Is it unreasonable to ask my company to cover my apartment rent after I relocate?
March 10, 2012 6:42 PM   Subscribe

Is it unreasonable to ask my company to cover my apartment rent after I relocate?

Long story short, I accepted a relocation offer from my company and I've found a place to live in my new city. I signed the papers and all but the real issue is I haven't been able to sublease the apartment I currently live in.

I've used craigslist and renew my posting frequently. I've posted on sublet.com (paid $30), as well as on jumpoffcampus.com

My move date is by the end of this month and I haven't had a SINGLE bite from my listings and I'm scared that I'll end up having to pay rent on two apartments.

The catch is, we received a 'bonus' associated with the unexpected costs of moving.. so, for example, I'm going to have to re-register my car in the new state: boom, I can use the bonus to pay for that. It's just that I'm afraid the company will say that I should use that bonus money to cover my rent.. well, the problem is, I would have to use the entire bonus payment just to cover rent for the next 5 months.

Is it unreasonable to approach my company and ask them to cover the rent for my current apartment? How should I approach this? How do I ask? Who do I ask? What's the protocol for this?

For context, I'm 23 and this is my first job out of college. I'm no high-ranking VP or someone who can demand certain things (at least, not yet ;))
posted by 6spd to Work & Money (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
You can certainly ask for it--it's not unprofessional--but whether or not you'll get it is another matter.

If your employers don't bite, have you tried cutting your losses and offering the sublease at a reduced cost (i.e., you would pay the landlord, say, $500 upfront and the sublettor would pay $100 less per month for the five months)?
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:45 PM on March 10, 2012


It's rarely unreasonable to simply ask your employer for something.

In this case, it is unreasonable to expect them to do anything about it. You already accepted their offer. You could have negotiated them covering your rent prior to accepting the relocation offer. You could have refused the relocation offer. Since you already made the agreement, you're stuck with it. Even if they hadn't made the bonus offer, accepting the offer still binds you to it.

This is one of those life lessons to cover your bases. It sounds like you still won't be out any money for this situation, so consider an exceedingly cheap (even profitable!) lesson.
posted by saeculorum at 6:46 PM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait, can't you just break your lease? The worst that'll happen is you'll lose your deposit and the last month's rent, so that's 2 months instead of five?
posted by Oktober at 6:47 PM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


The worst that'll happen is you'll lose your deposit and the last month's rent...

This is why you don't take legal advice from Random Internet People. No offense to Oktober, but depending on where you live and what your lease says, you could be on the hook for much more.

Talk to HR and see what they'll do for you. A few months' rent on an apartment is peanuts to what they're paying you, so although they'll try to make you feel like they're moving heaven and earth, and no reasonable person could possibly expect assistance in this situation, they might chip in a couple o' bucks. And talk to your landlord; maybe rents have gone up, and they'd be happy to have somebody moving out.

Pro tip: find out what's going on in advance. You're not obliged to tell most of these people the truth. If rents in the area are up, then maybe you got laid off and are having trouble making the rent? The landlord can be a good guy by letting you out early, plus he's gonna charge the next tenant more.
posted by spacewrench at 6:56 PM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


A lot of landlords will work with you on lease terms. I looked into breaking my lease earlier this year because I thought my husband and I would be relocating, and they indicated that they'd be very open to negotiation if I could produce a letter from my employer. Definitely an avenue to explore.
posted by charmcityblues at 7:10 PM on March 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would recommend cutting your rent by 100 or more dollars. We finally subleased our apartment, and to took us kicking in an extra 75 dollars to make it happen.

Make sure you have lots of pictures (link to imgur gallery) and a decent description too.
posted by rockindata at 7:29 PM on March 10, 2012


Have you at least asked your landlord if you can get out early? Depending on how rent increases work in your jurisdiction, they might be happy to let you off the hook.
posted by mendel at 7:30 PM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


As many people have said, it's not unreasonable to ask, but I wouldn't expect to get it. The whole point of the bonus, as you've noted, the bonus is intended to "cover unexpected costs of moving". That would be this. It's not unreasonable that you spend the whole thing on this. Maybe I have low expectations from the corporate world, but I think you're lucky to get a bonus at all, especially as a young employee.

