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If you come to the NIH for an interview before joining officially, you can start looking for an apartment at that time. If you join NIH directly, then one usually stays with friends for a week or so while looking for a place.

Renting a place from abroad

This involves risks. Rude surprises may be in the form of an apartment advertised as furnished but being actually unfurnished, or the apartment being located much further away from public transport access than advertised. Do not sign anything before knowing the exact date of your arrival because your dues will be calculated from the date of your signing and not from when you actually take up residence there.

Renting a place after joining

It usually takes about 2-3 months to find an apartment in one of the complexes close to NIH. Choose an apartment that you can lease for a period of six months or less so that you can move out easily if it is not satisfactory. If you move out before your lease is up, you may have to pay considerable dues to the proprietor or the agency. Some agencies, particularly in DC area do not demand a minimum lease period.

In the area around NIH, it is difficult to rent a room for < $600, a studio < $800, a one-bed room < $ 1200 and a house $1500. If you find something cheaper please inform us.

An alternative to renting an apartment is renting a room in a house or sharing the rent of a house with several other renters. Such arrangements usually do not require a minimum lease period, but they do carry certain risks. Such arrangements require you to depend on the honesty on the part of the owner. Usually, contracts are not involved in such arrangements. Therefore, you should be careful to ask for and receive a receipt if you pay your rent in cash or traveler's cheques. If you choose to rent a room in a house, it is preferable that you choose a situation involving other renters so that you are not isolated incase there are problems.

The Recreation and Welfare Association (R&W) has a list of places to rent that is updated twice a month ( You can also find places to rent in the Washington city paper (, Washington post ( The Gazette and the Showcase.

The least risky option is to approach a rental agency rather than an individual. Usually utilities like gas, electricity are included in the rent bill and the agency takes care of routine maintenance. Most apartment complexes are owned by private societies and they have a rental office, directly or on the phone. Most complexes require you to pay a non-reimbursable fee (~$30) to reserve an apartment. In addition, when you sign the lease, you may be required to pay a reimbursable deposit approximately $500.

Useful website: (

Free Guides: Apartment Showcase at entrances to the Metro.

In Bethesda: apartments on Battery Lane

In Rockville: Halpine, Rollins, Congressional, Woodmont.

You can also use Realtors to find an apartment. They are paid a commission by the renters so many complexes/agencies don't use their services. One such realtor company is located in Bethesda at the corner of Woodmont Avenue and Old Georgetown Road. Be sure to ask your renter if you require to take a Renter's Insurance.


It is very expensive to rent a furnished apartment. However, if you are open to share a house with others you can find an afordable furnished home.

Used furniture

"Moving sales" notices are displayed at the NIH bulletin boards (Bldg.10, 31, 37, etc) and also at the NIH fellows site (NIH Fellows MRE). You can also buy furniture at Yard sales and Garage Sales which are held a lot in spring and summer. You can see notices for these stuck at various intersections or posted on poles along the roadside or in the Washington Post.

New furniture

IKEA (location in College Park) sells cheap, easy to assemble, light furniture. Other places include Montgomery Mall (by car, take Old Georgetown Road then Democracy Blvd; by bus, J1 or J2 from Bethesda or Medical Center, many shops on Rockville Pike between Twinbrook Pkwy and Rockville metro stations.


Circuit City (online), Best Buy, CompUSA, Radioshack, Staples. You can check online and most likely you will find a better deal.

Adapters for use in India: Sam & Raj, Indian stores in MD and VA.



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