tenant. W/D, windows, the works.

    Mine’s $1,600 all in (including cable/internet/one a month maid/alarm) since 2014. I think it’s fair, if anything a little underpriced, however, I’ve had massive problems being in a basement unit in bloomingdale (flooding and breakins), and you’re not really close to a metro (I still take it daily but I think that price demands you be within 5 blocks). You’re also still in a basement so if you do want natural light, everyone sees in, and the ceilings are probably so low that natural light doesn’t help anyway.

    Also you could get a decent 1 bedroom luxury apt for that price (as long as you weren’t looking at U/14th areas) and pay your own utilities.

    • hliz101

      Also worth mentioning, Adams is a mess with all the construction right now.

      • Nathan

        True, though DC Water’s updated target for completion is May/June, so the street will be open again in a few months.

    • Nathan

      This was a recent renovation and I think its fairly well dug out for better light and also higher ceilings.

      • hliz101

        Yeah, mine was done just before I moved in, and honestly still looks better than this. I have plenty of windows and the ceilings are a bit low, but still, you’d end up keeping that large window they have in front covered just due to people seeing in. I didn’t think of that when leasing the place, because I thought “Oh windows!” Especially with the amount of digging/whatever they’re doing on Adams on that block. The whole street has been closed off for nearly a year. Again, I think I get a deal despite bad issues just because I write one check a month, but $2,300 is crazy.

    • DC_KT

      Yeah until recently I rented a 700 or so SF 1 bedroom in a fancy building with gym and all in Mt Vernon Squangle for 2200 a month, plus first month free. And I got to live well above ground on the 7th floor and have a 24-hour doorman/security. I paid utilities but electric was well under 100 a month always and let’s see, the last time I had to pay a water bill for an apartment it was always 40 dollars a month. That is the official amount that water for an apartment costs. I guess if you get the 200 dollar a month cable package or something you might consider the utilities being included a deal? No real metro access, no close supermarket…I think Bloomingdale is a really pretty neighborhood and probably good to buy in but for renting it should be cheaper than this.

    • CTF

      I think that’s the biggest issue here, is that flooding is a huge issue in Bloomingdale basements. I looked at 2 basements in Bloomingdale and ruled both of them out after finding out about flooding.

  • DCCC3

    Yeah, that is a ridiculously high rent for what it is.

  • General Grant Circle

    OVERPRICED. Maybe if it were a 2 bed but

  • Gloomingdale

    So glad to see a follow up posting on this. The price is ridiculous for a basement.

  • J

    Beautiful looking apartment. The rent is way too high. I rent out my basement studio in Logan for $1,575, and my friends across the street just had to lower their newly-renovated, one-bedroom basement unit to $1,800. While I love LeDroit/Bloomingdale, there’s no way the market there can justify such higher prices than Logan right now..

    • anon

      so when do you need a new tenant?

  • CoHi

    Three years ago I almost rented a nice (stainless steel appliances, wood floors) 1-bed plus den basement on the border of Logan and Shaw for $300 less than this. Way overpriced.

  • ohrly

    Someone in Park View has a brand new basement unit they posted for $1850 for ~400 sqft! They made it into a 1bd/1bath somehow. My jaw nearly dropped. I have no idea if they got that price, but my initial reaction was that that was exorbitant. But hell, if they get it, I’ll consider digging out my basement, too!

  • Anon

    This is definitely overpriced. I paid exactly what this person is asking for to live in a 650 square foot one bedroom condo in Logan Circle that was not in a basement and that also had a W/D, granted without electric. Logan Circle is one of the most expensive areas in the city to rent, but you are walking distance to every single metro line. This place is pretty far from the metro. I would expect this to be around $500 cheaper a month.

  • Petworth Anonymous

    Looks like an awesome apartment, but definitely way overpriced. Since utilities are included, I’d say a fair price would be about $500-600 less than the amount they’ve asked for. I will point out that they did word it as an “asking” price, so I assume they are prepared for negotiation. But I’m not sure they are aware of how much negotiation it would take for this to be a fair deal.

  • Justin F.

    That sounds very reasonable considering what some of my friends are paying… I don’t really see what this article is trying to prove….

    DC has a severe lack of housing compared to other cities- we all know this. That’s related to a lot of policy, zoning and geographical restraints (building height restrictions and historical preservation districts especially). But, at the end of the day the market is going to dictate what this place will rent for. If you think its too much, move to Baltimore instead of complaining about people actively trying to make DC a better (and denser) place by renting out their English basements.

    If someone’s willing to pay that, its not too high. period. If you think that housing overall is too expensive, take that concern to the ears of people who might actually be able to make a policy change to allow more dense housing to be built.

    • textdoc

      Most people commenting in this thread are saying that this unit is overpriced in relation to comparable units in D.C. — not complaining about the larger issue of D.C. housing costs.

      • SilverSpringGal


      • Justin F.

