Edited questions from Apartment Life, Sara Gebhardt's online discussion about rental issues.
QDupont Circle: This is not your problem or anything, but my girlfriend kicked me out of our apartment last night. (Long story short: She discovered I've been seeing one of her friends on the side.) Okay, I'm a louse. I get that. But seriously, do I deserve to become homeless over it? I'll probably get a place to stay lined up by the end of the week (not with the other girl, if you're wondering), but what am I supposed to do for the next two nights? It's not like anybody can afford a hotel in this town. Any suggestions on emergency places to stay that won't involve a soup line? There have got to be other indigents like me who have been thrown out of their apartments by girlfriends, right?
AYou're right, it's not my problem, thankfully. I hesitate to suggest you stay with the other girl in your desperate moment, so maybe you should find some other friend who has a couch for you to crash on. There is a youth hostel in the District and there are also plenty of cheap motels/hotels outside of the city where you could rest your head. Or you could do what a lot of unfaithful indigents like you do when stuck in your situation: Stay out all night or sleep at work, shower at the gym or at work, and hope nobody smells you or notices your wrinkles.
Washington: I know you've answered this at least a dozen times, but in the District, how long does my landlord have to return whatever I'm getting back from my security deposit?
Your landlord has 45 days to return your security deposit or provide you with a list of itemized charges against that deposit.
Arlington: Does a landlord have to put your security deposit and other money that he has collected -- say last month's rent -- in a bank and pay interest? I have been renting a place going on four years now and had to pay a security deposit and last month's rent when I moved in. My landlord is extremely cheap and I just want to make sure I know what I am entitled to.
Whether your landlord has to put your security deposit in its own account and give you interest at the end of your tenancy depends on where you live. In Virginia, your landlord must pay you interest, but need not use a separate bank account. Security deposits in Maryland and the District receive interest and must be kept in separate bank accounts.
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 Aug. 11 at 2 p.m.