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Posted at 11:31 AM ET, 12/21/2010

Tough rent for D.C. residents: Are you struggling with high rates? (#dcrent)

By Elizabeth Flock
height
Two efficency apartments that were for rent at Roberta Apartments in Chevy Chase. (Katherine Frey)

It's tough to be a renter in this town. Consider this:

--Rental prices have surged 22 percent in 2009 from a decade earlier.
--Our median rent last year was a whopping $1,190, the third highest among the country's largest metropolitan areas
--In local apartment buildings, spaces are disappearing. Only New York has fewer vacancies. Disappearing space might have something to do with the census announcement today that D.C.'s population has passed 600,000, marking the 1st increase since Truman administration.

Those facts leave newcomers to DC with sticker shock, others with no options at all. On our story "D.C. area's renters are caught in squeeze", readers expressed their frustration:

Silly_Willy_Bulldog wrote:
Good luck paying 4,500 rent. Enjoy Ruby Tuesday on the remaining $.

tcs1999 wrote:
Renters were shut out of the federal economic stimulus package. Yet renters are the neediest of all - more than homebuyers who got tax breaks, for sure.

Some readers even connected over possible places to live:

socal_kim75 wrote:
I am renting a 1-br in Georgetown in the $2k range. I checked housing costs on Craigslist and it occurred to me that it would be cheaper for me to live in Beverly Hills or Manhattan.

NoDonkey wrote:
socal_kim75 - I have a 2 bedroom in Rosslyn Heights, with parking and quick access to Rosslyn Metro, walkable to Georgetown in 20 minutes, I'm renting out for $1600 (includes utilities).

How much do you pay for your rent? How does it compare to your last apartment? Is the rent too high in this town? Let us know--write it in the comments section or send us a tweet using the hashtag #dcrent.

You DCers are aDORable. Try NYC RT @washingtonpost - On #dcrent: Is it really cheaper to live in Beverly Hills? http://wapo.st/eKvyqvless than a minute ago via web

i literally spend over a third of my yearly income on #dcrent. i am pretty sure that's not how it's supposed to go.less than a minute ago via Echofon

Moved to NOVA in Sept, $1800 for 2bd 2br..the commute is rough sometimes, but so much cheaper than DC rent! @postlocal #dcrentless than a minute ago via web

@postlocal Moving to DC from Lincoln, NE, at the end of the month. Reactions are priceless when I tell family/friends about #dcrent!less than a minute ago via Twitter for Android

By Elizabeth Flock  | December 21, 2010; 11:31 AM ET
Categories:  DC, Elizabeth Flock  
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Comments

I just had my rent raisied from $1000 a month to $1200 a month out in Silver Spring. Montgomery County has NO rent control and it stinks. The cost of living in the DC metro area is a joke. Yes I love the lifestyle but you can go broke trying to afford it.

Posted by: magic4mvp | December 21, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I've lived in Cambridge, MA, New York, NY, and now DC, and my brother lives in Los Angeles. I think that the rent in DC is pretty on-par with Los Angeles and Boston. NYC is definitely more expensive when you are comparing similar neighborhoods.

I lived in a 400sq ft. studio in a doorman bldg. in the East Village in NYC and paid a little over $2k a month. When I moved to DC, I thought it was cheap here, and this was to live in Dupont!

I rented a 1br in Dupont and paid the same as my brother pays to rent a 1br in West Hollywood, CA.

Posted by: aeg81 | December 21, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, my rent is a little steep, but honestly, I can't complain. I've thought about looking into buying a house, but the numbers just don't add up, unless I move to BFE in Manassas or Haymarket (or further). And of course, I'd then have a lovely 1.5 hour commute each way.

As it stands, I live in Rosslyn, can walk to everything I need, jump on the metro to work, and if anything goes wrong in my place, one phone call and it's fixed.

Future homeowners always seem to forget about the added costs they will face. It's not just the mortgage & down payment, folks: Don't forget you've got property taxes, homeowners insurance, and condo fees (if you're in a condo, obviously). And of course, if something breaks, you're on your own. Want to take a guess at what a new HVAC unit, hot water heater, or whole new roof will cost you?

No thanks: I'm happy to pay the extra $ for the convenience and peace of mind. Yes my place isn't that big, but at the end of the day, how much space do I REALLY need?

Posted by: Kiffee | December 21, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm so confused.

22% increase over 10 years? ignoring compounding, that's 2.2% per year?

so your $1,000 apartment may have been hit with a $22/mo rent increase? mmmmmmkay.

how much have property taxes and utilities increased over the same period?

i'm about to channel my father when i say that kids nowadays are spoiled! there are PLENTY of affordable units in and around DC.

