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Time To Rent Him A New One

| Right | March 27, 2017

(I own a couple of rental properties in DC. One of them is available for rent and I set up showings for it. Valuing my time, I often set up several appointments around the same time, if possible, so that I don’t have to make numerous trips to the property to show it to just one person. On this (weekend) day, I have scheduled 8 back-to-back showings, and my last appointment of the day is late, without calling/texting/emailing to say he’s running behind. After waiting 30 minutes past his appointment time, I go to leave. Walking out of the building and finding a young man sitting on the front stairs, surfing the Internet on his phone.)

Me: “Hi! Do you live in the building? I don’t think we’ve met yet.”

Young Man: “No, I’m waiting for this b**** of a landlord to come out and meet me. I’ve been sitting here for five minutes!”

Me: “Oh, well, only a couple of the units are rentals, and I have most everyone’s phone number. Maybe she’s not picking up your call because she got distracted. If you tell me who it is, I’ll try her, or can go in and knock on the door.”

Young Man: “I didn’t CALL her; she should know I’m waiting for her! She should have been sitting out here to greet me! She must not want to rent her property that badly!”

Me: “Well, it’s a little cool and it’s been raining off and on today, so she’s probably inside waiting. Maybe you should try calling her, or tell me who she is and I’ll call her.”

Young Man: “Ugh, fine, it’s [My Name] in [my unit number]. Tell her to get down here fast or I’m leaving.”

Me: “Well, hello, [Young Man], I’m [My Name], owner of [My Unit]. I’ve been sitting upstairs waiting for the last half hour for you to call, text, or email me that you’re here for your appointment, as I instructed you to do when you got to the front door. Seeing as you admitted you’ve been waiting for only five minutes, it’s lucky I caught you before I left. Would you still like to see the unit?”

Young Man: “I suppose, but you should have come down and checked to see if I was here. My phone could have died or something.”

Me: “I did, twice. Since you only showed up five minutes ago, you weren’t here when I did check. Right this way to the unit.”

(I show him in and he makes a big show of sniffing every time he walks into a room or looks at an appliance/fixture. After looking around for about ten minutes, he comes back into the living room where I’m waiting to “talk business.”)

Young Man: “Well, I guess this will do as a temporary space. It’s extremely run down and I figure everything will break in six months from what I’ve seen. Because of that, I want to negotiate the rent, starting at [$400/month less than my asking price] and get the utilities included due to the inefficient appliances. I also won’t sign a lease longer than six months.”

Me: “I’m sorry you feel that way. All of the appliances in this unit are energy star and less than five years old, and the basics like the furnace, air conditioner, and water heater are all less than ten years old and were fully serviced in the last six months and given a clean bill of health, with a few minor repairs which I gladly paid to have completed. If you had bothered to ask before assuming, I would have told you that. Since you feel my terms are unreasonable, I guess this isn’t the apartment for you. Thank you for your time looking at it. I’ll show you out.”

Young Man: “WAIT! Don’t you want to rent this place? No one would pay what you want for this s***! I’m the only chance you have of getting a tenant. You should negotiate with me so that you don’t lose money!”

(I take the five completed applications from the other prospects who have viewed the apartment that day, with application fee checks clipped to them, out of my bag and plop them on the table.)

Me: “I don’t need to negotiate with you. I have five people who have applied for this apartment TODAY, plus nearly the same number from yesterday. For the record, I’ve been renting this place to a friend, at the same rent I’m asking now, for the last three years and he’s ONLY moving out because he’s finally buying his own place… He LOVES this apartment. I don’t know where you came from, but this is what you get for the rent I’m asking here, and, honestly, you usually get a little less because I take good care of this place, including being fully, legally licensed to rent.” *gestures to the rental license mounted on the wall* “Most rentals at this price point are illegal death traps. So, again, I’m sorry that you feel I’m trying to rip you off, but I’ll show you out now and I wish you good luck in your home search.”

Young Man: “Oh, crap… Um… sorry. I thought I could play hardball and get a better deal. Will you still take my application? I mean, I still think utilities should be included, but I can pay the rent you want – or, at least close to it. Please?”

Me: “You showed up almost a half hour late to your appointment, complained because you didn’t follow my instructions to get in while giving me a sorry excuse for why you ‘might’ not have been able to do so, and then insulted me and my property. I really don’t think this will work out. Sorry, but let me show you out.”

(He started screaming to the point that the downstairs neighbors — two big dudes I am friends with because I also live in the neighborhood and see them around — came running upstairs to see what is wrong. I gratefully threw the door open when they started pounding on it and saying “this is Neighbors #1 and #2; is everything okay?”. I told them what was going on, and they physically tossed the dude out of the building. Unfortunate as it was, I now make sure that someone else is with me while conducting tours/open houses at my properties, and only give ten minutes grace for late appointments unless they contact me to tell me they’ll be later than that.)

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