I got my rent lowered by $300 per month!

You know what I did this week? Got laid off! Want to know what else I did? Took my own rent negotiation advice!

Oh, dear, it’s been a tough one. The non-profit I worked for, which served as my primary income, lost a key account along the lines of $200,000 and they had to cut someone from each department. Apparently, the official tag line is, “:Last one in, first one out.” Or, I was the last person hired so . . .the first one to leave. I really loved my job and know that I was good at it — so it’s been rough.

My roommate, actually, is leaving the city because she can’t find a job and graduates from grad school at the end of the month. So, armed with this knowledge and my own sad situation, I did the previously unthinkable: asked my New York City landlord if it would be possible to temporarily lower the rent. I admitted the awkwardness of the situation and that he had no obligation to adhere to me and my remaining roommate’s request and that I knew we had a set rent fixed until October but. . .could he help?

He wrote back saying he understood the situation, and asked how much we would need off the rent.

I said that anything would be helpful, but that $300 would be ideal($100/person), thinking he’d cut it in half.

Except, he said okay. To the entire amount. And that we’d discuss it again in October when the lease was up. And that for such great tenants, he was happy to help.

To be honest, I’m kind of floored. Shocked. Totally dumbstruck. One hears all these landlord horror stories. People horror stories, really. That the city’s a tough place and people could give crap about anyone else. Except, what I’ve realized in this week of total panic, is that most people are really very decent. I don’t know how to thank my landlord enough. Perhaps this isn’t him being entirely magnanimous, but prudent, as it’d probably easier to reduce our rent than it is to find new tenants right now — but I choose to believe the first possibility. I guess what I’m trying to say, is that times may be tough, but if you need help, ask for it. You may be surprised how many people are able and willing to help.

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Author My First Apartment

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I've lived in apartments in 6 cities (including 2 foreign countries). Does that make me an expert? As of now, my ceiling isn't leaking and I don't have rodents (knock on wood) -- so I'm going to say yes . . . but ask me again tomorrow:) These days, I'm enjoying life Chicago style, but my years in Brooklyn are never far from my mind. P.S. By day I work at Cars.com, but these opinions are totally, 100% my own.

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