Unfortunately, those don't have easy access to the best bars and restaurants or the best transportation access or underground parking or granite or in-unit washer/dryers.

people who make a ton of money can afford to pay a lot of rent, so they get to live in the best parts of town.

those who don't make a lot have to live in less desirable areas.

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | December 21, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm so confused.

22% increase over 10 years? ignoring compounding, that's 2.2% per year?

so your $1,000 apartment may have been hit with a $22/mo rent increase? mmmmmmkay.

how much have property taxes and utilities increased over the same period?

i'm about to channel my father when i say that kids nowadays are spoiled! there are PLENTY of affordable units in and around DC.

Unfortunately, those don't have easy access to the best bars and restaurants or the best transportation access or underground parking or granite or in-unit washer/dryers.

people who make a ton of money can afford to pay a lot of rent, so they get to live in the best parts of town.

those who don't make a lot have to live in less desirable areas.

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | December 21, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I pay 1,009 for a small one bedroom in Alexandria only because I have lived there since 1982. I have been a good tenant and some times the management company will negotiate increases. I recently signed an 11 month lease. At the end of the 11th month my increase will go to $60. We pay for heat, electric, water, sewer, and trash pick up including a billing fee which is $3.50 per month. The fee keeps going up. All of theses things are in addition to the rent. What can you do?? My back is against a brick wall. It is a fairly decent neighborhood and plenty of parking. I cannot afford to move to a larger place.

Posted by: bdette202 | December 21, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I pay 1,009 for a small one bedroom in Alexandria only because I have lived there since 1982. I have been a good tenant and some times the management company will negotiate increases. I recently signed an 11 month lease. At the end of the 11th month my increase will go to $60. We pay for heat, electric, water, sewer, and trash pick up including a billing fee which is $3.50 per month. The fee keeps going up. All of theses things are in addition to the rent. What can you do?? My back is against a brick wall. It is a fairly decent neighborhood and plenty of parking. I cannot afford to move to a larger place.

Posted by: bdette202 | December 21, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

i've been paying over $2000 since 2007 and it seems to have stabilized in that range.

Posted by: rufkd | December 21, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I am so glad I didn't take that Job in DC!

Posted by: rexreddy | December 21, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Cut the size of Government and Government contractors.
That will create vacancies and lower rents.
Rent increases show too many economic resources are concentrated in DC.

Posted by: jfv123 | December 21, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

If all the transients would just stay away or go home, this wouldn't happen. Go back to the place you are from, leave DC to the natives.

Posted by: scoran | December 21, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I am so glad I didn't take that Job in DC!

Posted by: rexreddy | December 21, 2010 2:33 PM

Then WTF you on the WaPo Local METRO Website....you MoFo Liar.....STAMPED...

Posted by: 4thFloor | December 21, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Hey NoDonkey wrote:
socal_kim75 - I have a 2 bedroom in Rosslyn Heights, with parking and quick access to Rosslyn Metro, walkable to Georgetown in 20 minutes, I'm renting out for $1600 (includes utilities).

Would you consider selling this place next year, Hey NoDonkey? We're looking to buy a place in N. Arlington and need a two bedroom.

Posted by: JaneDoe4 | December 21, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Hey NoDonkey wrote:
socal_kim75 - I have a 2 bedroom in Rosslyn Heights, with parking and quick access to Rosslyn Metro, walkable to Georgetown in 20 minutes, I'm renting out for $1600 (includes utilities).

Would you consider selling this place next year, Hey NoDonkey? We're looking to buy a place in N. Arlington and need a two bedroom.

Posted by: JaneDoe4 | December 21, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

"Hey NoDonkey wrote:
socal_kim75 - I have a 2 bedroom in Rosslyn Heights, with parking and quick access to Rosslyn Metro, walkable to Georgetown in 20 minutes, I'm renting out for $1600 (includes utilities)."

Would you consider selling this place next year, Hey NoDonkey? Husband and I are looking to buy a place in N. Arlington and need a two bedroom.

Posted by: JaneDoe4 | December 21, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Sticker shock was a reality for me when I moved here last year from the south. I grew up in the dc exurbs but still wasn't prepared for the realities of finding an affordable place to live on short notice. I pay $950, which is downright cheap for this area, but I lack a kitchen (oh how I miss having a dishwasher) and my commute is about an hour. I'd like to move but prefer to keep my rent at 35 percent or less of my take-home salary. As a gs 12, it is frustrating that my options are so limited. I like my job but want to find one in another part of the country mainly because I'm tired of the expense and traffic in the DC area.

Posted by: js2225 | December 21, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

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