        It was less of a critique on those who were commenting on this post than the post itself.

        • Anonymous

          “Good Deal or Not” threads are a PoP staple. Granted that whether something is a “good deal” or not is in the eye of the beholder. But that doesn’t mean folks can’t opine on whether they would pay the asking price for a particular listing. The OP is simply asking whether a particular neighborhood has progressed to the point where premium 1 bedroom basement apartments are worth what this one is listed for. Most of the people commenting – which may not be reflective of the entire populace of DC renters – don’t think so.

        • Anonymous

          Looks like the homeowner dropped by.

          • textdoc

            I had a similar thought.

  • AdMo

    We rent our 2 bedroom/1 bath completely renovated basement apartment in Adams Morgan (with washer/dryer, dishwasher and wifi included) for $2300/month.

  • KPS

    It sounds awfully high, but more to the point: someone will gladly pay. Space isn’t easy to find. I can see a young couple with no kids and two incomes happily paying this.

    • Leeran

      I tend to disagree with comments like this… people are likely their money to more central locations if they’re shelling out this much for a 1 bdrm.

      Sure, the landlord might find someone eventually, but when you’re trying to rent this much over-market, the unit’s probably going to sit there for a long time anyway, which just means lost $ anyway.

  • ExWalbridgeGuy

    I love that they took a pano photo of the little bedroom to try to make it look bigger… Definitely overpriced although I disagree with some of the comments above that you can easily find a new full-service buildings where you can get a 1 bedroom for $2,000.

  • dcd

    Don’t basements in Bloomindale have a sewage problem? Or has that been fixed?

    • Emmaleigh504

      Not sure if it’s been fixed, but when I see tile in a basement I think flooding.

      • ***

        Honestly (living in a basement myself) I wouldn’t want carpet floors (I have wood). Flooding or not, basements in DC in the summer are humid soup – WARNING FUTURE TENANT: BUY A DEHUMIDIFIER!! Carpet floors in a basement in DC – icky.

        • HaileUnlikely

          Agreed on no carpet, and agreed on dehumidifier. I hope it’s engineered hardwood rather than solid hardwood. Solid hardwood is unlikely to hold up well over time down there.

  • Cameron

    This actually seems like a very reasonable price — renovated, all utilities included, pet friendly and over 800 sq feet? I’d consider that a deal.

    • anon

      my 900 sq ft renovated 1 bedroom w/ washer dryer several blocks closer to boundary stone etc for $1400 disagrees with you. granted, I pay my own utilities, but internet, cable, and electric come out to around $200/month when electric is highest.

    • MR

      “Very reasonable”? Are you the owner? Check craigslist and then let me know your thoughts.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe the landlords should recharacterize the off-street parking from “negotiable” to “included.”

  • Anonymous

    New buyers = highest PITI in the neighborhood.
    I like renting from people who have owned their place for 10+ years. They are not looking to set any comps and rarely are they price sensitive.

  • Logan Resident

    I live in a rent controlled basement studio in Logan Circle and pay $1100 a month (no utilities or laundry in bldg). I know I have a few but I find this laughably overpriced. Do people think the rental market has peaked in DC? I think it has.

    • Logan Resident

      Have a deal*

  • Melania

    Am I the only one that is super sad that ya’ll know what it’s like living in a basement?

    • anon1

      If you wanna live by yourself in this city and don’t make a whole lot of money/don’t want to spend most of your income on rent, a basement unit is your best bet. I’ve lived in three basement apartments over the years and would take them any day over an above-ground room in a group house at the same rate, but that’s just me.

    • Anon

      Some of us have mortgage-sized student loan payments. I’m thankful for my affordable, nice basement unit.

  • figby

    I wouldn’t really feel safe on the ground floor with no bars on the windows (in pretty much any neighborhood).

  • anon

    It’s true that if you account for all utilities, TV and wifi, that would be a few hundred dollars right there. So this might still be a little overpriced, but not by a huge amount. 800 sf is pretty large for a 1 bedroom.

  • TAWL

    Super overpriced. Two years ago I moved out of a basement at 14th and R (right next to “The Mission”, which was a homeless shelter when I moved in). It was in one of those huge 4 story Victorian rowhouses that are all over Logan Circle. Unlike this apartment, it had four full height windows in the bay, wood parquet floors, recessed lighting, none of those weird soffits, a built-in bookcase/hutch, a non-working fireplace (so a nice mantle), a separate dining area, an updated kitchen, and our own washer/dryer. The apartment was probably about 850 sf and all utilities but electric were included (even cable and internet). I paid $2150 living there…so MUCH better location, even two years ago, and a better, more charming space overall. This is a rip-off in my mind.

  • me

    It’s a nice place, but I can’t imagine anyone would pay it, unless they really want to live there. Someone with $2K for a 1 bedroom apartment can get something better.


Subscribe to our mailing list