House/Apt hunting during the pandemic
April 13, 2020 7:56 AM   Subscribe

Have you recently looked at houses/apartments and moved? What did you learn or suggest for both looking and on moving?

Since my landlord won't extend my lease 3 months for less than an additional 30%-50% of my current rent, I will be forced to move mid-May. I want to move in with my partner and because of circumstances now probably her current roommate/best friend. Not moving really isn't an option... I suppose I could technically afford a 30% rise in rent but morally I just really can't support a landlord who's this much of an asshole and partner/roommate have been laid off and I need resources to potentially support them.

Anyway, my fallback is I can move in solo with my partner's mom into her basement (which is quite nice) then I move again in a few months with my partner. I'd rather just get it all done... so yeah, if anyone has done this responsibly/neatly, please let me know. I've been isolating, wearing gloves/masks if I have to leave, etc.

My state doesn't have very many infections, but we're one of the few without a shelter-in-place order. Once we move in, we can all go back to isolating completely.
posted by OnTheLastCastle to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Most landlords are thrilled to have tenants who can pay rent right now. Maybe s/he has someone willing to move in to your unit in the middle of a pandemic. Maybe they're just looking to profiteer off of the situation. Do you have a sense for which it is? A lot of jurisdictions aren't performing evictions for the foreseeable future. A tenant could potentially just sit tight and not pay any rent at all, and there would be nothing the landlord could do. Might be worth talking about that with your landlord. I'm sure they'd rather get their typical rent in full and on time for three months than have to deal with that.

Given that you're in a state without a shelter-in-place order, you're probably also in a state with terrible tenants' rights, so be careful.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 9:14 AM on April 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: My friend works for this city's economic development office and I know for a fact this large complex has a massive vacancy rate. The apartment below me and 1 of the 2 next to me are vacant and have been for a long time. They are just a very large company that doesn't care.

I did talk to them. That was their offer. I countered. I was told no. Please believe me, the question isn't about negotiating with my landlord because they don't care.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:24 AM on April 13, 2020

A tenant could potentially just sit tight and not pay any rent at all, and there would be nothing the landlord could do. Might be worth talking about that with your landlord

This is almost the textbook definition of extortion, so if you do this, definitely do not put anything in writing.
posted by sideshow at 10:25 AM on April 13, 2020

Best answer: I am also moving due to a landlord that won't budge. Our lease is up so we won't be breaking it. I asked if they are considering any type of concessions over the next few months, or any type of short term leases, but the management company thinks that it will be business as usual going into the summer. I think they are being delusional though I wish I could get on board with their optimism. They will only offer us a 12-month lease at current rent terms. They are also a large national company.

We're moving to a cheaper place in a lower COL area. We will be using movers who are considered essential workers. It would be impossible to do it ourselves as I'm pregnant and we have a toddler. We will wear masks and I've ordered rubber cleaning gloves since I can't find any others. It may be risky overall to move but we do not have another option at this time. My husband was laid off and staying in our current place at our current rent is not feasible for the next 12 months.

I think if you can move into your partner's mom's basement and then ultimately in with your partner, that sounds like a secure financial move in these uncertain times. Best of luck.
posted by kmr at 10:44 AM on April 13, 2020

This is almost the textbook definition of extortion, so if you do this, definitely do not put anything in writing.

Yeah, I guess I'm envisioning the actual conversation more like "Hey landlord, I can't move during this. I'm going to keep paying you $X. If you think you need to try to evict me now, do what you need to do." The rest of that maybe goes unspoken. Though I don't think it's extortionate to note that eviction courts are closed (if they are). Definitely no more extortionate than raising rent 50% in the middle of an outbreak.

But they seem like they deserve another vacant unit. Our neighbors are moving. They had movers over last week packing them out (in Florida). They had an open house three weeks ago, which seemed insane. People are definitely moving. I think camping out in basement apartment if you can socially distance sounds like a good plan, assuming you don't need to move a ton of stuff. Can you put it in storage until you're ready for more permanent accommodations?
posted by the christopher hundreds at 11:15 AM on April 13, 2020

Best answer: Just a datapoint: I live in NYC, am looking for a place starting June 1, and I think this is the best apartment huntung experience I've ever had. Everyone is desperate. They all call back right away, which never happens. One fellow knocked $200 off just when I asked and he was willing to give me a 2 year lease at the same price right off - both things I've never encountered here. Apartment hunting in the apocalypse - who would have known?
posted by overhauser at 11:50 AM on April 13, 2020 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: If anyone is curious for an update, we did find a nice little house and are moving in Saturday. I see people moving out of my apartment complex daily, just constantly and I believe maybe 1/3+ of the units are vacant. There are hundreds total here so that's quite a lot. They sent all tenants a very patronizing email and list of all local charities shortly after I tried to negotiate with them.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 7:59 AM on May 14, 2020

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