Many renters say that a few little white lies can help prod a reluctant landlord to make repairs or even help with lease renewal negotiations.
Is a little white lie ever acceptable? Some say yes, especially if it means improving living conditions.
Do the ends really justify the means? It depends. But when you’re renting, it can sometimes feel as if the landlord holds the cards to your happiness. Which is a bonus if your landlord is the type who bakes cookies and upgrades your appliances.
But there are certainly landlords who don’t always do the right thing. In those cases, renters sometimes feel it’s easier to tell a harmless white lie to improve living conditions than it would be to withhold rent, sue, or try to break the lease — all of which could backfire.
Of course, no one should lie about big, important matters, such as saying you’re employed to get the rental when you really can’t afford the place or trying to sublet an apartment when you know perfectly well your lease has a “no subletting” clause.
But many renters say that a few little white lies can help prod a reluctant landlord to make repairs or even help with lease renewal negotiations. Whether you’re shopping for apartments for rent in Boston, MA, or San Diego, CA, here are four common white lies that renters tell.
“My allergies are acting up”
In this scenario, the renter isn’t lying so much as embellishing. If they really do have allergies (or some other chronic health condition) and the old AC unit is stirring up dust more than actually cooling the place, they may feel justified in speaking up about it to the landlord.
Even if they haven’t yet experienced any negative health effects, many feel it’s an easy first step to take before looking for a new place. The landlord probably doesn’t want to take the time to find a new tenant. Plus, a new unit will very likely be more energy-efficient, and that will save everyone some dough on energy bills.
“I saw a couple of mice”
Again, the key word here is embellishment. Yes, there was a mouse — and maybe even some scratches that could totally be more mice hiding in the walls. But who wants to go mouse-hunting?
So the renter in this case might exaggerate slightly and say “a couple” when the landlord asks how bad the mice invasion is. It’s important to keep small problems from turning into big ones. Not only can mice nibble on the snacks in kitchen cabinets, but they can also destroy clothing and other materials with their sharp little teeth.
(Note: Some rodents are actually considered to be a public health hazard, so if the landlord doesn’t respond to complaints, check with the city to see if they’ll help instead.)
“I lost my key fob”
In this case, the renter didn’t lose that key fob to the keyless entry at their door — they just want a spare. Maybe they just know they’ll lose it. Maybe they’re hoping to give one to their BFF.
Whatever the reason, it’s always nice to have a backup when it comes to being locked out of your own place. Just know that if renters go this route, they’ll probably have to take the consequences that go with it — such as paying a replacement fee. (It’s also worth asking the landlord if they plan to deactivate the original key fob before supplying a new one.)
“I’m going to move”
The lease is up, and the landlord has slapped tenants with a hefty rent increase. If you definitely do not want to move but aren’t crazy about paying higher rent either, this could be used as a negotiation tactic.
Renters here might tell the landlord that they love the place but can get a better one for less, so they won’t be renewing the lease. Showing the landlord the lower rent can demonstrate the tenant is ready to negotiate.
Especially for good tenants who pay the rent on time and keep the unit maintained, landlords may not want to lose the steady income — and might even agree to forget about the rent increase, or at least raise it only a smidge.
PS. I personally consider telling the truth no matter the consequences. Someone else might think those “lies are just their own perspective of the true.
What do you think? Share your experiences in the comments below!