Sunday, June 28, 2009

Beijing landlords

All my plans and dreams for finding a nicer place to live are inexorably turning to shit.

The spectacular implosion of Option No. 7 yesterday is a good illustration.

As I mentioned, the landlord was hopeful of getting the same rent he'd had from his last tenant, although that was probably a bit high even in the buoyant market of a year or two ago, and a good 25% above the current going rate. He had at least seemed to understand that this might be a little unrealistic, and had expressed a willingness to negotiate.

Yesterday, the agent relayed the landlord's list of demands:

He's only prepared to drop the rent by rather less than 10% - and that only if I pay 6 months upfront.

Plus 2 months' deposit, rather than the usual one month's.

Plus a 1,000 RMB fee for the agent (again, a non-standard and highly dubious practice - although this is probably the agent trying it on, rather than the landlord).

Plus.... he insists that I sign a lease from the 1st July.
[Although he knows that I am out of the country for the whole of July and most of August, and am paid up on my current apartment until the 1st September. I had - rather generously, I thought - offered to consider signing the lease from mid-August... or maybe even from the 1st of August; AND paying my first quarter's rent immediately. That wasn't enough for this greedy prick. These people just don't seem to have even the rudiments of business sense: the 1st of July is only a few days away; that apartment has been vacant nearly a month already; the landlord has known that his previous tenant was going to be quitting for over three months; and, according to the agent, no-one else has even viewed the place, let alone expressed an interest; and most foreigners are quitting Beijing over the summer (either a standard holiday to get away from the excessive heat of July and August, or forced out by the crabbiness of the visa-issuing authorities) - if the guy acts like this, he's going to have an empty apartment on his hands for at least another 2 or 3 months. Well, it will serve him right!]

I said to my letting agent:
"You needn't have told me all of that. Every single one of those conditions is a dealbreaker!"


Matthew said...

Most landlords I've dealt with were greedy assholes. One claimed I hated Chinese because I refused to pay an extra 1000RMB to ensure that I'd get the apartment (plus I'd have to BUY a fridge).

And agencies I've dealt with in the states weren't any better, though they fixed a bit more in the apartments.

Froog said...

What most gets me here is the bloodymindedness of landlords in preferring to have their apartments unlet for months at a time rather than drop the rent by 500 RMB a month.

It's starting to look depressingly as though I shall stay put in the same place for the sixth straight year.