Renting an Apartment: Why Are Units of the Same Size Priced Differently?

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Renting an Apartment: Why Are Units of the Same Size Priced Differently?

Staff Writer · Apr 5, 2010

It’s frustrating to think that you’re paying more for renting an apartment that’s the same size as your neighbors’. The fact that the landlord down the street charges a different price isn’t bothersome, but it is when the neighbor downstairs is paying less rent to the same landlord as you. This is common, and most people don’t find out until they ask neighbors how much they pay in rent.

Remodeled Apartments

Your apartment may have been remodeled prior to you moving in, which will result in you paying a higher amount for renting the apartment. The landlord wants to recoup the costs for the added fixtures, new appliances and other touch ups to the apartment. The opposite is true for apartments that have not been remodeled. You can (and should) negotiate with the landlord for a lower rent price, if the unit you rent is not updated like the others in the same building. You’ll have to investigate this prior to approaching the landlord by asking tenants to see their apartment, and getting information on how much they pay in rent. This is often easier said than done.

Rent History of Existing Tenants

The landlord may charge higher rent for new renters, but they have to honor the rent for existing tenants under the lease agreement. You wouldn’t want a landlord to increase your rent all of a sudden to match what they charge new renters. For that reason, some tenants who have been renting an apartment for a longer time, may pay a lower rent than newer tenants. The landlord may also choose not to raise rents on those tenants who are reliable, because the landlord wants them to stay.

Location in the Building

An apartment on the first floor is different from the same sized apartment on the third floor, the former being more convenient. You’ll appreciate the difference when there are no elevators and you have to move heavy items up and down the stairs. Some landlords lower the rent on apartments located on higher floors for this reason.

The opposite is true for luxury or other apartments where you have to pay a premium to live on the top floors. Those apartments are appealing to renters who want to view the city or a natural landscape that’s best viewed from a top floor apartment. They are willing to pay more in rent for the same sized apartment located on the bottom floor.

Move-in Specials

Landlords offer various move-in specials when renting an apartment, and you could benefit if you happen to catch one when you’re searching for an apartment. Some specials waive your first month’s rent, offer a lower amount overall, or both. Tenants who move in later end up paying a higher rent, because they missed the move-in special. Ask prospective landlords about any move-in specials they offer or would be willing to offer.

Negotiate the best deal possible for rent payments before renting an apartment. Landlords are more flexible on price than you might think.

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