Edited questions from Apartment Life, Sara Gebhardt's online discussion about rental issues.
Q Honolulu: I'm moving to D.C. soon, and I heard it was cold (at least in comparison to where I live now) in the winter. Do the apartments there get warm enough? I am worried about gas prices, too, so I am trying to figure out what kind of place to look for without freezing to death. I know it's early to ask this, but I like to be prepared.
A I'll pose this to our readers, but, yes, in my opinion, apartments are warm enough in the winter. I am not sure how our indoor temperatures compare to Honolulu's outdoor environment, but my guess is you'll manage. You may want to look for apartments with utilities included or electric (not gas) heating systems. Heat and air conditioning can get expensive, obviously, but there are ways to save.
Adams Morgan: I hear heating bills will be going up this year. My utilities are included in my rent. Can my rent go up midyear?
It depends on the details of your lease. In most cases, if you're in a 12-month lease, not month to month, your rent cannot increase until the lease terminates.
About heat: radiators! I've never been cold in an apartment with old-fashioned radiators, and I've never paid for heat in such an apartment either.
That's exactly what I was thinking.
New York: Heating expenses are included in my building, but I cannot adjust the temperature, and I am always freezing. I'd suggest looking for a place where you can control the heat yourself.
Everyone has a different view of heating, just as some people are cold or hot by nature. Often, people are too warm or too cold in temperature-controlled buildings. If you're looking for a place in a temperature-controlled complex, it would help to ask many residents how they feel about the temperature.
Sara Gebhardt's Apartment Life column appears biweekly in this section, and her Web chat appears monthly on www.washingtonpost.com.