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How to Deal With This Property Manager?


ahlatsiawa
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So after an extensive search I have finally decided upon an apartment for myself. It's located very close to the university, has good online reviews and the rent is reasonable. I sent in my application yesterday along with a detailed email requesting for some pictures of the apartment. I explained that I am an international applicant and since I can't visit in person to take a look at the apartment, I would appreciate if she considered my request. I also asked about available lease terms since their website did not have any information regarding lease terms but their ads on other places stated different terms from 6-12 months.

In her reply she totally ignored my request for the pictures and gave extremely short, almost rude answers to my questions. Also, she said there is only a 12 month lease available.

Please guide me on how I should respond to her now. I most definitely do not want to sign the lease without seeing the apartment and also would like to ask for a 6 or 9 month lease. How do I do this in a manner that doesn't look either too pushy or too desperate?

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They want your business, so I would just tell them "when I looked on the website/ad it said ..... I just want clarification because the website says one thing but you said something different. Being that this is such a major move I need clear information to make my decision". Also just ask about the pictures again and just be pushy. You have the right to get good information and see pics before picking a place. If she isn't the person in charge I would ask for a supervisor. Good luck:)

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Is there anybody in the graduate program who is able to look at it in your place? I'm in a not quite so extreme situation, but I'm 1300 miles from my graduate program of choice and the program assigned a student mentor and he's been generous enough to look at housing options for me.

And yes, they do want your business, but it will also depend on the market in the city you're moving to as some cities will have plenty of apartments available and landlords will bend over backwards. In other cities housing is much tighter and they'll have plenty of other people to pick from. You may have to end up biting the bullet and taking a less than ideal situation and make the most of it.

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A few pictures of the apartment sounds like a reasonable request. I would seriously consider how this Property Manager's attitude might affect my stay, if I were in that situation. Maybe she's not very helpful overall.

 

But it is also possible she has her own unspoken reservations about renting to someone she isn't able to meet in person, which may help explain her short demeanor.  So, the issue may resolve itself once she meets you in person.

 

However, as someone reminded me in another thread, online reviews can be hit or miss. You never know who actually posted the reviews. And I don't know what website you were reading reviews on, as some are more credible than others. Even so, anyone can make up a few fake reviews and get their friends to, it seems.

 

You have every right to ask for the photos again, she may just need some pushing/reminding. Ask again politely. You can soften the request by offering that the photos do not have to reflect the apartment empty, and you just want to confirm your understanding of the essentials. Also - since you are wanting to negotiate to 6 or 9, you should probably wait to mention that until after you get the photos. Then, you may need to offer some incentive for the 6 or 9 term, such as another month paid in advance. But I do suggest you continue searching to keep your options open. Good luck.

Edited by Coconut Water
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Thank you everyone for such helpful replies. I am trying to find someone in the graduate program to take a look at the apartment for me as that will not only fetch me pictures and their personal review of the place but the property manager will also have a face to associate the deal with until I get there. Although I do have a few options on standby, I don't want to let this one go. My application fee will reach them on Monday and she said she will start processing my application then. I hope I can get hold of someone by then to make a visit otherwise I won't have any other option left but to ask her once more. Thanks again guys. :)

Edited by ahlatsiawa
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So my emails to the university's office for off-campus residents did not receive any response. Today I got a one-liner from the property manager saying my application has been processed and asking if I am still interested. Now as I said earlier, I don't want to sign the lease until I see pictures of the actual apartment I will be renting. So should I send her a blunt message asking about them now? I do not want to risk losing this apartment just because she thinks I'm too pushy, even though she is incredibly uncooperative herself.

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Honestly, I would not want to rent from a company that is this unwilling to provide some basic and necessary information. I would feel that this company would be just as unreachable and uncooperative if I needed them to fix something later on in my lease. For me, this would be a dealbreaker and I would look elsewhere! However, if you are so sure that you want to rent this place even with the property manager's attitude, perhaps it's worth to try asking again one last time for pictures before you sign. In my opinion, not wanting to show pictures and demanding a 12 month lease is a major red flag that something is wrong. If I was moving from very far away and have no way of seeing the location, I would not want to sign for a long lease so that it would be easy to move again if I don't like the place.

