A little background to illustrate my experiences:
When I was in my early twenties I moved in and out of various apartments, and my parents’ house, on an almost regular basis. The longest I stayed anywhere was six months. After getting promoted to General Manager of the restaurant I worked for, I rented an apartment by myself and stayed there for more than seven years. This was at a large complex - 200 or 300 units - but my rent was always month-to-month; AFAIK they didn’t even offer leases. Also AFAIK, this complex was privately owned.
When I moved in in 1997, I paid $925 a month. In early 2000 they raised my rent to $1040. A year or so later, I happened to be in the office and noticed they were renting out my same apartment for $995. I mentioned this to the manager, and she immediately lowered my rent to that rate, where it stayed until I moved out in 2005.
Over the next couple of years I again moved a few times, until I wound up in my present apartment in February 2007. I’m again in a largish complex of 200 or 300 units, but this one is owned by a nationwide corporation, Equity Residential. I signed a 12-month lease at $595 a month. After the first year was up, they raised my rent to $667, and as I recall this amount was $25 or $30 more than what they advertised my same apartment for. I didn’t feel like it was worth fighting, so I went with it. In '09, with the economy in the tank, my rent did not increase; this year, it wouldn’t have increased, except that I thought I would be moving in August so I took a six-month lease instead, so since February I’ve paid $700.
Which brings me to the present… my lease is again up in a month, but now I won’t be moving - in fact, I’ll be here for at least two more years. I got my renewal notice yesterday - for 12 months my rent will now be $714. I looked up my apartment on the company website, and they list it at $670. I’m not sure a $14 or $44 difference (depending on how you look at it) is worth fighting, but I plan to mention it, just to see if they’ll knock it down at all.
I haven’t had a real rent increase in two and a half years, so I’m not particularly upset about that; my time has come, I suppose. But I don’t see where they get off charging me more than they would to a new tenant - it doesn’t seem right, or logical. It smacks of “since you’re a preferred customer, and you’ve lived here for three and a half years, have we got a deal for you! You’ll pay just $50 more than everyone else!” Or going into my favorite restaurant that I’ve gone to several times a week for years, having the manager greet me by name, then tell me the prime rib goes for $29.99 - “but for you, my friend, $39.99!”
Now, I know the management of my apartment complex doesn’t give a rat’s ass who they rent my apartment to, be it me or someone else. My guess is that they’re playing this game, raising the rent just enough to make it not really worth fighting, hoping the tenant will just pay it. Which is what I’ll wind up doing - it’s not worth the hassle of moving over this amount.
So, is this the normal practice in apartment complexes? Was I blessed with my first long-term apartment? What are your experiences?