UT Reader Asks: Are DC Residents Seeing Big Rent Hikes in 2012?

by UrbanTurf Staff


In this week’s installment of UrbanTurf Reader Asks, a DC resident whose building is increasing his rent significantly wonders if other renters in the city are experiencing a similar hike.

I was wondering what kind of rent hikes UrbanTurf readers are seeing in 2012. I live in a building in Mount Vernon Triangle, and just received my 2012 rent renewal offer. I was shocked to see an 8 percent hike on top of a healthy 5 percent increase last year.  Meanwhile, apartment inventory is going up through the roof in this area! I intend on negotiating with the building, but was just curious if any others are seeing significant increases.

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This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/ut_reader_asks_are_dc_residents_seeing_big_hikes_in_rent_in_2012/5279


  1. Sarah said at 3:04 pm on Tuesday March 13, 2012:

    8 percent seems quite high, although my rent was bumped up by 6 percent two months ago. Hopefully your landlord is willing to negotiate.

  1. BW said at 3:14 pm on Tuesday March 13, 2012:

    Do you have a copy of your lease? It seems like there should be something about maximum percentage increases in it.

  1. Jay said at 3:20 pm on Tuesday March 13, 2012:

    I live at 1301 Thomas Circle, formerly known as the Jefferson Thomas Circle. My Sept. 2010 lease for a 2 bed was for 3240 (2970 after the first year incentive they gave), which Jefferson hiked to 3395 in Sept. 2011. I just moved to a 1 bed in the same building and discovered that the new owner/management is asking 3716 for the same apartment! Outrageous - a year and a half, and the building will be getting over 25% more for the same unit. I wonder how I’m being gouged on my 1 bed…

  1. Barry said at 3:49 pm on Tuesday March 13, 2012:

    I rented a cute junior studio in Dupont (16th & Q) from 2008-2012 and experienced an average 5-7% increase annually.

    2008 - $949 move-in special
    2009 - 1,015
    2010 - 1,096
    2011 - 1,170
    2012 - 1,251*

    *last price increase before I moved out.

  1. Steve said at 3:58 pm on Tuesday March 13, 2012:

    I live at a new-ish luxury property at 3rd and H St NE and cleverly worded/structured leases have allowed them to raise rents 10% a year since 2009.

    You sign the lease for a much higher amount but due to “incentives” your actual rent is brought lower. 

    Kind of sucks it gets around the spirit of DC rental laws but I guess I’d do the same thing if I was the owner.

  1. Kristin said at 4:04 pm on Tuesday March 13, 2012:

    I hear your pain, but to be honest, this doesn’t surprise me at all.  The DC area has been pretty resilient with the ongoing recession and hasn’t been hit anywhere near as hard as other parts of the country over the past couple years.

    Many are flocking here in hopes of finding work.  I can vouch for this…I do temp housing/corporate apartments and there are A LOT of people relocating to this area.

    Housing market is in a slump and many are afraid to buy due to the uncertainty of the real estate market. So what other option do these folks relocating have?  Apartments! And, what better than to eliminate what’s considered the worst commute in the U.S.??  Living in the city!

    The other factor that plays into why you’re feeling this pinch…for the past few years, residential development was pretty much at a standstill, which was due to tighter lending requirements and restrictions after the real estate bubble burst and it was brought to light that shady financing deals were occurring. 

    No new inventory, an influx of folks relocating to the area= high demand, low supply.  Of course there are a plethora of old buildings to consider, but for the vast majority of professionals here, they seek a minimum of W/D in their apartment so pretty much 1/2, if not, 2/3’s of DC apartment inventory gets crossed out right there. 

    Eliminate that inventory and not much new inventory over the past few years, an 8% increase is, sorry to say, a decent rate.  Makes me sick to type that, but it is what it is.

    HOWEVER, there is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.  Good news, at least from what I’m seeing—like the real estate bubble, this rental bubble will burst too. 

