A Simple Tip for Apartment Dwellers

If you’ve been a good tenant, this trick to avoid a rent increase works like a charm.

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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The Size of the Fight in the Dog

So, I’m trying to get out of my rental lease early, in order to move into my new (to me) house. That means I need to swallow really hard and allow potential renters to root around in my underwear drawer in my absence. My dog Quagmire is less than thrilled by this process.

You’ve got to understand, Quagmire is a little bad ass. He’s been through a lot in his life. He refuses to talk about it. But he was found running the streets, half starved to death. He wasn’t fixed, and he’s middle aged, so the only thing I can guess is that he escaped from, or was ejected from, a puppy mill.

Needless to say, he’s not a people dog. He is bonded to me, for sure. That little Dachshund manages to keep me warm at night. But no one else is allowed in our house. Not if he has anything to say about it.

He once bit a cop on the ankle. Well, technically, he gummed a cop on the ankle, because I had to have his front teeth removed when I adopted him. They were all cracked. Someone must have kicked him. But the cop had no way of knowing that. I’m grateful that he didn’t discharge his weapon.

I haven’t had many visitors since Quagmire moved in. He gummed a friend of mine who never liked dogs in the first place. If anyone so much as knocks on the door, he barks and lunges and growls.

In essence, I’m living with a wiener-shaped Pitt Bull with a major chip on his shoulder. Well, as the saying goes, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog. So good luck, potential renters! You are about to encounter a furry little ninja! Try not to take it personally.

Update: We found a renter just yesterday! I don’t know who is more relieved, my dog or me!


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