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TakeruK - You are absolutely right. It's just that I'm having a really hard time finding good apartments close to the campus and I can only access listings that are available on the internet. I do have a few backup places in mind but all of them are a tad over my price range. I have sent her an email asking for the pictures again. If she doesn't respond in a day or two I'm moving on.

Edited by ahlatsiawa
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Don't just ask for pictures, demand them. If they are unwilling to give pictures, they probably aren't trustworthy. Any hesitation on her part should have been satisfied with you paying the app fee. It is perfectly reasonable to request pictures. You aren't being pushy in the least. I wouldn't have even sent in an app fee without pictures.

I just went through all of this. I wasn't international, but I was across country with no way to visit. My current landlord went above and beyond. Besides taking extra pictures, he even measured every room for me. The house turned out to be exactly as he said, and he has been a great landlord so far.

Good luck!

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If a place can't even provide pictures, that sounds extremely odd. I've been told never rent a place without seeing it, but that can be impossible when you're that far away. But if you can't even get pictures, I'd say no deal!

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What you can safely demand from a potential and/or current landlord/property manager varies from state to state. By safely, I mean without getting ignored or not considered. It's all about what the laws say. Contrary to popular belief, the balance of power in the landlord/tenant relationship is usually more on the side of the landlord. Sure, they want a tenant, but they want the right kind of tenant (college students are usually at the bottom of the list, unless they provide a cosigner name Mom or Dad). For every decent property, there's dozens of people who want it. I got my place without credit checks, references, the application others had to submit, or first and last months rent, just a small security deposit, because I'm older and my guy and I showed up in khakis and polos with a country club logo on them. I'm not going to have kids, I'm not likely to party, the cops aren't going to be called, the neighbors aren't going to complain, and there isn't going to be a lot of damage to the place, or so the probabilities go.

You want pix from the property manager and she doesn't care? She seems rude or uncaring? That means that you aren't the only college student who wants the place, but she's probably holding out for a solid prospect. So, what to property managers want from tenants? No hassles, the rent paid on time, the rent paid for the entire year (they have to pay for the property all year, 9-month tenants are far less desirable than 12-month tenants), and the property treated with respect. You want her to want you more than others, so how can you show her that you're the more desirable applicant?

I imagine that your problem stems from a single thing: she hasn't processed all of the applications and has no intention of doing any extra work for people she hasn't decided to offer a lease. I would, personally, email her every few days about the application until she tells you if your application is approved or rejected. Once you know if your application is approved, then tell her that you are prepared to send her all required deposits and rents, but only once you have seen pictures of the actual apartment you would be renting and have approved of it. It's also possible that the place is not yet vacant, or, if vacant, not yet prepared for the next tenant.

Before you sign the lease, make sure you know your tenancy rights! If she sends you pictures of a model apartment, rather than the actual apartment, are you stuck with the lease? Because you can't see the apartment yourself, you can't be completely sure that she sent you pictures of the actual apartment. In some states, yes, you are. Here's some helpful links:

The first is to the US federal government's Housing and Urban Development website on tenancy in the state of New York. HUD is the federal overseer of housing in the US. http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/states/new_york/renting/tenantrights

The second is to the state of New York's attorney general website on housing issue, which includes tenant rights: http://www.ag.ny.gov/consumer-frauds/housing-issues

The final is to the county of Onondaga's commission on housing site, which includes tenant rights: http://www.ongov.net/humanrights/renting.html

If the city of Syracuse has different rules than the county, I couldn't find it. In the US, the way it works it to start with local laws, then state laws, then federal laws. The local laws generally already comply with state and federal laws, but have more specific and important laws that apply to individual situations.

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For every decent property, there's dozens of people who want it...You want pix from the property manager and she doesn't care? She seems rude or uncaring? That means that you aren't the only college student who wants the place, but she's probably holding out for a solid prospect.

 

I think this is largely dependent on the location and market of the town.  This is true in some towns, but in others the rental market isn't as saturated and the property manager really is looking for people.  Sometimes landlords and property managers are simply rude people regardless of their property needs.  Some people are just jerks.

 

Like others in the thread, I think you should insist on what you want.  Don't worry about being pushy - if you turn her off because of the reasonable request for pictures of the unit, then you probably don't want to live there.  However, doing a less than 12-month lease is a tricky thing.  Although the property may technically offer shorter lease terms, they may only do it at certain times of the year and/or when they are more desperate for tenants.  Summer is a big rental time, so they may only get people who are willing to do 12 months.  If you get a 6-month lease in June and decide to move out at the end, they are stuck trying to find someone to move in in December, which is a slower rental period in general but especially for college towns.  But if you were moving there in December, they might be more willing to do 6 months because your lease would be up in June, when they could more easily find someone to take over your unit.