    New residential projects are popping up like wild flowers in the city and surrounding areas now.  These projects have just broke ground and/or are still in the works (or even near completion by now), but once they are up and going with leasing, these existing buildings sitting pretty with their fat pockets and 8%+ increase letters will start to sweat. 

    They will have no choice but to offer better rates, lower renewal increases, etc. They will no longer be considered the “New Guys” on the block, but will be outnumbered by new “fancy” inventory and will have to succumb to the blow they set themselves up for.  There are soo many new projects popping up…I’d encourage you to explore Urban Turf’s site for the article.  They did one recently listing all the residential projects currently in the works. 

    In any case, hang tight.  This too shall pass. It’s a pain, I know, and frankly, it makes me sick to my stomach.  As a corporate housing provider, we too are seeing high increases at the managed buildings we have inventory at.  It’s shocking to see how much it is and even more so when they are offering rates LOWER to new residents/those walking in off the street vs. those that have had a lease with them for a year or more.  Sad, but true…check your apartment building’s availability online or “shop” them over the phone. 

    If their rates are pretty good on new apartment offers, transferring to another apartment may make more sense.  Stupid for the building though as they incur thousands in costs to turn the apartment and ready it for a new resident, but if it saves you $$, I’d say go for it!

  1. Rick G said at 4:21 pm on Tuesday March 13, 2012:

    Nationwide, rental increases are averaging 5-8% because of demand as well as low levels of inventory. Until the mortgage mess can get cleaned up, and there is confidence in the economy, consumers and some development projects will be having a difficult time obtaining mortgages. That being written, almost 8000 new units will be coming on the market soon in D.C., additional ones in the suburbs, and the experts project the rent bubble could burst.. a little. 

    ...Not advocating one way or the other here but.. if the rent control laws were modified to reflect untapped value (and therefore higher real estate tax assessments on some neighborhood buildings) and revised guidelines to offer help for those who need rent stability, perhaps the quality and quantity of reasonably priced rentals in DC would not be so low. Rent control has inhibited retail and job growth in some neighborhoods - This is not to write its not valuable in some ways, but it could use a review for purposes of modernizing old legislation and old apartments!

  1. Rayful Edmond said at 5:00 pm on Tuesday March 13, 2012:

    Kristin said, “Housing market is in a slump and many are afraid to buy due to the uncertainty of the real estate market.”

    The opposite is true in DC.

  1. Imalandlord said at 5:03 pm on Tuesday March 13, 2012:

    I am a landlord of a single family property in DC and I increased my tenants rent by about 7% this year. Last year I increased it by about 5%. So i guess I am staying on par with what people are saying here. To echo what has been said here, until supply really delivers (starting in 2013) and until demand tempers (once people start buying homes again given the higher rents) rental prices will continue to rise.

  1. JP said at 8:33 am on Wednesday March 14, 2012:

    We have encountered the exact same problem for the past 3 years.  You get an “incentive” rent rate, and then the following year they jack it up 5-10%.  They assume you won’t move out, but when rent goes up $200-500 a month, it’s a no-brainer to move next door. 

    If you are not willing to move every year, then buying is a pretty solid option right now.  If you are paying over $2500 to rent a two bedroom, it might be a good idea to start looking at buying. 

    We locked in a rate in a 1 bedroom Logan Circle for $2000 a month plus $200 for parking.  Within 1.5 years, our monthly rate jumped to $2400 plus $250 for parking.  $2600 a month was the tipping point for us.  At that price point, it was obvious that buying was a much better deal.  After factoring in the mortgage interest tax deduction, $2600 a month is equivalent to $550k mortgage.  No way in hell does a 1 bedroom in logan sell for over $600k. 

    Bottom line, renting near downtown DC is an unwise move if you plan on being in a city for 5 years plus.

  1. StringsAttached said at 11:52 pm on Wednesday March 14, 2012:

    Want a nice apartment in a high demand area? Get ready to pay for it grin

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