Author Topic: Need some negotiating tips  (Read 3547 times)

drachma

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Need some negotiating tips
« on: January 10, 2014, 05:18:10 AM »
I want a second roommate.

I currently lease a 3BR apartment. It was originally advertised as 3BR for 1150 rent, and myself and a roommate signed the lease at that rent. I have asked the landlord previously about a third tenant, and he said he would want to increase the rent. but that roommate fell through and I didn't push the negotiations any further.

If he increases the rent $200, then getting a second roommate only saves me ~100/month, and I wouldnt want to do it for that amount (extra hassle, cleaning, wear and tear on my washing machine etc). If he increases rent by only 100, then I can save about 200/month and the deal sweetens a bit for me.


1. how much of a rent increase is typical in these scenarios?
2. what kind of haggling power do I have?

The place is pricy enough that I could pull the "if I can have a roommate, I'm much more likely to stay here for several years, if not I would consider moving out at the end of my lease term" kind of card. I also have the "you already advertised it as a 3BR for 1150, so what was that extra BR for?" bargaining chip.

I always pay on time, in full. I rarely have anything break and don't request much maintenance etc, and I keep the place clean.

I can also take on some of the risk by listing the new roommate as MY roommate, instead of drawing up a new lease for all 3 parties. Obviously I don't want this, but I'd consider it if it let me negotiate a lower rent. In this case, I would be responsible for rent and the roommate would pay ME. In this kind of scenario,

1. what are my rights for kicking out said roommate if he stops paying me or begins damaging the premises (or where can I look up these rights for my state?)
2. I am liable for damages caused by roommate. i know the potential roomie better than random craigslisters but you never fully know someone.
3. if I get rid of roommate, is it likely that landlord would reduce rent back to the original rate? this would probably have to be written into the lease. is this a common scenario?

Anyway, looking for some mustachian advice on negotiating this agreement with my landlord. we are on good terms and I understand he wants compensation for extra wear and tear on the house. he also didnt increase rent this year, but i'm sure next year he could just go "oh look rents going up sorry guys" if I haggle too hard for a third roommate.

thanks!
« Last Edit: January 10, 2014, 05:21:59 AM by drachma »

Paulie

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Re: Need some negotiating tips
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2014, 05:25:42 AM »
Why would the rent be increased? Does it includes electricity, water etc? Or should the landlord pay more taxes if you live there with 3 instead of 2 people? And is your current roommate on board with a 3rd?

I would be very hesitant to be responsible for a third roommate, and I guess you are if you sublet one of your rooms to someone else. I would certainly ask for a bail if you will do this.

drachma

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Re: Need some negotiating tips
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2014, 05:39:56 AM »
Why would the rent be increased? Does it includes electricity, water etc?

Exactly. But that is what he said when I asked him about such an arrangement previously. Extra wear and tear on the premises was his supposed justification. But like everything it comes down to wanting more money I think. I pay all utilities, rent is just for the apartment.

I am hesitant to be responsible for a third as well. Unless one day I am legally allowed to put his stuff on the curb and bar the door shut ;)

SnackDog

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Re: Need some negotiating tips
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2014, 06:13:51 AM »
Ask him how much the rent will decrease if you go to zero roommates....

lhamo

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Re: Need some negotiating tips
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2014, 03:34:57 PM »
Is there a tenant's rights organization in your area?  They might be able to advise you.  I've never heard of a landlord charging more for multiple roommates.  Sound questionable legally to me.

Greg

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Re: Need some negotiating tips
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2014, 03:50:21 PM »
Just ask the question; how much will it increase. 

As someone who rents out a studio apt. I can completely understand the more people=more rent stipulation.  Think of this, if I rent the studio to one person it will incur wear and tear x1.  2 people or a couple it's wear and tear x2.  Everything from paint to floor finish to kitchen to toilet innards will experience 2x the wear and tear. 

The deposit would also increase in my case, just like adding a pet.

CommonCents

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Re: Need some negotiating tips
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2014, 03:57:28 PM »
Just ask the question; how much will it increase. 

