DC Renters, What Can’t You Live Without?

by UrbanTurf Staff


A friend of UrbanTurf’s recently told us that when he was looking for a new place to rent a few months ago, the feature that he wanted most was an in-unit washer/dryer. In fact, it got to the point where he wouldn’t even consider a place without one.

Given the tightness of DC’s rental market, we imagine that most folks out there looking for a place are willing to make compromises, but our friend’s criteria did pique our curiosity to see what our readers can’t live without when they are shopping for a rental (price and location aside).

All you renters out there, choose from the list below (or add your own) and let us know in the comments what you absolutely couldn’t live without in your apartment.

  • Parking space
  • In-unit washer/dryer
  • Dishwasher
  • Central A/C
  • Building gym
  • Pool
  • Rooftop deck
  • Doorman
  • Pet friendly

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dc_renters_what_cant_you_live_without/3174


  1. TwinkleT said at 3:42 pm on Wednesday March 16, 2011:

    Walking access to Metro

  1. gg said at 3:50 pm on Wednesday March 16, 2011:

    Washer dryer

  1. Mike said at 3:57 pm on Wednesday March 16, 2011:

    since I have pets, Pet Friendly

    But amenities-wise, washer and dryer.

  1. Kel said at 4:06 pm on Wednesday March 16, 2011:

    Access to public transit.

  1. Wendy said at 4:20 pm on Wednesday March 16, 2011:

    Pet-friendly, in-unit washer and dryer, and a bathtub are my must-haves.

  1. Paul said at 4:23 pm on Wednesday March 16, 2011:

    Excluding dorms in college I’ve never lived anywhere without W/D. Don’t have any interest in ever bucking that trend.

    The more interesting exercise is rank ordering. Most to Least:

    In-unit washer/dryer
    Central A/C
    Parking space
    Rooftop deck
    Pet friendly
    Building gym

    I only care about the doorman we have at my building for purposes accepting packages from UPS. At a very large building thats practically a must. But at a medium or boutique building other methods of allowing UPS deliveries can be worked out logistically.

  1. Kate said at 4:44 pm on Wednesday March 16, 2011:

    Washer/Dryer is the most important.  I immediately dismissed any unit I looked at if it didn’t have a W/D. Central AC is the next requirement as I don’t trust window units to work consistently nor landlords to fix them. Parking in most neighborhoods can be found on the street, so that’s not necessary, but definitely a perk if it’s included. The rest for me I can (and either do or have gone) without.

  1. Kate said at 4:51 pm on Wednesday March 16, 2011:

    * allows cats
    * close to transit
    * ability to receive packages
    * dishwasher

    The first two are deal breakers.  The others are just ranking factors.

  1. jag said at 5:21 pm on Wednesday March 16, 2011:

    1. Walking distance to restaurants/bars/metro
    2. Central A/C - I’ll never go back to a window unit.

  1. Diane said at 5:24 pm on Wednesday March 16, 2011:

    Location (and, in my mind, that includes transit access) aside, my must-haves are: SMOKE FREE (my home life was so disrupted when a smoker moved in next door at my last rental that I never want to go through that again), private outdoor space (a small balcony is fine), and on complex laundry. 

    After that, it would be nice to have a dishwasher. (and, I don’t really mind shared laundry but if there were no stairs or trip outside involved to get there, that would be a big plus) 

    I should add that I’m not a renter anymore, but that’s partly because there wasn’t anything in the existing apartment rental market that met what we wanted.  425 Mass (Mount Vernon Triangle) and Millenium at Metropolitian Park (Pentagon City) are so crazy expensive that it made more sense financially to buy a townhouse in our preferred neighborhood.  (we could have looked at renting a TH but that has its own uncertainties—will landlord decide to sell or be foreclosed on or be horrible with maintenance, etc.)

  1. B J Larkin said at 6:07 pm on Wednesday March 16, 2011:

    I’m surprised that Smoke Free is not on your list of amenities without which one would not rent. I can’t imagine willingly moving into an apartment where I had to live with second hand smoke.

  1. Rob said at 8:58 pm on Wednesday March 16, 2011:

    Smoke-free ranks higher on my list than almost all of the others.  But so few buildings are smoke-free.  Why don’t more buildings go smoke-free?

  1. Lucia said at 9:20 pm on Wednesday March 16, 2011:

    Reliable public transit; oven.

  1. Dean said at 12:41 pm on Thursday March 17, 2011:

    Access to Metro used to be huge for me, less so now that I’m comfortable with buses.  Having outdoor space is now my #1.  Either a balcony, patio, or roof deck.  Even though it’s only useful half the year, can’t go without.

    The other thing would be sunlight.  A year in a poorly lit basement proved that I completely took it for granted.

  1. Banxi said at 2:17 pm on Thursday March 17, 2011:

    Impossible for me to decide among smoke-free, proximity to Metro, and central AC as my top choice.

    There was a time when in-unit washer/dryer would have been in the tie for first place, but I’ve been living with a common laundry room for 12 years now, and it hasn’t been as much of a pain as I thought it would be.  At least I can do two or three loads at one time and be done with my laundry in 90 minutes.  Having said that, no on-site laundry facilities at all and having to go to a laundromat would absolutely be a dealbreaker for me.

  1. scipio said at 4:32 pm on Thursday March 17, 2011:

    What about proximity to a grocery store?  I find being within a 5-7 minute walk is great, especially if you do not have a car.

Comments are closed.

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »


Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »

Upcoming Seminars ▾