And the 'Lords Taketh from Renters

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Landlord drinks your milkshakeIt's a classic case of "come closer" turning into "get lost."

The 'lords - landlords - have given, and now are taking, from renters. A perfect illustration of this is featured in The New York Times. The story begins when an Upper East Side apartment developer found himself in the unenviable position of having unsold inventory during the market collapse last year. His apartments had an asking price of $2.995 million dollars each. Offers on the empty apartments topped out at "just" $2.2 million.

The solution seemed so easy...
Rather than sell the apartments below asking price the building owners courted renters. Come hither, renters. We love you! You can cover costs until the market rebounds and we can sell.

A family rented one apartment for $10,500 a month. The problem? Those renters are happy to stay put. The developer now has to wait until April to see if the family will exercise their right to buy or extend their lease. So, the developer is wringing hands over "the problem" with renters now that he wants to sell his apartment. Nevermind the renters have saved his skin these many months...

Its a not-so-unfamiliar scenario. Everyone loves renters when the market is low, "good renters" (those with jobs and decent credit) are scarce, and most critically, costs must be covered. Suddenly, however, renters are "the problem" when developers or individual home owners decide it's time to sell.

If you knowingly rent a house or apartment that the owners will want to sell soon, protect yourself.

First, be sure to insist that the lease include a "90 day show clause." For example, if the owners plan to sell, insist that they cannot show the place prior to 90 days before you move out. Moreover, insist that the lease spells out that they will need to give you at least 24 hours notice prior to showing the house or apartment.

Last call, folks: the party is ending for renters.
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