As someone who rents out a studio apt. I can completely understand the more people=more rent stipulation.  Think of this, if I rent the studio to one person it will incur wear and tear x1.  2 people or a couple it's wear and tear x2.  Everything from paint to floor finish to kitchen to toilet innards will experience 2x the wear and tear. 

The deposit would also increase in my case, just like adding a pet.

But, it's a fair point that it was advertised as a 3-bed initially.  Thus while an argument could be made to charge more for having more than the number of bedrooms, it seems reasonable as well when you rent the place, you can expect to have the # people = # of bedroom.  When I see postings for apartments it's never listed as "$1000 - 1 person, $1050 - 2 people, $1100 - 3 people" etc.

OP, I took a negotiating class in law school w/a wharton prof.  In very short: You need to figure out what his incentives are, and show him how the arrangement will work to his advantage.  Example, this means you would be more able to stay on longer.  (But be careful in phrasing, because he may think you're going at the end of the lease and treat you accordingly.) 

Also, you would want him to set the first offer.  (When the figure is wildly unknown, you want to anchor it, but where the price is generally a sort of known range, the advantage is apparently yours if he makes the first offer.)

Freedom2016

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Re: Need some negotiating tips
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2014, 04:37:53 PM »
I would try to avoid getting into an adversarial conversation w/ your landlord. (Is your relationship otherwise good?) There are ways to talk about the situation without raising hackles, and if you do plan to be there long-term, you probably know how terrible it can be to have a bad landlord. It's worth cultivating good relationships there.

I do think it's a fair question - if asked out of genuine curiosity - about how he sets his rent. If he advertised another 3BR @ $1150, was that amount contingent on the number of occupants? Don't frame it as accusatory; frame it as, "I'm interested to know how you think about this, b/c right now the logic is somewhat baffling to me..."

On the other hand, if you signed a lease that stipulates/names 2 tenants only, and you agreed to the $1150 amount, then for one thing, you thought the price was fair for 2 occupants. In other words, you didn't try to negotiate a lower price because there were going to be fewer occupants in the apartment. You found value in that extra bedroom as a...what? Office? Storage? Workout room? And you entered a contractual obligation for 2 ppl @ the given price. If you now want to change the terms of that obligation, then it is reasonable for your landlord to want something in return. The added wear-and-tear is a real thing. And I say this as someone who's never been a landlord - only a tenant.

By the way, I had this very situation when I was a renter. I had a month-to-month lease for 5 years for a 2-BR place for $1100. When I told my landlord I'd like my fiance to move in, she asked for a $200/mo bump. Even though it was a 2-bedroom place, I didn't think the point was worth arguing. She had been a wonderful landlord to me, had never once raised my rent, and in my situation we were still saving $1k/mo.

Last thought - you might consider posting this in the real estate forum where there are at least some landlords who could give you more of that perspective.


marty998

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Re: Need some negotiating tips
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2014, 08:06:36 PM »

I always pay on time, in full. I rarely have anything break and don't request much maintenance etc, and I keep the place clean.

If I were a landlord, that would be the minimum I would expect of a tenant staying in a property that I own. I don't think you get extra credit/kudos for that.


I can also take on some of the risk by listing the new roommate as MY roommate, instead of drawing up a new lease for all 3 parties. Obviously I don't want this, but I'd consider it if it let me negotiate a lower rent. In this case, I would be responsible for rent and the roommate would pay ME.


You should check the legality of subletting in your area. Not sure if you are in an apartments but they can have stricter rules, by-laws, fire safety codes preventing "over-population" etc

1. what are my rights for kicking out said roommate if he stops paying me or begins damaging the premises (or where can I look up these rights for my state?)
2. I am liable for damages caused by roommate. i know the potential roomie better than random craigslisters but you never fully know someone.
3. if I get rid of roommate, is it likely that landlord would reduce rent back to the original rate? this would probably have to be written into the lease. is this a common scenario?

1. in many jurisdictions you may not have a legal leg to stand on
2. as per 1
3. probably not.

I'm not trying to be unhelpful, but lots of times I see benefits being spouted without much thought to consequences. You seem to at least be thinking about that, which is good.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2014, 08:08:12 PM by marty998 »