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Dear Ms. Demeanor: Is it rude to ask my neighbors how much rent they pay?

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Dear Ms. Demeanor,

I am sure that you know that rents in this city are notoriously variable and under better wraps than most state secrets.  We are renegotiating our lease.  It is rude to poll the neighbors with similar apartments to find out how much they are paying?

Signed,

Really Rental

Dear Really Rental,

It is amazing that a StreetEasy.com account is all it takes to know what just about anyone paid to buy an apartment but, as you so astutely noted, there is no such transparency in actual rents.

It is rude to ask?  Strictly speaking, yes.  It is wise?  Probably.  I don't know where you are on the chutzpah meter, but if you really want to know and really want to come prepared to the negotiating table, ask away. (Chances are your neighbors wouldn't mind knowing what you pay either.)

I personally would feel comfortable asking only neighbors with whom I am friendly (and I would ask sheepishly) but there are really no rules here.  This is business....This is Manhattan real estate....This is war!

May the negotiation be swift and in your favor,

Ms. Demeanor


Ms. Demeanor is channeled by a longtime Manhattan vertical dweller and real-estate voyeur who writes under the pen name Jamie Lauren Sutton. She is here to commiserate, calm and correct. Please email your quandaries to msdemeanor@brickunderground.com and put "Dear Ms. Demeanor" in the subject line.

See all of Ms. Demeanor's advice here.

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