The following information may be a helpful starting point to finding housing in Washington DC for a semester-long externship.  Students are responsible for arranging their own housing.  Iowa Law does not endorse any of the organizations linked below or make any guarantees about the condition of the housing.

Housing Resources

Below are links to popular housing websites. Some are specifically marketed towards student interns.

 Popular Neighborhoods

 In the District

  • Woodley Park
  • DuPont Circle
  • Shaw
  • Capitol Hill
  • Columbia Heights
  • Adams Morgan

 DC Suburbs

  • Arlington, VA
  • Alexandria, VA
  • Bethesda, MD
  • Silver Spring, MD

Planning for Life in DC


Will you bring your vehicle to DC? If so, consider whether your housing includes a parking spot, or if there is street parking. Depending on your neighborhood, a car may not be necessary and you may be able to use a car sharing service (e.g., Zipcar) if a car is needed.


What features do you need?  What would you like to have? 

Consider whether you need a washer/dryer, dishwasher, or elevator.  If your unit does not have laundry onsite, how close are you to the local laundromat or and dry cleaner? 

Is it furnished? 

Are utilities like electricity, water, gas or internet included? 

Consider where you'd be shopping for groceries or household goods.  If you find housing located some distance from a grocery store, think about whether you can use public transit, or a grocery delivery service (e.g., Instacart or Peapod). 

Some DC neighborhoods are known for vibrant nightlife. Consider your preferences for a more busy or quiet area.

Above all, be flexible.  Keep in mind that this is a short term arrangement and that some creativity can go a long way.

A Few More Considerations

Location, location, location

Make sure to consult the metro map. Identify your field placement site and its proximity to a metro station or bus stop. Focus on neighborhoods on a direct metro line or with a minimum number of transfers to your field placement location.

Although the rent in DC can be high, finding a unit within your price range is possible! In general, rent prices decrease as you move further away from city center. Many people who work in DC live in the suburbs and commute into the city on the Metrorail. Consider finding housing in a suburban location in Northern VA (e.g., Arlington, Alexandria) or Southern Maryland (e.g., Bethesda, Silver Spring). 

Be persistent

DC is known as a “landlord’s market,” meaning that there are typically several housing applicants seeking the same unit. When applying for an apartment, keep in mind that it may take several rounds of applications before finding housing that works with the externship time frame with a landlord who will accept a short-term renter.  Start the search early!  If it an in-person walkthrough of an apartment not possible, consider arranging a video chat walkthrough with the landlord.