I'd like to take the opportunity to thank you for your warm seasons greetings I received from you today. I'd also like to confirm that I received your notice of rent increase form as well. The four months notice you've given me is generous.
I also want to thank you for not increasing my rent by the maximum allowable amount, instead choosing to keep the increase below 3% of my total, or about the price of a cold case of beer. I like beer. I like all kinds, but I'm especially partial to the kinds that only come in 1s or 6s. The premium kinds in other words. I can afford them; I earn a decent income and thanks to you subsidizing my lifestyle with market rent well below equivalent ownership costs I am able to drink a lot of premium beer each month--ask my wife, who is constantly reminding me that premium beer is creating premium pressure on my waistline. But I digress, and while beer is worthy of writing about anytime, my note to you has other purpose.
It's with beer in my mind, not affecting it mind you, that I kindly reject your annual rent increase for 2010. Now I know that inflation eats into your bottom line. I know this because the price of a six-pack of Heineken has increased lately too. We're all affected negatively by inflation. But inflation seems to swing both ways in some markets.
You see, things have changed over the past several months. Lots of people like me have moved on, to jobs elsewhere, to houses bought, to who knows where, but one thing is for sure, more have left than arrived--the For Rent sign on the front door reminds me of that each time I come and go myself.
I'm a good tenant. I pay my rent on time, I keep things clean and tidy, I don't lock myself out in the middle of the night (or day for that matter) and when something breaks I fix it myself if I can. You're lucky to have me. So I won't be paying you more next year.
It's simple really: the vacancy rate has climbed to a point where you can't be as choosy as you once were. In fact, it's climbed to a point where you may be lucky to even be able to choose. Come spring, it may have climbed to a point where you may have to drop rents or offer incentives to get a tenant to fill your vacant units. The last thing you need is for me to leave you over a cold case of beer. But remember, I like beer. Enough to leave you. And I don't want to allocate funds from other uses to make up for an unnecessary rent increase.
You might be wondering how I've come to realize this? Let me tell you: some people like to walk into Future Shop regularly to see if that 60" plasma flat screen has come down in price. Me? I like to check out vacant rental suites and see what I'm missing. Just the other day I was in one nice enough to make me think very seriously about moving. Sure it cost more per month, but it was worth every penny. I tried to negotiate with that landlord--they'd been trying to rent their new basement suite for over 3 weeks; I smelt a deal brewing.
That landlord had a false sense of the market though. They'd just bought the house and renovated it to create a suite, told me they wouldn't be able to afford their mortgage without it. It was nice, but they were asking too much, and they wanted someone in right away. Long story short, we gave them a call the next day and told them we'd take it in the middle of the month if they dropped the rent by $50/month or they gave us a 6 month lease instead of 12. They didn't feel they should have to do either. That was three weeks ago. I checked Craigslist while writing you this note and sure enough, there it still is, still vacant, and still asking too much. The money they left on the table in December by rejecting my offer would have more than made up the difference between my lower rent offer and their asking price over the course of the lease. But apparently they can't add months together in their calculations--they're probably part of this new "can I afford it this month" culture.
Do you see where I'm going with this? There's a lesson here. You want more money. I don't want to give it to you. I know there's a lot of unit choice out there, many of them nicer than where I live now. I could move, costing you money to advertise, clean, lost rent etc, and me some time and beer for the buddies with trucks who will help me out on moving day. I think the cost will be much greater for you than me. I'm willing to take a stand on this. Are you?
Best quote from that news story:
I want to know how she got a mortgage for a two-bed condo she can't afford on her own? And they say there's no sub-prime lending in Canada. Sure.
“It’s nerve-wracking because ... there’s not going to be anyone filling my place and that burden falls on you financially,” she said, adding she can’t afford the $2,130 mortgage without a little help.
“If I was to give anyone advice, it’s to not buy a place that you can’t afford on your own.”