Money is precious, right? So when it comes time to sign a lease, whether it’s a renewal or your first lease for this particular rental, you want to get the most bang for your buck. We’re right there with you! This begs the question – can you negotiate your rent? And if so, how? If these are similar to the questions currently spinning in your head as you’re choosing between apartments or debating renewing your lease, then you’re in the right place.
Is Rent Negotiable?
Let’s answer this question sooner rather than later – yes, your rent is negotiable. I’m not saying, however, that you can negotiate your way into paying less rent with every lease and landlord – it’s situational. But it’s always better to try and fail than to have never tried at all – right? Let’s keep our piggy banks (relatively) full and our apartments affordable, shall we?
So now that you know you can negotiate your rent, you need to figure out how to do so before signing a lease with either the landlord or property manager. If your lease renewal comes with a rent increase, or if your new lease comes with some hefty fees or high rent, then it’s time to consider negotiating. Remember, you can negotiate more than just a lower rent! Bring up move-in fees such as the administration fee or monthly charges such as pet rent. This can get a bit tricky, so let’s cover some of the basics.
How Willing Is the Landlord to Negotiate?
Before you get too far in, it’s best to ask the landlord or property manager the likelihood of negotiating rent. If they have a firm stance that the rent is set in stone and there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it, then it’s probably best you cut your losses and stay on good terms with this person, considering they have control of whether or not you get approved for this lease (or get to renew your current lease).
However, if you find that your landlord or property manager is swaying towards the side of leniency, then get to negotiating! Not too quickly, though. You’ll need to do some digging before things get too heated in this great debate.
Come Prepared to the Negotiation.
The first step to getting what you want in a situation such as this is coming prepared. Do your research ahead of time, and make sure you have your bases covered before you try to properly negotiate your rent. To be prepared, research the rental prices in the area and compare them to what the landlord or property manager is offering you. You should also check what the other apartments in the complex or units rented out by the same landlord currently cost. This will keep you from overpaying for an apartment and may also help you negotiate a lower rent.
For instance, if a landlord charges $1,100 for a one-bedroom unit, but is asking you for $1,250 for a similar floor plan in the same building, then bring this to his/her attention! It’s better to do your research and get a reasonable rate than to blindly accept the listed rent. If the rent is a fair price in comparison to other units or apartments in the vicinity, then it’s time to start promoting yourself as the ideal candidate for lower rent.
Prove That You’re a Good Tenant.
Whether you’re a current tenant for the landlord or property manager hoping to extend or renew your lease, or you’re applying to be a new tenant, you have some ground to stand on. If you have a reliable income (usually 3x the rent), a good rental history, decent credit, and no legal issues, then it’s likely the landlord or property manager will deem you as a good, reliable tenant.
But if you’re hoping to pay less in rent, then you need to make a case for yourself. It’s one thing for your application to be accepted, but it’s another to convince the landlord that giving you (the tenant) a lower monthly rent will be beneficial to them. It may be more than just selling yourself as a great tenant – you may need to offer the landlord or property manager something in return. And I’m not talking about bringing baked goods to the leasing office once a week – as delicious as that sounds, I just don’t think that’s going to cut it. So let’s get down to business.
Offer Something in Return.
What’s going to make the landlord or property manager agree with you and offer you lower rent? Well, it may take offering him/her something in return. If you’re dealing with a small property management company or an independent owner, you can offer to help with maintenance work (small repairs only) in your unit rather than filing a maintenance request. Your landlord or property manager may be more willing to compromise on the cost of rent, as this will save them time and money on simple repairs.
While offers such as this may intrigue some landlords or property managers, it may not be enough to sway (or be acceptable for) big-time property management companies – but it never hurts to ask! In another scenario, you could offer to pay several months’ rent upfront. This will prove that you have the funds to pay a higher rent, but you’re just hoping to spend less on rent and save more for future endeavors. Depending on what situation the landlord or property manager is facing with their properties, they may be willing to make this type of compromise with you – more upfront for them equals less overall rent for you.
You may find that negotiating lease length is an option, as well. Maybe you were wanting to sign a six-month lease, but that rent was going for $1,300. But the landlord or property manager agrees to negotiate on rent with you, and comes back with a 12-month lease for $1,150. If you’re able to sign a year-long lease and stay put for a bit longer than you anticipated, then paying less in rent may work for you this way! You’ll be paying more overall, but you’ll also have a home for six extra months at a lower rate than what you’d be paying for a shorter lease. Weigh your options!
Timing Is Everything.
You’ve heard this one before – timing really is everything. It’s important to time your negotiation wisely and know how much leverage you have when it comes to negotiating your rent. If the landlord or property manager is eager to rent the apartment – probably because the rental market isn’t ideal – then you have a pretty good chance of getting your way in the negotiation. Whether you’re renewing your lease or signing a new one, it may be the case that the landlord is willing to lower your rent rather than risk losing a tenant and having to look for a new one. However, if it’s prime renting time (during the late spring and summer months), then you may be out of luck.
This is the time of year when rental costs skyrocket (a bit dramatic, but you catch my drift), versus the winter months when you’ll find lower rents and move-in specials (can you say waived pet fees?). As long as you know the situational limits, come prepared, present yourself well, and time the situation correctly, you may just find that you can negotiate your way into paying less rent! Best of luck, my fellow renters.
