A Simple Tip for Apartment Dwellers

If you live in an apartment complex, there’s something you can count on as much as death and taxes: your rent will increase when you renew your lease. I spent many years in such circumstances, and my rent only increased the first time around. After that, I learned.

What I did was mark my calendar for about 2 ½ months prior to the end of my lease. Then I’d send my landlord a letter. “I have enjoyed living here, and I hope you’ve enjoyed having me. My lease ends on ________. I’d love to stay. Please let me know if you intend to raise my rent at that time, so that I have ample opportunity to find a new address. Thanks in advance.”

It works like a charm, but only if you have been a good tenant. Have you always paid your rent on time? Have you avoided visits from the police? Are you quiet, non-destructive, and abide by the rules? Then you, my friend, are a landlord’s ultimate fantasy.

That gives you a certain amount of power, because that landlord is going to want to keep you around. Trust me. As a landlord myself, I know what a monumental hassle it would be if my wonderful tenants were to move and I had to scramble to find someone else, with its attendant anxiety that the new person, an unknown quantity, would be your basic nightmare. That, and I’d probably go at least a month without rent until I found that new tenant. That’s no fun at all. Even if I could likely find someone who would gladly pay more in rent, it’s just not worth it.

Be advised, though, that you have to be prepared to have your bluff called. If the landlord doesn’t like you for whatever reason, she might go, “Yay! See ya!” And of course, it’s only fair that your rent increases a little every 5 to 10 years. Maintenance and operating costs get expensive. Fair’s fair.

I think this trick is worth a try, but your results may vary. Good luck!

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