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Heads Up When You Rent an Apartment at a “Discounted” Rate

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Lorie Shaull

“Dear PoPville,

I live in an Adams Morgan apartment recently bought and managed by UIP. When I toured the place last summer, I was quoted a rent of ~$2800. When I came to sign the lease, I was told the rent was actually ~$3200 but I’d be given concessions to the tune of ~$400. Being somewhat renter naive and in a hurry, I went ahead and signed the lease.

I was then more than a little embarrassed when someone pointed out at a tenants association meeting that if my base rent had actually been $2800, UIP would only be able to raise it by $98 as the legally allowed yearly increase (1.5% CPI + 2%). So, not only could UIP decide to simply stop giving me the concessions, effectively raising my rent by $400 a month, they *could* raise it another $112 ($3200 x 3.5%). My monthly payment could go from $2800 to $3312. Even if they don’t raise it that much, they can still raise it beyond the 3.5% simply by offering me less in concessions. Of course, I’ll move out before I’ll pay that much.

I felt a little less embarrassed when I discovered that several of my fellow tenants were in the same boat. I see people coming in all the time to look at vacant apartments and I want to warn them. To all those looking to rent in DC, please be aware of the ramifications of rent concessions!”

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