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I am renting an apartment. Move in date was August 1st. The apartment is slightly dirty with cobwebs and the walls definitely need to be painted. Landlord says that she will paint very soon but until then I wouldn't want to move my stuff in while its being painted.

How do I go about asking for this month to be prorated for when I can actually move my stuff in?

UPDATE: I have accepted Rocky's answer and sent the email 08/07 so that everything is in writing. I'll let you all know what happens. Thank you everyone for your input and discussion.

UPDATE2: They painted a bit more and cleaned it but no luck on the pro-rated rent. Thanks again everyone for responding.

  • I have accepted Rocky's answer and sent out the email today so that everything is in writing. I'll let you know what happens. Thank you everyone for your input and discussion. – LampPost Aug 8 '17 at 1:38
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Just ask! If the apartment isn't move-in ready and the landlord asked you to wait, send an email (put it in writing) and say something like:

"Dear Ms Landlord, Thank you for painting the space and remove the dirt and cobwebs before I can move in. Please let me know when I will be able to move in. I will pro-rate the first month's rent according to the date the apartment is ready to be occupied. Thanks again. Sincerely, LampPost"

UPDATE: I really like HartCO's closing sentence from the comments, for exactly the reasons stated: "Please let me know the updated move-in date and the pro-rated rent amount."

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    I like that this is more assertive/pro-active, rather than asking if they mind, we tell them what we expect and what is right, maybe something like "Please let me know the updated move-in date and the pro-rated rent amount." – Hart CO Aug 7 '17 at 16:29
  • They can still say no. I feel like being demanding will result more likely in a no? First time renting so I am not sure how things go when things go wrong. – LampPost Aug 7 '17 at 16:42
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    @LampPost You're right, they could say no, I like not demanding but rather conveying expectation as if everyone would agree it's the right thing to do. If they don't offer a compromise that compensates you for the hassle in some way, they're a crummy landlord, imo. – Hart CO Aug 7 '17 at 16:51
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    If you don't ask, the answer is certainly no. By framing it as a "please sir may I have some money" it's probably "no". By hooking on the landlord's statement that they will paint soon, and giving them the action to define that duration precisely, they may realize they gave up the game by offering to paint (acknowledging the space has problems), and you may achieve money back. My guess is you have the keys and they have the money, so any prorated return of money to you is going to be uphill on a contract fight (is it uninhabitable? I assume probably not) – user662852 Aug 7 '17 at 21:16
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    @HartCO, " I like not demanding but rather conveying expectation as if everyone would agree it's the right thing to do" this is such great advice for literally any scenario where you are wanting/expecting/pushing for a certain outcome. – ESR Aug 8 '17 at 5:55
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Just ask. Something like

I see that the apartment still needs some repairs/cleanup before being move-in ready. Can we delay the move-in date until {date}, make the lease contingent on the repairs/cleanup, and prorate the rent accordingly?

They can say no, but you can also look around for other apartments. If they have other people wanting to move in you might not have much bargaining power, but walk-away power can be very influential as well.

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How much leverage you have can depend on whether you have already put down a deposit, rent, and signed the rent contract. It's usually more beneficial to be up front and ask. Not asking is automatically a no, so giving it a try may mean learning how to negotiate and might result in the benefit of a prorated rent. A good landlord will work with you, but be sure to take notes, like who, when, and exactly what was said.

The landlord tenant laws depend upon which state you live. In Missouri, there is good information available from our MO State Attorney General. One free helpful pamphlet is called "Landlord Tenant Laws. You may have access to similar information from your state Attorney General office or website. Having the law info, plus understanding your rental agreement contract, and notes about what the landlord says can be important in determining how fairly you are treated.

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