Negotiating rent in Chinglish – Round 6

Our rent negotiations took a twist when the landlord called out of the blue and said she wanted us out (Round 5). They took a second twist when our neighbours told us that she was probably just trying to get us to offer higher rent (Round 5.5). They took a third twist (Round 6) when my 大妹妹 in Canada set a wedding date and we bought plane tickets, thinking we’ll be in North America for about half a year. We phoned Aunty Wang asking if we could stay until our plane leaves. She said she’d think about it. Jessica and I decided if we had to, we’d paid an extra couple hundred kuai a month (100元=$15).

Aunty Wang showed up unannounced on a Monday evening. The conversation went like this:

  • We sit down and review the situation. She says something about it being a really difficult situation, because it’s hard to find places to rent right now, and finding one for only three months (what we’d need if she didn’t extend our contract) is almost impossible. But her daughter really wants to renovate and move in here before Chinese New Year.
  • “Oh what to do…” She leaves an awkward silence. We’re supposed to offer some money.
  • We offer an extra 150/month. She counters with 200 in the blink of an eye ($30). We agree.
  • She says she’ll go try to convince her daughter to take the extra 600 kuai ($90), emphasizing how bad her daughter wants to move in before Chinese New Year. We assume there’s a good chance she’ll try for a little more money when she phones back after talking with her daughter.

I have to admit, whether she really has a daughter who wants to move in or not, this woman knows how to haggle.

2 thoughts on “Negotiating rent in Chinglish – Round 6”

  1. If you want to have fun, start negotiating on other things besides the apartment, ie: “We’ll pay an extra 200, but you have to lend us your Ayi once a week.” Probably won’t improve your relations with your landlord, but you’ll find out how much she wants the extra $35.

    This actually worked for me in a job negotiation once. Rather than provide training, my employer tossed in some extra cash since the request was reasonable.

  2. Yeah, we do stuff like that to get repairs/improvements done. Last time it was “we’ll agree to the 100 kuai increase if you repair A, B, and C, and we’ll pay once the repairs are all finished.”

    Amazing how fast work gets done when you’re holding 6 months of rent hostage. Paying a year at a time also knocked 100 a month off the rent for that year.

    Overall, these are pretty decent landlords, and the amount they’re asking for isn’t unreasonable at all for this kind of place in Tianjin right now.

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