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Resident 2002 Not Recommended
Reviewed 04/07/2002
We had a very bad experience looking for an apartment at "The Villas" at Parcmerced in San Francisco. The Parcmerced managment has people standing outside on the street near their offices with signs that say, "Free rent." However, my partner and I are simply interested in finding a place with reasonably priced rent. We went in and took the tour (they have about 4000 units) of a few one bedroom properties. I was told up front that the rent on the properties we viewed were between $1390 to $1430. The "leasing associate" wrote these prices down on the pictures of the floor plans given to us. We took a 45 minute tour, in which the leasing associate answered questions about security, parking, etc. <br> <br>Everything seemed great and we went to the leasing office to pay the holding/damage deposit of $500 (which is refundable only within 24 hours if you change your mind). While we were busy doing the paperwork, the leasing associate quickly went over the fact that our apartment is valued at $1650 market value, but that we were getting it at $1430 a month. My partner asked what that meant as far as a yearly rent increase. The leasing associate explained that our apartment was under rent control, which the leasing associate promoted as a positive aspect of the apartment. The leasing associate said that the rent increase was "negotiable with the management," and that the rent increase could be 2.7% of the market value. The leasing associate went over all of this very quickly and in a purposely confusing and misleading manner. <br> <br>I thought the leasing associate meant that the equation for the yearly rent increase was: $1430 + 2.7% x $1650. My partner said it wasn’t clear what the leasing associate meant and I explained it as I understood it. Even though I was wrong and the leasing associate was sitting across from us (two feet away) listening to me explain my understanding of the rent increase, the leasing associate did not stop me or correct me. The leasing associate let us continue with the paperwork, but my partner still persisted in saying that it was confusing to know what that meant for a yearly rent increase. Finally, I had the presence of mind to ask the leasing associate, "If we live in the apartment for a full year, and then after that year, in the first month of the new year, what, potentially, could our rent be raised to?" <br> <br>At last, because I asked the right question, the leasing associate told us that the rent could be raised to the market value of $1650 plus 2.7% rental increase. Then the leasing associate tried to save the sale by saying that it was unlikely that the management would raise the rent that significantly because of how bad the market was doing. (Is the hair raising on the back of your neck?) <br> <br>I realize that because of the way the leasing associate worded things, the leasing associate never actually lied to us, but the leasing associate didn´t fully disclose to us either, when the leasing associate first wrote down those prices. To me, that seems like a classic case of "bate and switch." My partner and I walked away feeling lucky not to fall into this trap. <br>
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Parkmerced

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