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I'm trying to get my property manager to move me (total household = me + minor child) from a 1 bedroom unit to a 2 bedroom unit. I actually thought this would be a simple request but it's not happening.

Background info: have lived in this complex for 19 months, pay rent on time, to my knowledge do not cause any problems. The complex is 72 units, 66 of which are 2 bedroom units. There is an onsite property management office. There is the head honcho, I'll call her "G", who has been managing this place since 1985, but she is sort of a figurehead at this point. She is also somewhat temperamental. The two other employees, I'll call them "A" and "T", are new, both started around the first of the year.

  • In February I asked about moving to a 2 bedroom unit and was told there were none available. I asked if they have a waiting list. "A" wrote down my name and current unit and said I was on the waiting list. I didn't put too much faith in that but it wasn't urgent at the time so I let it go.
  • In early April I asked again and "A" said there were still no 2 bedroom units available.
  • Mid-April I saw a 2 bedroom unit advertised publicly. I called and politely mentioned having seen the advertisement and asked if something had changed. "A" told me that the 2 bedroom in question "won't be ready for a while... maybe a month or so." I said I could wait a month. She said they would contact me later that week to show the apartment. They didn't.
  • April 28 I called again. "A" said that apartment was not ready but she could send her co-worker "T" to show me another 2 bedroom unit so that I could "get an idea" of what they were like. I saw the model unit and it was fine. I asked when the actual unit would be ready and I was told by "T" to "call after May 15th." *
  • May 13th the maintenance guy mentioned that "A" showed and leased a 2 Bedroom that morning. I did not want to implicate the maintenance guy so I called and told "A" that I was "checking in". "A" said, "Okay, you're on the list for the next one. You don't need to call us, we'll call you when it's ready. It's going to be a few weeks."

Now, I have noticed the public advertisement is still up on a popular apartment search website, so I don't have a lot of confidence that I'm "next on the list."

So. I'm not sure where to go from here.

Some people have advocated the "squeaky wheel" technique and advised that I call them regularly - say, once a week - until they give me a 2 bedroom unit. I think I have a naturally abrasive personality and that this is likely to backfire. Some have even suggested going over "A" and "T"s heads to "G" but I see this as really not smart. I can't tell whether they're just disorganized in which case it probably would be to my advantage to be a little squeakier or if they're trying to give me the message that it's not happening. I really like where I live in general and have not found anything comparable in my searching, otherwise I would have just moved by now. I have realized in the last few years that my whole life I've tended to be very socially obtuse and tone deaf in my dealings with people and am really trying to change, so:

How can I be persistent but not annoying when dealing with these property managers?

* (I should mention this place has a policy of not letting you sign the lease until the day you move in, presumably to prevent the scenario in which the tenant changes their mind after signing the lease but before taking possession of the premises.)

  • 1
    Hey user, welcome to IPS! I gave your question an edit to focus on markdown and spelling out 'bedroom' a few times. It looks good! If you haven't yet, take a look at our tour, help center, Interpersonal Skills Meta, and once you've earned some reputation, also Interpersonal Skills Chat. If you're also interested in answering some questions, please check out the citation expecations post on meta, it explains something about what we expect from answers here and how the site is supposed to work. Again, welcome and good luck! – Tinkeringbell May 25 '20 at 15:03
  • When does your current lease expire? – JenInCode May 28 '20 at 12:36
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I have moved a ridiculous amount of times in my life and have done the very thing you are trying to do. I did have to do some pushing, too. I think maybe many factors come into play, but it does sound like you have a potential challenging personality to deal with regarding "G", and perhaps with the others as well.

Here's what I would suggest:

Go personally into the office - perhaps even call to make an appointment with the top person, which may need to be "G" from the sound of the structure of things. I think, for lack of a better term, some "sucking up" may be in order to get you what you need. As soon as you get in and sit down, thank them for meeting with you. Start from the beginning and act like you've not made multiple requests, so the animosity from your prior calls is out of your mind and, more importantly, off of your face. (I personally have a face like a billboard, if I'm annoyed it shows so I have to be careful with that which is why I mention it) Then, as difficult as it may be, smile and politely explain your situation - that you and your child simply need more space and it would really help you if they could allow you to upgrade. Let them know what you mentioned to us, that you like living in the complex and you are hoping it will be possible to sign another lease, but not if you cannot be upgraded to a two bedroom. In addition, you are willing and able to pay the increased rent for the two bedroom now, if they can move you sooner than the lease expiration date, and you will sign another lease to do so. You could, if you feel comfortable, offer to sign a longer lease, perhaps 18-24 months, for the two bedroom to show you're serious.

There are a couple of factors at play here. You are making the appointment and thanking them to show you respect them and their time. You can mentally prepare to be sweet and smile and ask nicely for a "favor". I find that when dealing with personalities where they are giving you the run around, especially in cases like this - where they seem to be imagining there is an "issue" this kind of placation works. They need to feel in charge, so let them. It is tedious to be sure, but effective in my experience. It is hard not to feel as though you are bending to another's will here, but you are really using this method as a tool to get your family what you need. They DO have the power, so give them that impression and they may acquiesce! I find that thinking about it like that makes it easier to just ignore their petty behavior and forge ahead. You have to live there a while, so being a "squeaky wheel" will make it awkward every time you have to interact going forward. This is an attempt to avoid that.

I think the key here may be to leverage that they will possibly have to re-rent your unit either way. This way keeps rent in their pocket and occupancy up (potentially even for an extended period of time) and the alternative (you might move out altogether) does not.

If this doesn't work, the next best play would be to try and go to the actual owner - this is a business, and you're a financial benefit to them by paying on time and staying long term. Sometimes, but not always, business owners are more logical. Hopefully it doesn't come to that.

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They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. You have to think of a different thing to do.

Here's one: reply to the ad. Say you want to look at it and move over to it if you like it. Just get yourself in the same lineup as the general public. Note: don't hide your identity or get a friend to apply or anything like that. Be blatant.

Here's another: stop reminding them of the known fact you want a two bedroom apartment, and instead ask why they are not giving you first chance at two-bedrooms that come up. Is that your old place will be hard to rent? Is it that they can charge more to new tenants? When you know the reason, you may be able to do something about it. Having the right to rent cheaply is worthless if it means you can never rent, right?

Once you know the reason, or if they say there is no reason it was just an oversight, somebody forgot, you can ask if there's anything you can do to help make it easier for you to be the one who gets the next one. For example, you might be prepared to move on an unusual day of the month, or to move in without it being deep cleaned and repainted, or to have your place listed as available while you're still living in it. Think of helpful things you can generously and warmly offer. Take a stance of "we're in this together" not "give me what I want" and see if that helps.

I generally say "you can't push a rope" when it comes to people like this. It means there's nothing you can do at your end if they don't want to do it for whatever reason. But what the heck, why not put in a little time and effort to seeing if you can get them aligned with your wishes. It might work.

  • Hi Kate, I like your response. I've never heard that expression about "can't push a rope" but i get exactly what you're saying and I've sort of said the same thing to myself in less concise terms. I will never know exactly what their reasoning is, whether I pissed off the wrong person, simple oversight, or something else. I also took your suggestion and applied through the online site. I considered some of the other factors you mentioned and they don't seem to apply but I agree about not having a sense of entitlement when I talk with them (I don't think I did but worth monitoring). – user29716 May 26 '20 at 16:22

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