 

So that one I would just ask about and see if it's an option, but I would just straight up say that you don't want to live somewhere sight unseen and you need pics please.  All of the apartment complexes I considered either had pics on their website or sent them to me when I asked.

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danieleWrites - It is understandable that college students are lower down the list of potential tenants but that alone shouldn't make the manager completely ignore my emails. Especially after I have signaled a strong intention to rent by already submitting the application and application fee. There is little in terms of your other suggestions that I can do since I am unable to meet her in person. I will just have to trust her even if she does send me the pictures. Thank you for sharing the links. I have gone through all of them.

juilletmercredi - Right now I don't even care what lease period I get. And thank you for explaining about the short term leases. All other places I have inquired with also offer only a 12 month lease.

Little update: I got a response from the university's off-campus residents office. Although they did not offer to view the apartment for me, the nice lady did talk to the property manager (rude lady) and told me that they are working on getting the pictures for me and will get back shortly. So things are looking a little hopeful. Let's wait and see.

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Urgent help:

The manager sent me some pictures of the apartment and I have decided to go for it. She just emailed me a "Holding Deposit Agreement" form which will take the apartment off the market and it will be held for me until I sign the lease. The deposit amount is equal to one month's rent. In the even that I do not sign the lease, the deposit will not be refunded. Now the thing is, I haven't seen the lease agreement yet and do not know how she is going to draft it. All I know is that it is going to be for a period of 12 months (which I am okay with). Would it be appropriate to ask her to let me view the terms of the lease before I submit the deposit? Or is it common practice to submit the deposit and only then be eligible to view the lease?

Edited by ahlatsiawa
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Definitely ask to see the lease before you send the deposit. And, ask what, if anything, that deposit is applied to (does it become your security deposit? sub as your last month's rent? etc.).

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Thanks! I have sent her an email asking to see the lease and a few other questions I had about the wording of the agreement form. It will become my security deposit.

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If you don't get a refund then you need to see the lease first! It sounds like she's not trying to be underhanded but maybe just isn't terribly organized. Just insist on it politely and say you really like the apt but need to do due diligence due to the distance.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update: I am now finishing up with my paperwork. The property manager emailed me the lease agreement and other move-in papers yesterday. The lease looks fine but the rent receipt states $1250 as my first month's rent, whereas my actual rent is $625/mo. She said in her email " Under first months rent that is your first and last months payment. You will always show that you are carrying a credit.". Now what bothers me is that she hasn't listed them separately which means I won't have any proof that I paid last month's rent at the start of my term. What to do?

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Update: I am now finishing up with my paperwork. The property manager emailed me the lease agreement and other move-in papers yesterday. The lease looks fine but the rent receipt states $1250 as my first month's rent, whereas my actual rent is $625/mo. She said in her email " Under first months rent that is your first and last months payment. You will always show that you are carrying a credit.". Now what bothers me is that she hasn't listed them separately which means I won't have any proof that I paid last month's rent at the start of my term. What to do?

 

This is standard practice and your lease should state the monthly lease rate is $625/month and your lease should also state that you are paying both first and last month's rent. So that, combined with the receipt (proof of payment) is all the proof you need, in my opinion.

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Although the lease states that the monthly rent is $650 it does not state that I have paid the first and last month's rent. Only the rent receipt has a figure of $1250 listed under first month's rent. Should I ask her to make amendments both in the lease and the receipt?

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You have the right to ask for anything you want. But if the lease says the monthly rent is $650 (or $625?) and you have a receipt for $1250, it is clear that you have paid for 2 months rent with that payment. They cannot say that "oh well, since rent is only $625, we'll just take the remainder as a donation!". As with any lease, you should keep a copy of ALL of your payments (i.e. receipts or cancelled checks) and when it is time to move out, if they demand more rent from you, you can pull out all of your receipts and if you lived there for X months then you will be fine if all your receipts add up to $625*X (exception: if rent increases then you have to account for that too of course).

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Well, you have Ann email so I say save it for the paper trail as evidence of the landlord tries to pull something.

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