Rent Too High? Lets Strip It Down
If you think the rent in Berlin has gotten exorbitant... well, you're not alone. In fact, one group is willing to give you the shirts off their backs to prove it. But wait – they're not stopping there! That's right, the group of demonstrators making a naked media splash, who go by the name, Hedonists International, have a unique way of protesting in the nude.
What the members do is go into an open house listing, look around, and once the rent price is disclosed, they, well, show the others just who they are. These people are strip and tired – oops, I mean sick and tired – of the increasingly unaffordable rental markets in desirable neighborhoods such as Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain. It's symbolism if you will. "Berliners don't have a lot of purchasing power – some people have to pay so much rent that they can no longer afford clothes,” said Hedonist International in defense of a nude-o-rama protest on Sept. 26. Furthermore, they stated on their website, "Although the apartment passed our party test, we were pissed about the rent of 11.50 euros per square meter – that's excluding utilities and heating costs."
AOL News reported that, “the protests haven't won the support of brokers – who say the demonstrations are juvenile – or real prospective renters, who say they don't want to see anyone's privates while searching for an apartment.” But seriously, who doesn't enjoy a free cocktail while house-hunting? Besides, this should make for an easier sell on the leasing side. Suppose you're a real estate agent showing an expensive “unit” (no pun intended) that is landlocked completely surrounded by other buildings. Once these members show up, strip down, and dance to techno music wearing nothing but a Mickey Mouse mask... you can now legitimately say the place has a view – well, a sight at the least.
According to The Independent, “the Berlin protesters admit to being inspired by anti-rent activists in Hamburg and Paris where similar demonstrations have been held.” What is wrong with you America? I actually have my real estate license and leased luxury lofts throughout Los Angeles and never once did I quote a price and have someone rip off their clothes. Maybe we can learn something here? Old fashioned clothed negotiation is completely overrated if you ask me. I'll tell you one thing, agents would do a lot more closing if perspective tenants would do a little more opening.
So let's hit the gym, do some body grooming, and get this economy back on track. And hey, you never know... What a great story to tell the grandkids one day as to how grandma got grandpa to lower the price of the apartment they both live happily in to this day.
(Image from AFP)