Lease "concessions" in Austin
September 26, 2008 11:26 AM   Subscribe

Question about "concessions" on standard apartment leases in Austin/Texas.

The current trend for the past several years on apartment leases in Austin (I don't know how widespread the practice is outside of Austin) is to state an artificially inflated "market rate" for the apartment, and then offer a "concession" to lower it to the rate that the tenant actually pays. This lower rate is the one that is advertised (the "market rate" is never mentioned until actually signing the lease), and is the one that is similar to advertised rates of other comparable apartments (who are also playing the same game). The issue is irrelevant unless you need to move out early, in which case the lease stipulates that you must pay back all of the "concessions" received to date, which can add up to a hefty sum (in some cases, more than the sum of the rent for the remainder of the lease term). According to this paper, these fees are actually illegal (despite their pervasiveness and despite the tenant's signature on the lease), and courts will not uphold them if the landlord actually attempts to sue. My question is, has anyone successfully negotiated with a landlord to drop these fees and get out of a lease for a reasonable reletting fee? How?
posted by cdavis to Law & Government (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Call the Austin Tenants Council. They are the experts on this, and their advice is free, but you will have to call many times some days to get through.

I have been renting in Austin for several years and have never seen anything like this on any of my leases. Granted, I've never lived anywhere too posh, and a couple of the places were condos/houses owned by an individual.
posted by fructose at 3:09 PM on September 26, 2008

Here is ATC's website, btw:
posted by fructose at 3:09 PM on September 26, 2008

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