apartment transfer
April 24, 2014 11:21 AM   Subscribe

How to get more information on transfer fees?

I signed a lease a couple of weeks ago on an apartment. I'm basically not happy with the apartment due to some noise issues (both neighbor and traffic). I have a lot of difficulty sleeping anyway, and this is making it worse. Anyway, I went to the apartment manager's office to ask what my options are. They told me that I can transfer to a different apartment in 6 months, but that I would have to pay a transfer fee, in addition to paying back concessions. I asked if I'd have to pay the transfer fee even if I was at the end of my lease, and they said yes. Then I asked for a copy of the transfer policy in writing, since it wasn't in the lease. They couldn't give it to me, but gave me an explanation that since the apartment has changed management companies, that this was the new company's policy. It is not a huge fee ($150), but if I can avoid paying it, I'd rather do that. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me that they wouldn't charge this fee for someone new, but that they would for an existing tenant. I've read somewhere online that the fees have to be in accordance with state law, but I don't know how to go about finding it. Does anyone have an idea where I could go to get information on this?
posted by jenh526 to Work & Money (3 answers total)
It is just a way for the complex to make money. Think about it they are going to have to clean your old place and get it ready for someone new so they are recouping some of those costs.

I've lived in probably 8 apartment complexes over the last 10 years and about half of them had this fee, especially recently in this city where occupancy rates are well north of 90% and they can charge fees because what are you going to do? move? HAHAHAHA.
posted by magnetsphere at 12:28 PM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Does anyone have an idea where I could go to get information on this?

Check your state, county, and municipal websites for information on landlord-tenant relations. There may be a local agency or a local branch of a larger agency that you can call about this.

From where I'm sitting--IAAL but IANYL--I don't see any way around this. You almost certainly do not have the right to move out of the apartment until your lease is up. This means that the landlord is not required to let you move before then without finding you in breach of the lease and demanding whatever damages the lease permits under such circumstances. Which in turn means that if they decide to charge you for letting you move anyway, there may not be a whole lot to be done about that. Whether or not they have the policy in writing isn't necessarily going to matter. It's not in the lease, so it's not covered by the lease, meaning they can probably charge you or not as they see fit.

Again, check with your local resources, as there may be laws/regulations/ordinances on point that I don't know about. In fact, there almost certainly are, it's just a question of whether they matter here. They might. They might not. You'll have to check.
posted by valkyryn at 12:47 PM on April 24, 2014

If they rent to a new tenant, they've just increased their occupancy by one unit. If they transfer an existing tenant, they have to ready both units for new occupants and have not increased their occupancy at all--and the old unit might be less desirable since most people aren't going to transfer for no reason. So from that perspective, it at least seems sensible. Keep people from requesting it frivolously, basically.
posted by Sequence at 3:14 PM on April 24, 2014

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