The Age of No Negotiation: Apartment Edition

In my recent post, The Age of No Negotiation, I talked about my experience dealing with a big box department store. Of course, they were out of stock of the advertised item that I wanted. Being the person that I am, I asked them to extend the sale discount on another more expensive model. They said NO very fast and I left the store without giving them my money. The same sort of thing happened to me today at my apartment complex.

After returning to Texas from my trip home to Pennsylvania, I had a note hanging on my apartment door. The note stated that my lease will expire on October 31, 2008. They offered me to extend my lease for 12-14 months for the same price that I pay now ($495). However, I graduate in December of this year so that is not possible. If I do not extend my lease, they ‘allow’ me to remain on a month-to-month lease for $580 a month, an increase of 17%.

Once again, being the person that I am, I went over to the office to explain my situation. I told them that I wanted to stay until December for the same price that I am paying now. They immediately stated that they could not do that. I even reminded them that I have always paid on time, never had a check bounce, have no complaints against me, and I would continue to live there until December. They said that none of that matters because that it is their policy. I even reminded them that the apartment would be empty and at least with me, they would receive some sort of money. Once again, they said there is nothing that they can do as it is in their policy. I was even talking to the manager! I really do not understand what some people/companies are thinking! WHY DON’T THEY WANT MY MONEY!?!

I’m not really sure what I am going to do. I could bite my tongue and pay the increase but it would reduce the amount that I use to pay down debt. I also have some friends that would probably let me live with them on the cheap for the two months. What do you do if you were in my position?

7 thoughts on “The Age of No Negotiation: Apartment Edition

  1. Funny about Money

    They want don’t want your money because they know you’re over the barrel, and they know that if you move out they’ll soon get another student in there who delayed renting until he had to pay the full amount they want to charge. They are not negotiating because a) they are not nice people and b) they are greedy ba*tards who feel no compunction about taking advantage of young people. They probably steal candy from small children, too.

    If I were you, my calculations would go along these lines:

    1. Month-to-month rentals are hard to find and usually pricier than leases.
    2. At this late date — right as the semester begins — I’m unlikely to find a place at the same or lower fare.
    3. $580 x 4 = $2,320, or $85 a month more than I’m already paying. Over four months, that adds up to $340.
    4. $495 x 12 = $5940. That is $3,620 more than I would have to pay if I agreed to stay month-to-month; if I can’t sublet the place starting in January, I’ll be on the hook for more than $3600.
    5. It costs something to move: utility companies gouge royally for flipping a switch to turn off the power where you are and turn it on in your new digs; if I don’t have a truck or a friend with a truck, I may have to rent a U-Haul to get my junk to the new hovel.

    While $340 is a lot in the Studentland, in the larger scheme of things it’s not much…especially when you subtract the costs of moving and figure in the hassle factor of having to uproot yourself just as the semester is starting. I would lean toward staying.

    I might spend the Labor Day weekend running around to see if I could rent a room somewhere, camp out with some friends, or get a month-to-month lease for the semester at the same rate or less than I’m paying now. But I would not move on principle alone.

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  3. crystallynnevens

    That sucks Adam! I don’t get why people and companies have gotten into this ‘groove’ of not taking people’s money either. Doug and I had a similar situation with our apartment right before we bought our house. the lease ran out at the end of august, our closing was september 21st. in order to sty we had to either sign on for another 6 months (whether we lived there or not) or be out by the end of august. so rather then paying for a place we weren’t going to live in the whole time, we moved into my mom’s place and then moved again at the end of the month into our house… what a pain, but at least we weren’t paying for something we weren’t using. I wouldn’t take a lease for 12 months if you’re only going to be there til december. and paying more per month isn’t cool either, because you’ll just be ticked off every month knowing you’re paying more for not staying longer.

  4. NtJS

    This is a difficult one. When you are talking apartment complexes, you are talking fair housing laws. Since those went into effect, negotiation has gone out the window at the places when those apply. Any deal has to be offered to everyone, or something like that.

    It’s a slippery slope, and no apartment manager is interested in getting busted breaking those laws. To skirt the issue, try renting from a Mom-and-Pop landlord. I think that if they have 4 units or less then Fair Housing laws do not apply, and you can strike deals then.

  5. Mike

    I’d pay the extra money knowing that it would probably cause me more headaches and more money to find somewhere else to live for two months.

    I would then be grateful that I would be graduating soon and likely be able to find a job, unlike your apartment manager, where I wouldn’t have to bring bad karma onto myself by agreeing to work for a company that exploits others for nothing other than excessive greed.

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