Edited questions from Apartment Life, Sara Gebhardt's online discussion about rental issues.
QMcLean: Do I really need to give my landlord a certain amount of notice before moving out? A A lease agreement mandates that you give notice, whether that's 30 or 60 days. If you pay the last month's rent, it will still take your landlord time to prepare the apartment for another tenant. Without notice, your landlord will not know how to make such preparations and may assume that you are not intending to leave.
Washington: I own a brick rowhouse in a quiet neighborhood that's convenient to Rock Creek Park and several bus lines. How do I determine how much rent to charge for a basement unit ? Also, how do I learn what the D.C. code is regarding basement rentals?
The best way to find out the going rate for basement apartments in your neighborhood is to find out what other people are paying to rent a similar space. Obviously, you want your tenant to pay for the costs you are putting forth for that space, too. The D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs' Housing Regulation Administration regulates the D.C. housing code. You can access the city's code on the Internet or get a brochure about rental laws from the regulatory office. Start by going to dcra.dc.gov.
Washington: I live in a fairly large apartment complex, with as best as I can tell quite a large management staff. What is a reasonable amount of time to expect action to be taken on non-urgent repair requests?
Non-urgent repairs should be made within a few weeks. Usually with a large complex with a large staff, though, repairs happen much more quickly, even minor ones. How quickly you annoy them is another story entirely.
Sara Gebhardt's Apartment Life column appears biweekly in this section, and her Web chat appears monthly on www.washingtonpost.com. The next chat is scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday.