Selling out in the capital
November 13, 2008 6:48 PM   Subscribe

I'm considering renting my studio apartment in Washington, DC during the inauguration in January - what issues do I need to be aware of?

I was thinking of renting my place on craigslist - how much money can I ask for per night (I'm on 16th street not far from the WH) and what should I remove from my apartment before anyone comes to stay.

Should i ask for a security deposit? Should I ask people to give me a deposit up front, and what is the best way to accept that deposit? Is craigslist the best way to arrange this? Should there be a contract?

Any suggestions or ideas for what I'm not thinking about are welcome.

My apartment has a queen size bed, cable tv, and a couch that could sleep one.
Probably room for two people on the floor.
posted by chickaboo to Work & Money (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have friends who might want to be on the list? Relatives? Or do you want to make money?
posted by Lesser Shrew at 8:07 PM on November 13, 2008

I thought of doing the same thing (I'm on 12th street). Other things I thought of -
    Would you have to inform the management company of your building of what you're doing? Is this technically a sublease? Do you have spare keys that you could lend to these people?
I would only accept an upfront deposit, with either cash or check. I'm going to assume other people will post to craigslist, so we can wait and see what they're doing.
posted by ValentineMaynard at 10:16 PM on November 13, 2008

Response by poster: this would be purely a money making venture, yes.
posted by chickaboo at 12:27 AM on November 14, 2008

- make sure I had renter's insurance
- remove to someplace safe anything that I wouldn't find in a typical hotel or resort condo room (food in the kitchen may be an exception or something stipulated in writing)
- make sure they didn't have the only key, maybe even swap the regular door lock for a cheap one from the hardware store temporarily
- no personal checks, cash or money order / cashiers check, or even paypal
- security deposit isn't a bad idea, if reasonable
- clean the place thoroughly beforehand like hotel housekeeping, that includes clean sheets and towels, enough pillows and blankets available, sufficient tissues and TP, maybe some travel-size soap/shampoo from the drugstore
- advertise internet access
- leave contact numbers, personal and building superintendent, in case of problems
- if maps of the area and phone books are on-hand, leave them prominently placed
- a bonus service if vehicle is available (more cash) could be an offer to shuttle to/from airport or something as cabs are likely to be busy
posted by hungrysquirrels at 3:41 AM on November 14, 2008

Be alert that your renter's insurance would only cover normal personal use of the apartment. It would very often exclude any losses occasioned by business ventures, such as renting it out.
posted by megatherium at 4:46 AM on November 14, 2008

possibly dumb question: where would you be during this?

why not stay at your apartment with these people? at least then you know things are mostly safe. you could still fit 2-3 people in there it seems.

but maybe i'm missing something obvious.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 8:15 AM on November 14, 2008

I live two blocks from the Capitol, and I've been thinking of this, as well. A lot of people on the Hill are getting contractors to work on their basements so that they can offer housing.

You'd want to get your personal files, heirlooms, and jewelry out of your place. Just sayin'.

You might consider listing on That site might give you an idea of rates, which you could then jack up based on the historic nature and supply-demand issues attendant to the inauguration.

Such a project could be a great way to purge and declutter your stuff. Heave what you will, store the rest, deep clean, take in your lodger/s, another good cleaning, and then put your recently sorted stuff back. Use the money you make for further apartment improvements.
posted by jgirl at 8:18 AM on November 14, 2008

I think you would have a much more difficult time renting out your place if you were staying there at the same time.

Have you been monitoring the craiglist ads so far? These will give you the best idea of what people in similar situations are asking for.

Note that anticipating the high number of rentals on craigslist, etc, DC may suspend its rental rules for the duration of the inauguration. Article about the inauguration housing boom here. I'm sure that I ran across an article giving advice to people that wanted to rent out their homes for the inauguration a few days ago, but it's lost in the ephemera now; sorry.
posted by onlyconnect at 8:53 AM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Maybe check for an out of area drivers license or area code?
posted by Pants! at 11:36 AM on November 14, 2008

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