I think cutting the rent you ask a sublettor for is a pretty reasonable idea. Again, the bonus can cover what you've lost and you still be getting most of the rent.
posted by maryr at 7:39 PM on March 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Geez, talk to your landlord!

People relocate all the time. Landlords usually are pretty understanding about this. Whatever penalty you incur for breaking your lease, make sure there are receipts and get your company to reimburse you.
posted by jbenben at 7:48 PM on March 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's just that I'm afraid the company will say that I should use that bonus money to cover my rent.. well, the problem is, I would have to use the entire bonus payment just to cover rent for the next 5 months.

I don't see why that's such a huge problem, and specifically I don't see why that's their problem. How long is your lease for? What are the costs of breaking it? Do you really think that you won't be able to rent it out at all in five months? Assuming this is the Boston-Dallas relocation you asked about in late November, you probably haven't been advertising your place for that long. And the Boston rental market is supposed to be very tight right now - unless you have somewhere clearly overpriced or unlivable*, there's no reason to imagine it'll sit there for half a year. Are your ads any good? (Have you asked someone else to look at them?) Perhaps you could contact a rental agent and have them list your property.

re: jbenben's answer "Whatever penalty you incur for breaking your lease, make sure there are receipts and get your company to reimburse you." I would expect that lease-breaking costs also fall under 'unexpected costs of moving', and should be covered by the bonus.


*If this is the case and you managed to get yourself into a terrible arrangement, then maybe you will have to subsidize your subletter.
posted by jacalata at 8:26 PM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


You're within your rights to tell your employer this story and see if they will kick in more money, but I would recommend against it since it would come across as...not savvy. You didn't do your homework before agreeing to relocation. Your rent is apparently above the market rate. You haven't been able to cut a deal with you landlord. These are not the hallmarks of someone destined for success.
posted by backupjesus at 8:47 PM on March 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


Drop the price. This is the way to get a subletter, yes, you're on the hook for some extra per month but OTOH you get to choose from several interested parties rather than taking the one person who expresses interest.

I did this recently and ended up getting to select a primo subletter because in my area and under my lease, I'm responsible for anything they do to the apartment.
posted by arnicae at 9:01 PM on March 10, 2012


I've asked this of my company when I was relocating, as someone who was just two years out of college like you, and it was no problem. The difference was that I asked up front so it was clear from the beginning, but it wouldn't hurt to try now. They paid the fee/rent to break my apartment's contract no problem.
posted by peachtree at 1:26 AM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Instead of finding a subletter--which means you are narrowing your pool of renters to people looking for a sublet--advertise for someone who is willing to take over your lease. What the landlord cares about is having an empty apartment--eliminate this by supplying a replacement tenant and your landlord will be a lot more flexible about you breaking your lease.
posted by elizeh at 7:19 AM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is it unreasonable to approach my company and ask them to cover the rent for my current apartment? How should I approach this? How do I ask? Who do I ask? What's the protocol for this?
Just ask your HR or relocation specialist contact. This isn't a strange or bizarre request at all. When I had a team relocate from one state to another, about half of them asked HR for cash so they could do the move themselves. Most of them ended up with some free (but taxable) cash in pocket. HR never batted an eye.

If there is one thing that HR is good at, it is giving a firm but polite "No" to requests that are against policy. Don't be afraid of asking for stuff that might be denied.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:58 AM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's not unreasonable, but they may not go for it because you already accepted and this is very clearly something you want to negotiate before. Consider asking them to partially or fully cover it while you still attempt to find a sublessor. Have you spoken to your landlord about this? They may be willing to let you pay a penalty instead of the full term of your contract -- things like this (probably) happen at least occasionally in their world.
posted by sm1tten at 11:21 AM on March 12, 2012


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