RENTING 101: Renting an Apartment

There are a ton of apartment and rental communities in our area, but for the benefit of first timers or those new to our area, I am generalizing a bit here to get you familiar with the marketplace.

WHAT’S AVAILABLE:   In the Dulles area, renting from a rental community usually means leasing an apartment.  These are usually garden style (walk up) 3 or 4 story buildings with balconies and open breezeways.  You may also find some mid and hi rise apartment communities as well (5 or more stories) which usually have elevators.  There are very few rental townhome communities in our area; most of them are older.


  • Convenient leasing experience.  Usually have onsite leasing offices which are open 7 days a week.  You can stop by most days to see an apartment without a scheduled appointment.
  • Application approval is faster and more streamlined, you might even get approved the day you apply.
  • Because there’s always another similar home available, you can often reserve an apartment well in advance or even find a home that you can move into within a day or so.
  • It’s first come, first served.  They will not take a second application on the home you selected, they will reserve it for you.
  • Deposits are usually lower, reducing the cost to move.
  • Flexible qualifying criteria which is pretty black and white – not sure if you meet the criteria?  They can probably tell you before you submit an application.
  • Flexible moving dates and times.
  • Concierge like services and resort like amenities and planned resident activities – the higher the rent, the more of these things you will have.
  • Properties built since 1989 will have “accessible” apartments.
  • Onsite maintenance, most minor issues are repaired within a day or two, major issues are addressed immediately, even after hours.
  • Routine maintenance and exterior maintenance is a service provided.
  • Shorter lease terms and easier lease termination policies.
  • Usually offer furnished apartments.
  • Most allow most household pets (dogs, cats, caged animals), in exchange for a deposit and monthly fee.
  • Will usually work with corporate billing or insurance paid housing.
  • May work with tenant assistance programs like Section 8.


  • High density housing (apartments).
  • Common problems include lack of parking and transient neighbors.
  • Rarely have homes larger than 3 bedrooms, 1-2 bedroom homes are the most commonly offered.
  • No private grilling areas or yards.
  • They don’t always offer to pay your Tenant Agent, if you have one.
  • Rarely negotiate lease terms beyond their standard options.

I recommend this type of arrangement for people with small households, those who travel alot, who need a lease shorter than a year, who may get relocated or want to buy a house in the coming year, people who need to move in quickly, people with blemished or non-traditional credit or income, or for someone who has never lived on their own before.

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