Strike a deal or not? What would you do?
We have an agreement with our landlord – or do we? The day arrived when we had our meeting with him. Contrary to our expectations, he didn’t come to measure the apartment and do his own calculations. He came to settle things once and for all.
He wanted to negotiate with us and I wondered if we could meet halfway to satisfy both parties. Since my boyfriend and the landlord both speak Dutch, I was just a silent listener, sitting at the kitchen table observing the scene. After my boyfriend offered the landlord the obligatory cup of tea, coffee or water, the game of who would blink first began.
Be patient, Verena
For the next 20 minutes or so both tried to explain how they came to their decisions. However, I just had the feeling they were beating about the bush. I think I mentioned in one of my previous blogs that patience would be one of the lessons I would learn from this process, but sitting there at the kitchen table, I realised that I hadn’t learned any lessons yet.
I was about to jump up and ask them to get down to business when I realised that my Dutch wasn’t good enough to get my message across and any impatient or slightly aggressive behaviour would not improve the situation.
So I sat there and waited. Finally, the landlord got his mobile phone out, did some calculations and said he was willing to give us a rent reduction of €236, including lowering the service costs.
My first reaction was pure joy. I really had to suppress my beaming smile and when my boyfriend and I had had some time to discuss the offer, we both agreed that we had never expected such a generous offer and were happy to strike a deal.
Drop the complaints
That’s when the trouble started. As a condition of the rent reduction, the landlord wanted us to drop all our complaints. This seemed fine because we had reached an agreement we were happy with. However, when we talked to Denise about dropping all our complaints, she reminded us that the landlord hadn’t taken into account that we had paid too much for our service costs for the last couple of years. Therefore, she advised us not to drop those complaints nor the one about the leak. She had a point.
In the end we only dropped the complaint about the basic rent reduction. When we told our landlord about this, he couldn’t see things from our point of view and reminded us that we had accepted his offer. He therefore assumed that we were happy with it.
Caught between two stools
At the moment, I’m caught between two stools. On the one side is Denise with her experience and her advice not to drop all our complaints. On the other is the landlord, who made an offer I’m happy with. I’m in the middle and I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!!! One minute I agree with Denise and the next I don’t want to ruin my relationship with our landlord. I do give him credit for his offer, but is it the right thing to accept it?
What would you do?