WEB EXCLUSIVE: Housing crunch fails to surprise some

Local apartment building employees said this year’s Foggy Bottom housing crunch is no different than past years, although students may think there is a housing shortage in the area. Some apartments around campus remain available, and apartment management said students should be persistent in their efforts to find housing.

The Statesman at 2020 F St. currently has no apartments available, and building managers said no spots will be opening in the building until October. The Statesman maintains a waiting list for the building, which consists mostly of efficiencies and one-bedroom apartments. The average size of an apartment is 700 square feet, and the average cost is $1,275 a month.

“Start looking early,” said Shaun Taylor, an employee of the building’s leasing office. “Start looking in January if you need an apartment in August.” Taylor said searching for housing in the Foggy Bottom area is “always bad.”

Potomac Park, located at 510 21st St., had one studio apartment at $805 a month available Friday. The apartment is a 200-square foot unit, with a full refrigerator and an open kitchen area. At Potomac Park, studios are smaller than efficiencies because they have an open kitchen area, while efficiencies have closed kitchens. Other apartments use the terms studio and efficiency interchangeably.

Efficiencies are the most commonly found apartments in Potomac Park, with an average size of about 400 square feet. Apartments are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and building officials said interested students looking for rooms should call daily to check for openings.

“Even be prepared to take an apartment without even looking at it,” said Avie Rockmaker, who works in the building’s property management office. Rockmaker said space will open up suddenly and students should seize the opportunity when it opens because spaces are usually claimed quickly.

Potomac Park requires an application form with a $35 fee. Rockmaker said students should apply with income documentation for all people who plan to live in the room.

The York at 532 20th St. currently has no space available.

“Apartments open up after a 30-day notification period that is given at the first of the month,” said Robin Collins, who works in the building’s leasing office. Collins said some residents bypass this policy by calling daily to check for openings.

In The York, studio apartments cost $805 to $829 a month, efficiencies costs $825 to $1150, one-bedroom apartments between $1334 and $1745 and two-bedroom apartments between $1901 to $1995. There is a $35 application fee.

“Some prospects even call every half hour,” Collins said. “You just don’t know when something will become available.”

The Empire at 2000 F St. also has no apartments available, but space opens at the end of every month, said an employee in the rental office. The most common types of apartments in this building are studios, which cost an average of $770 a month.

Buildings like the Claridge House at 950 25th St., The President at 2141 I St., BonWit Plaza at 2401 H St. and Potomac Park Terraces at 730 24th St. are considered co-operational buildings and do not have leasing offices. Current residents of the building advertise openings in newspapers and list availability in books at the front desk. Owners of the rooms are responsible for finding renters.

Because The President has only condominiums, building management could not cite any specific rates for their rooms but said the most common types of apartments were one bedrooms and efficiencies.

Employees of Potomac Park Terraces said a few vacancies were available, including an efficiency apartment and a one-bedroom apartment. The building offers students a book of available spaces.

BonWit Plaza has a total of 115 units, ranging from efficiencies to two-

Senior Chris Hartwell, a resident of the Claridge House, said he found an apartment in the neighborhood by “knowing people and networking the area.” When he had to find housing last minute this year, Hartwell said he searched on the internet and in the newspaper, sent e-mails, talked to friends and searched “a lot of avenues before something finally broke.”

Although many GW students said they are disheartened by the prospect of not having a place to live for next year, some said they are still confident they will find housing.

Rising junior Sohum Mehta said he feels like he’s “been forced to look off campus” by this year’s housing selection, which left most rising juniors without housing. Mehta said he hopes his spot on the guaranteed waiting list will provide him with on-campus housing.

“I haven’t really been looking very hard right now,” he said. “If it has to be found, I’ll find it.”

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