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I live in a large apartment complex that opened last year. I just moved in mid-July 2013 signing a 12-month lease. As of today, the apartment complex is about 30% occupied. There are many units available. On the apartment's website online the rent listed for my unit is now $180 less than what I am paying and they are offering two months free. Most units' rents are listed at lower prices than what they were a week ago. However, I'm still paying the same amount even though the value of my unit is now less.

I've been a good resident. For the short time I've been here I've always paid my rent on time and am almost always the first to report any issues (broken garage door, security issues, etc) with the apartment. Since I've moved in I've noticed the integrity of the apartment complex dropping - items breaking more often, managers not meeting me when they said they would, employees of the apartment getting drunk and blacking out at outings, area is completely smoke free yet people are smoking in the garage, and maintenance not repairing items immediately.

I've discussed my concerns and why I'm upset that my rent is listed cheaper than what I am paying with the property manager and her supervisor. I've asked to have my rent lowered. They are not willing to change. They did offer if I extend my lease now, so my lease is two years till September 2015 that I would get 1 month free rent, a guarantee that my rent will not increase next year, and I'll continue to pay the same amount I'm paying now (not the $180 less).

How do I get the property manager to lower my rent in this situation?

My thoughts: their deal sounds decent at first, but they are really just working around the problem and trying to get me to sign a longer lease so they meet their quota. Also, given that apartment has been open for a year and there are many available units makes me think that they will be in a similar situation next year and offering an incentive to stay. If that happens, I'm doubting they would want to raise my rent. Lastly, given how the quality of the apartment is dropping recently makes me question if I really want to extend my lease.

Is there any way to negotiate with my property manager to lower my rent without increasing the length of my lease?

  • 3
    Which country are you in? And if that's a federal structure country, what state/area within that? (It might make a big difference to your rights in this sort of situation) – Gagravarr Sep 11 '13 at 12:04
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    This sounds like classic US mid-to-large sized apartments in a city anywhere throughout the states. – THEAO Sep 11 '13 at 12:22
  • This is in the US. THEAO is correct. – wwwuser Sep 11 '13 at 13:42
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    What is the penalty for breaking the lease? How willing are you to move again? – MrChrister Sep 11 '13 at 13:56
  • Sounds exactly like my situation. They stood fast and even raised the rent by 11%, I moved. Most of these slum lords ( I say that regardless of how nice the place is ) are just trying to run the place into the ground. 30% occupancy, how do they keep their job with that type of performance? Maybe, you should not fight to stay there. Good luck, hope it works out for you. – bobbym Oct 6 '16 at 8:36
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When you took the apartment you agreed to pay the rent you are paying now, and they agreed to rent you an apartment. If apartments were being listed for more than you were currently paying, and your landlord asked you to pay more rent than you agreed because 'your apartment is worth more now', I'm betting you wouldn't agree to it. That's the way renting works.

If you don't mind extending your lease, you might be able to negotiate something there. Try saying you will extend your lease if he guarantees you the price currently being advertised. That's the basis of negotiation - he can give you something you want (lower rent) and you can give him something he wants (extended lease). All you have to do is find a price which is acceptable to both of you.

You might try applying for one of the listed apartments at the new rate, and paying the penalty to break your existing lease early, but I'm betting your landlord won't allow that. Apart from that, just get on with your life.

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DJClayworth has it right... Negotiate. So far you have complained and they've given you an opportunity. Go back to them with a counter proposal, and don't be surprised when they say it's the most that they can do and appeal to the powers that be.

Legally, you've already made your move and signed a contract and if you have regrets about the price, too bad for you.

As far as making an offer back to the property manager, here's negotiations 101:

  1. what do you want?
  2. what does the other person want?
  3. do your own math.
  4. is there an overlap between your positions?
  5. If so, make a counter proposal, if not just wait out your lease and move to another place or re-up at the market rate for then.

On doing your own math:

You haven't given us the rest of the variables to understand what 'one month's free rent' is really worth... but I would do that math. The key number I would be looking at is "how many months would it take to make up the value of 1 free month in terms of $180 less per month?"

Let's say your rent is $500, if they give you a free month then you are getting the same value as if they had given you the discount for $500 / $180 = 2.77 months. But if you're renting a bigger place or in a bigger city and your rent is ~$1,000 then you're talking about 5.5 months of 'discounted rent'. $1,500 a month? 8 months... you only have 10 left on your lease. So make your decision in that context.

Additionally, don't underestimate the importance of seasonality in a property manager figuring out rates. If you move in end of Summer... especially if you're in a college town rents just. cost. more. (Who likes moving when it's winter outside?)

I would just bite the bullet and move somewhere else when the lease was up. Unless this is new construction you have big problems living anywhere with 30% vacancy. They're not going to repair things. They aren't even bringing in enough in rents to cover their mortgage. And they will be desparate to fill the apartments so they'll let anybody in off the street. (Hence your smoking neighbors... but no offense to anyone here who smokes)

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    Lovely, this is what I was thinking. I would add, if this is a new place, they might be experimenting in the market and letting the dust settle. Things could be very different a year from now; both good and bad for the price and viability of the complex. – MrChrister Sep 11 '13 at 15:10
  • This is a brand new place. Just built and opened a little more than a year ago. These negotiation techniques are very helpful. – wwwuser Sep 11 '13 at 15:29

protected by Community Jan 28 '17 at 15:46

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