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I’m Bart Murphy of Murphy Investments, Sam Cooper’s landlord. Sam Cooper exaggerates his negotiation skills and misrepresents what occurred when he asked us for a rent reduction and I’d like to set out what actually happened.

I’ve been a small business owner in the Mission and Noe Valley for over 25 years. I reduced Sam Cooper’s rent $350 per month in return for him signing a 12 month lease extension. It made sense for me to not have a vacancy in a softening rental market. To be honest, I didn’t even read his email analysis or self professed “shrewd” psychological prompts contained therein. First time I read them was in his post on this site. When Sam asked my office for a rent reduction, I just figured out what it was worth to me to avoid a vacancy in a softening rental market, not because Sam’s a master negotiator but rather just a simple economic calculation on my part. It made far more sense to have Sam in occupancy for the next 12 months on a binding lease at today’s market rent or even at more than market as things continue to slip. I figured out current market rent, offered it to Sam in return for a 12 month lease, he was happy and I was happy. I don’t think that makes either of us a genius. I acted fairly, decently and in good faith. I even gave him temporary free parking for a friend he had visiting. But I guess no good deed goes unpunished! So I was surprised to read Sam’s self-serving and inaccurate post bragging about his “strategy” in getting a rent reduction.

As a long time consumer of real estate professionals’ services, I would never use or recommend my friends use a real estate agent that was less than forthright and acting in good faith in his negotiations on my behalf.

The Romans had it right. “Caveat Emptor — Buyer Beware”.

But I do hope Sam enjoys his new flat screen TV and Hawaiian vacation.

Bart Murphy

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