Sign of the Times

Letters from my landlord don’t come often, and in the past they have usually indicated one thing: higher rent. So when I saw the envelope in yesterday’s mail, my first thought was, “Damnit! How can they raise my rent when rents are falling in the area?” It turns out I had jumped to conclusions:

Rent Decrease

I have heard stories of tenants successfully bargaining their rents down recently, but I don’t often hear of landlords taking the initiative to lower rents on existing tenants. Not that I’m complaining, and presumably the decision was made for sound business reasons and not pure generosity (a couple of other tenants have left the building recently, and maybe the landlord hopes to prevent further departures). That said, given some of the horrific landlords in the world, I’m glad to be in my building that is managed with decency and competence.

9 Responses to “Sign of the Times”

  1. ng says:

    Wow! Is this an example of the bad economy, the kind of thing you were looking for in an earlier post?

    I today got an increased pension check, with a notice that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, “(known as the federal stimulus bill)”, lowered tax withholding rates for retirees. I doubt your landlord got a similar bonus, but it’s good news for both of us.

  2. dc says:

    ng: it’s certainly an example of the bad economy. I had read articles about bay area rents going down in the past few months, so I would have been surprised if they had raised it, but I certainly wasn’t expecting a decrease either. It was raised about a year ago, and all they did was reverse last year’s increase. It amounts to a 3% decrease, which isn’t life-changing, but it does add up.

    My federal tax withholdings also decreased as of April 1st. I guess most people’s did. Unfortunately, sales taxes here also went up on April 1st, so it was kind of a wash for my budget. Even if landlords did reap some tax benefit from ARRA or other legislation, I doubt most landlords would pass on the savings to existing tenants, at least not so directly. I assume that they did this as a way of retaining reliable, hassle-free tenants like me. I have no idea how many tenants in the building got a rent decrease, or what criteria they used to choose (the letter implied that only some tenants are getting rent reductions).

  3. avoice says:

    I have not seen any rent decreases for existing tenants in Los Angeles. There may be some but I just haven’t heard of them. But rents have gone down in general and so new tenants are getting better deals, and people might be tempted to move to get cheaper rent. Los Angeles city is under a rent control ordinance, so this also affects individual decisions. Lowering rents has the affect of lowering a building’s value when trying to sell or refinance so a landlord who does, is taking a risk.

  4. eric says:

    That is a great photo.

    I just decided not to RAISE the rent for my tenants. They’ve only seen a 1% increase over the past three years, so we wanted to boost it a bit, if only by another ten bucks, but in the end we held off, worried that a token increase would annoy them into leaving. But rents here in Cambridge seem not to have fallen at all–if anything, they may be a bit higher than they were last year.

  5. eric says:

    When will your blogging vacation end? I’m ready to consider some more evidence.

  6. wordnerd says:


  7. Carol says:

    I’m happy for your rent decrease, but what I really want to know is, when did the little pirate pick up the chick? that is, bunny?

  8. dc says:

    After leaving Hawaii, he went to LA, and he came upon Beatrice the Bunny in distress in Hollywood. She was about to be eaten alive by Davy Jones, as shown in this photo. The pirate saved her life, then they got married and went to London on their honeymoon. Now they are living happily ever after, as you might expect after such a fairy tale courtship and marriage.

  9. m says:

    I’ve been reading over and over about rents going down in the bay area but our search so far has proved otherwise. Maybe they’ve gone down from this time last year but from about two/two and half years ago (around our last move) they definitely seem to have gone up quite a bit. Areas that were comfortably affordable for us then are now our mostly out of reach/at least several hundred dollars more per month. Anyway a rent decrease sounds awesome. Got any vacancies in your bulding? We’re looking!

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