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I live in Washington state and am trying to negotiate some terms in the rental agreement (Specifics below). The corporation representative replied due to fair housing laws they are unable to modify the contract. Is this correct?

LEASE CONTRACT

  1. MOVE-OUT INSPECTION

You may meet with our representative for a move-out inspection. Our representative has no authority to bind or limit us regarding deductions for repairs, damages, or charges. Any statements or estimates by us or our representative are subject to our correction, modification, or disapproval before final refunding or accounting

Modified to:

  1. MOVE-OUT INSPECTION

You may meet with our representative for a move-out inspection. This inspection will serve to notify the renter of any damages or deductions that will be made and offer the course to remedy these prior to the move-out date. If the condition of the unit upon move-out is the same as the inspection, the inspection cost estimation will serve as binding.

BUY OUT AGREEMENT:

(g) you pay us the amount of any concessions you received when signing the lease Contract;

SECTION 1.1 (G) MODIFIED TO:

Any concessions granted upon signing the lease Contract will be calculated on a pro-rated basis based on the move-out date against the term of the lease. Any concession value not consumed during the occupancy period will be returned to Guide Property Services.

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Seattle city policy regarding "fair housing" is that

property managers demonstrate fair housing by gladly receiving inquiries from all; applying fair and equitable criteria when evaluating applicants; enforcing rules equally and without discrimination; setting rents, deposits and fees without discrimination; responding to repair requests and other tenant concerns equally; providing reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities.

Out of an overabundance of legal caution, a management firm might decide that this means "follow the rules, no negotiations". The "first in time" law (first qualified applicant gets the apartment) is an indication regarding city policy (although the law was later judicially invalidated), so their policy may reflect such considerations. If this is not Seattle, there will be less legal pressure to preclude negotiations. Federal, state and local statutes do not directly mandate that there can be no negotiations.

It is reasonably likely that they are not authorized to change the lease terms, and the landlord may be disinclined to entertain such requests. Shifting blame to putative legal restrictions is one way to dispose of objections to company policy.

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