After living in my new apartment for two weeks, my landlord called me to let me know I would need to pay rent for the 3 days that I was in the unit before April 1st. Fine. This could have been taken care of on day one, and it probably wouldn’t have left a bad taste in my mouth.
Charging at a prorated amount like that is greedy. They obviously didn’t have the unit rented which is why I had my choice of a move-in date. In other words, they didn’t lose any money by having me move in before the first of the month. Now, I know my landlord has the same mentality as AT&T and Comcast when it comes to billing.
Unlike huge market-dominating corporations, apartments are a dime a dozen. I have a lot of choices where to live. My landlord is shorting themselves because I’m now less likely to renew my lease or even extend it. If I extend my lease by one month, that’s a 10x payout compared to the 3 days they’re collecting now. In fact, extending one month by one person covers the “cost” of nine others not extending or renewing.
A landlord’s job is easiest with consistent tenants. Nickel and dime-ing them doesn’t pay off or create a trusting relationship. With 8 units over 10 years you could have between 0 more like 80 and 240 tenants (4-12mo leases). If all 240 tenants moved in 3 days early and you charged them $50/day, you would make $36,000 (and have to deal with collecting that extra invoice, applications, move-out and move-in cleaning, more maintenance, etc. every 4 months for each unit). If just two of your 80 tenants renew their lease, you would also make $36,000 ($50/day x 30 days x 12 months x 2 tenants) without any additional work.
Do the math, or do the work. Which will you choose?