Key Money

In negotiation, when one party is operating with timeline needs, and the other party is not and has the means to sustain, they have leverage and incentive to squeeze resources out of the time-constrained party.

I need to move this weekend, and that tight timeline and need has limited my ability to fight management on what I think is a key money violation. I saw an apartment where I was told I could apply directly with the management office. By doing so online, I apparently now began using a broker.

I think brokers are used as a mechanism to avoid this key money regulation, where access and final sign off on an apartment gets blocked by a high fee at the end. Local regulation states that a management office/agent can not do this, but a broker? Well that’s just a “fee”

A broker did not find me an apartment. This broker handed my paperwork to the management office. They gave me a lease that was a template provided by the city. I got the keys and coordinated with the super intendant.

By the time I got in touch with the management office, going direct was no longer feasible for my circumstance. They could legally drag their feet even if they allowed the direct application for a rent stabilized unit which is required by regulation. They could legally probably accept another application in place of mine if the buyers were there. And even if they did take my second application, I’d be at risk of denial (I guess terms for denial are explicit in regulatory code some where, so it probably could not have been for a relationship issue with a “broker”). So I paid.

I’m going to see if I can put together information to report them to the DA or some other regulatory check. That’s if they have the time or energy to even look into the small time actor.

How can I be more resilient to industries that have that leverage? How can I not fall into that trap?