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Sometimes being frugal means knowing your rights

So, I live in an apartment. I am totally and completely happy with this arrangement (here are some posts I wrote about it before) BUT like anything, it's not without its random crappy bits.

A DRAMA IN THREE ACTS

(Mary Richards' apartment from The Mary Tyler Moore Show)
ACT I: Everything is totally fine... until it isn't

I'm on a year-long lease that I renew every September. I started thinking recently that it's weird the rental company hasn't gotten in touch with me about renewing. Huh, I should do something about that, I think, and then forget.

And then a notice is taped to my door one morning! It says my rent will be going up by $25/month, starting 6 months from now!


(Barbara Novak's apartment from Down With Love)
Act II: Things get weird, and then even weirder

I write this post. I think about moving. I deduce that an additional $300/year is manageable, especially since moving has its own inherent costs, and I really like practically everything about my apartment. I write this post about how I won't move. Things are good. I even remember to email the building manager to be like, "Um, I need to renew my lease soon? Because I want to still live here? KTHXBYE"

And then a SECOND NOTICE is taped to my door, written by a different person from the previous letter. This one is like "OMG you have to renew your lease in the next TWO DAYS and PS your rent is going up $50/month effective IMMEDIATELY.

I freak out. I look up other apartment options. I call my building manager who is, as per usual, in her car and then forgets to call me back later. I email the building company. I write a plaintive post on social media. I get some good advice from friends and so I:

- found and read through my lease to see what it says about rental increases
- read up on tenant's rights on the internet (*if you're going to do this, make sure you look up the specific info for your city/province and/or state, as policies and laws seem to vary drastically)
- found out who your local advocate is, in case this turns into a bigger issue (the rentalsman's office? Some sort of tenant advocacy organization?)

(Holly Golightly's apartment from Breakfast at Tiffany's)
Act III: The final battle

Prepared for battle, I wake up and wait to see if and when someone is going to get back to me about the flurry of emails and phone messages and texts I left yesterday. The winner of this contest? My building manager! Who is like, "Hey, so on a month-to-month lease, you can keep paying the same amount until it goes up $25/month in Feb, is that cool?" And I was like, "But I'm not on a month-to-month lease, I'm on a year lease that is expiring tomorrow!" And she was like, "I know. But let's just put you on a month-to-month lease which, weirdly, makes everything cheaper for you AND means you can move out whenever you want."

So suddenly, everything's sorted. I'm still not quite sure how it all happened. But the moral of the story? Being proactive about your tenant's rights is always the right thing to do.

* thanks to my friend P. for her advice about the whole rental situation as well as for inspiring today's topic.

1 comment:

talesandtrenchs said...

I don't mean to be a downer, but it seems really odd to me that your apartment complex is encouraging month to month rentals rather than longer terms. Stable tenants and stable income is usually preferable to monthly variables. What is the difference between the monthly and annual rental agreements? Are they allowed to raise rent more frequently on monthly tenants than they are on annual tenants? I'd poke a little more before signing on the dotted line, something seems fishy here.

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