If you are thinking of making a housing switch over the winter break, be careful if you’re using popular online listing sites like www.craigslist.com. While many landlords may be licensed, it is important that you ask to see the license. Unlicensed rentals have not been passed city inspection, may be dangerous and they’re illegal. These sites are great, but what they don’t do is filter. Anyone can post whatever they want without any recourse.
The reason the District of Columbia requires landlords to get licensed is that for the license to be approved, the landlord needs to have an inspection of the property. Are there two exits in case there’s a fire? Is there smoke alarms? Does the plumbing leak? Here is a list of just the simple items we look for. You can print and take that list with you when you check out the place.
We know you’ll be in a rush to get into something. But please, please at least ask your potential landlord if he is licensed. Or you can look up all licensed rental properties through our main Website here. There is a guide that shows you what type of rental license you need to be looking for. If your potential apartment isn’t listing, ask the landlord why. Ask him the last time it was inspected. Show him the checklist. This sounds annoying, we know. But you are going to sleep in someone’s house you don’t know and if he can’t answer simple questions, then how he will respond later. Just something to think about.