5 Things You Should Know Before Renting in DC

Nashville Heights Majesty

Living in the nation’s capital is a one-of-a-kind experience that makes inhabitants feel like part of a select club. Whether you were born in Washington, DC, or have recently relocated here, you are most likely making the most of your time in this great city.

Why Washington, D.C.?

It’s all about the nightlife! It also has something to do with the proximity to political intrigue. The individuals in the city are diversified and well-educated. If you aren’t already smitten with D.C.’s liveliness, you will be once you move here. If you feel disheartened, remember your beautiful reasons for migrating to the nation’s capital, and know that your perfect apartment is out there. Of course, there could be challenges, such as locating your dream apartment and applying for rentals or finding roommates in D.C.

  1. Budget

A person’s first impression is also the final impression. When it comes to renting a room in DC, your budget influences initial impressions. For example, assume you are the property owner, and you are tasked with selecting the best possible renter from a pool of 10 applicants. What would create the best “impression” on you in securing recurrent payments?

Without question, one of the essential variables in renting an apartment is money, which is primarily reliant on your salary. DC is no different. You must demonstrate that you have a consistent income sufficient to afford the rent for your proposed apartment. Showing payslips from your company is an excellent method to do this, which is usually not a choice but a required one. You may also offer bank statements to accomplish the same goal. It is important to note that in DC, an income of at least three times the monthly rent is required.

  1. Checking the background

Most property owners in Washington, DC, want to rent their property to someone with no criminal experience. You may, however, select whether or not to allow a background check on you because DC law prevents property owners from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal past before making a conditional offer of residence to the applicant. Indeed, property owners may only do a background check on roommates if they sign a consent form, which may be included in rental application forms.

If applicants feel a housing provider has broken the restriction, they may submit a complaint with DC’s Office of Human Rights. However, there are a few outliers in DC, such as:

  • When DC law compels housing providers to examine the criminal history or allows for applicant refusal based on specific criminal convictions.
  • If the landlord resides and lives on the property, there are three or fewer rental units.

Property owners are also prohibited from requiring the revelation of any pending criminal allegations of a person under 18 who will live in the rental property. However, a landlord may reject your application if you have a pending criminal charge or a criminal conviction for a crime committed within the last seven years, such as arson, sexual abuse, robbery, burglary, assault, fraud, forgery, abduction, or murder.

Also Read: How the Detroit Housing Market Has Changed During the Pandemic

  1. Application for rent

Before signing a long-term lease agreement, most DC property owners utilize a rental application form to examine potential renters. Before accepting an application or its fee, housing providers in DC are obliged by law to send the following written notices to applicants:

  • All qualifying criteria utilized to determine whether or not to rent to the applicant include job, financial, criminal, and rental history.
  • A declaration stating that candidates may submit proof of mistakes on their rehabilitation, criminal record, or other mitigating considerations.

Rental applications typically require you to provide a government-issued ID, social paystubs, security number, bank statements, letters of recommendation from previous property owners, your rental history, information on other potential occupants of the apartment, and information on your current and prior employers. You may exhibit your talents and stand out among other possible roommates in DC who fill out rental applications by completing a rental application form.

Keep in mind that in DC, rental application costs are non-refundable even if the application is refused, and there is no maximum amount that property owners can collect for application fees. In addition, property owners in DC are prohibited from discriminating against applicants based on the protected category they belong to, including color, age, sexual orientation, family status, gender, source of income, and gender identity. Property owners can reject applications that do not satisfy their requirements, but this must not be construed as discrimination.

  1. Security amount

According to District legislation, property owners may charge roommates a security amount of up to one month’s rent. As a result, make a budget for this additional cost. Security deposits must be retained in an interest-bearing account and remitted to the renter in addition to the interest. It must be returned to the renter within 45 days of the lease’s expiration. According to the District of Columbia Code, the Office of Administrative Hearings is empowered to hear complaints about non-payment of rental security amount and non-payment of interest on these amounts under section 2908 of the Housing Regulations of the District of Columbia.

  1. Guarantor

Some property owners ask you to obtain a guarantor for the lease to ensure the payment of monthly rents, especially if you have a low income or bad credit. Your guarantor is someone who will be responsible for your rental fee if you, the principal debtor, fail to make one or more monthly payments. In addition, they should be informed that they, together with you, will be sued by your property owner if none of you pays the rent.

The co-signer must also demonstrate that they have a sufficient income to cover your rent. In DC, the guarantor is sometimes required to earn more than the renter. However, they do not need to reside in DC. Even if your landlord does not want one, you might consider supplying a guarantor for your lease. It will improve your chances of getting a flat. Before embarking on your quest to discover the apartment of your dreams, perhaps seek a very wonderful friend or family member who is willing to make this sacrifice for you!

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