My apartment lease expires on July 27, more than four months from now, so I was quite surprised to get the following note last week from the real estate agent who found me the place:
How are you doing?
The landlord keeps calling me these days, he wishes to increase the rental. As per the agreement signed last year is 18 months’ one, so I just simple told him that he does not have the right to increase the rental every time he mentioned the increase to me.
However, the landlord still insists on it, and would like to arrange a meeting with you to talk about the issue. It seems that if no agreement is reached, he may break the lease and pay the compensation to you.
Please let me know what your thoughts are.
The landlord “insists” on raising my rent. Well, we have a signed contract, just like the one I have with my company. Can I insist they raise my pay? Anyway, I basically told the agent to bugger off:
I fully understand your point.
As the Olympics is approaching, the rental at [name of my building] is increasing, the rental for the size of your apartment can be leased at RMB7,000-8,000/mth, which definitely tempts the landlord to increase the rental.
I really suggest that you and landlord meet with each other sometime late afternoon to further talk about it, it should be benefit.
Ah, so now we know what it’s all about. The landlord sees dollar signs (or RMB signs). He’s already making a fortune off of my bloated rent, but he could make even more. When I told her the landlord could take me to court, she replied with the landlord’s sob story.
I agree with your point of view and have tried to convince the landlord that he should follow the terms in the agreement.
To keep you updated, here is his response when I spoke to him today:
-with the increasing interest of the loan, the current rental can not even cover the loans not tell benefit, it is high pressure for him;
-the inflation is very high here, hope you could understand it;
-would like to talk about lease renewal after solving the current issue.
We have a signed contract that cannot be changed without the consent of both parties. I would prefer not to meet about this, thanks. We had an agreement that you helped arrange. I appreciate that, and expect our agreement to be kept, no matter how greedy the landlord might be.
This has nothing to do with inflation, by the way – he is greedy. The inflation rate in Beijing is at 8.5 percent, so an 8.5 percent increase might be fair, or even 10 percent, to help him to deal with it. But inflation affects you and me too – I do not ask for a raise because of inflation. That only creates more inflation.
The melodrama is unresolved. The greedy, fat landlord with his Patek Phillipe watch and Zegna suit – the poor guy who’s being so devastated by the rising price of pork and cooking oil – is beginning to understand I won’t budge. I also suspect that when July comes around he will double my rent, and I will need to find a new place. So I’m starting my search now and will move out as soon as i find another place. Any suggestions?
All landlords are evil. It’s just that here some of them wear their evil on their sleeve. To hell with the lot of them.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.