Hi. My name is Michael Chadwick, and I’m a licensed real estate salesperson with Bonds New York in Columbus Circle. I help people buy, sell and rent real estate. Is rent negotiable in an apartment complex? It depends on how many apartments are available. If it’s a brand new development and there is hundreds of vacant apartments and the leasing agent is desperate to rent that thing out as quickly as possible, I’d say you have a shot; but, if there’s one apartment, two apartments, if we’re talking about West Village or Chelsea or, you know, somewhere in the Castro in San Francisco or near Market or like a really, really upscale, very low-vacancy rate area, good luck. If you don’t want to pay the rent, somebody else will. But, hey, what do you have to lose by trying? And, if any broker that tells you they’re not going to help you get a lower rent, move on to the next one. You know, but it’s our job to inform you of the market conditions that we were prepared and we don’t go in under false pretenses. So, that said, go ahead and try but most complexes are negotiable if they have a lot of vacancies. But, again, if they really don’t and it’s a hot market, there’s no reason that they’re going to negotiate the rent. So, what you have to decide is whether you want the apartment or you don’t. and while you waste time haggling, somebody else could be getting their application together and rent that apartment from under you.
Michael Chadwick is a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with Bond New York in Columbus Circle.
If you’re looking to rent a vacation home but don’t know where to start, you’re not alone. Finding the perfect holiday getaway isn’t easy, but there are ways to set yourself apart from the herd and guarantee you get the residence you want without breaking your budget.
As with most endeavors, planning ahead and being organized are the keys. This article will break down the process into nine easy-to-follow steps that you should take to secure the home you want at a great price.
1. Start Your Search Early
Avoid some of the stress and excessive costs that can go with trying to secure a vacation home, particularly during peak season and on short notice, by thinking, researching, and planning at least six months (but preferably a year) in advance. While this may seem excessive, keep in mind that vacation rentals—at least, the good ones—usually book up fast.
If you’re not sure where to start, your first step should be to nail down your destination and the approximate timing of your trip. Once you’ve made these decisions, a real estate agent who specializes in your area can be helpful in finding a vacation home rental. Consider contacting popular brokerages that have a large presence or looking for individual agents who are known and respected in the area you are visiting.
Also, online local newspapers can be a great resource (some rentals don’t go through a real estate agent) and so can websites that specialize in vacation rentals. For example, Vrbo.com provides details on rentals in all 50 states and numerous countries throughout the world. Craigslist also advertises vacation rentals.
2. Consult Multiple Sources
It’s very important to consult a variety of sources when vacation-house hunting. By shopping around and talking to many different people, you’ll not only learn more about the area you are visiting; you also may find yourself a better deal. Leave your options open by talking to several real estate agents and consulting multiple websites.
If you don’t live too far from your vacation destination, you might consider driving around the neighborhoods where you are looking to rent to see if there are any homes advertising for the season. While these strategies can be a lot of work, finding rentals in this manner may be cheaper in the long run because no brokerage fee will be involved.
Although the owner is responsible for paying this fee, the cost will typically be factored into the home’s rental price.
3. Read the Whole Contract
Unfortunately, people are often so happy they landed a vacation home they wanted and so eager to start having fun that they overlook the importance of the contract. This document should not be ignored. It explains what expenses you are on the hook for. It will outline not only your payment schedule but also your liability in case of damages or if extra cleaning is needed.
Make sure you understand who pays for:
- Utility Bills
- Phone Service
- Propane/Gas (if outdoor grilling is available)
Keep in mind that the costs involved in air conditioning or heating a vacation rental can be sizable, so be sure to factor those into your budget if the owner has not already included them in the rent. You should also be aware of the landlord’s policies regarding pets and subleasing. Vacation rental resources website HomeAway has several sample contracts and invoices to peruse so you can get a feel for what to expect.
It’s important to get a checklist of what’s included in the rental. For example, are beach chairs and a grill part of the deal? If they are, that could save you money. If not, you will need to factor that cost into your budget or consider bargaining for them—more on that in a bit.
As a general rule, before signing a vacation rental contract, you should consider having it looked over by a competent and licensed attorney that you trust, preferably one that specializes in real estate. This should certainly be done if you are unclear about any aspect of the contract. While attorneys can be expensive, spending a couple of hundred dollars for a review of the contract makes sense if it’s going to put your mind at ease and allow you to fully enjoy your vacation.
4. You Can Always Negotiate
Almost every cost of a vacation home rental is negotiable, from the amount of the deposit to the weekly or monthly rent. If the person renting the home out is unwilling to budge on either of these items, see if they’ll throw in an extra day’s or week’s rental at a slightly lower price. If the property isn’t booked and you know it, this can be a great leverage point when negotiating.
5. Don’t Forget the Deposit
Seasonal rentals may require a large upfront security deposit, so don’t forget to factor this into your budget. Also, be aware of the process by which your deposit will be returned. Understand what conditions must be met (i.e., if the home must be clean and all rental payments made) in order for you to get your deposit back. This will help prevent arguments at the end of the rental agreement period.
6. Ask About Housekeeping
Some rentals have a cleaning service come in on the last day, and the cost is billed to the person renting the home. Others may have cleaners come by periodically. Find out what the housekeeping schedule is and who is responsible for the bill. Also, find out what condition the property must be in for your full deposit to be refunded.
7. Photograph on Day One
To ensure that any existing damage is documented and you aren’t blamed for something you haven’t done, photograph or record a property tour on the day you arrive. Make sure you note any problem areas.
Do the same thing on your last day. If there is an argument before a mediator or a judge later on, this documentation may come in handy. It may even convince the owner not to take you to court in the first place.
8. Get a Contact Number
It’s great that you’ve gotten the keys to your vacation home and are ready to enjoy your time off, but make sure to get the owner’s or landlord’s phone number just in case there is a problem, such as a burst pipe or loss of electricity.
9. Walk Through Before Check Out
Before checking out, walk through the premises, preferably with the owner or landlord. Make sure that they see no problem with the condition of the property. This can prevent nasty surprises or unexpected bills. It can also buy you time to fix a problem if one is uncovered.
The Bottom Line
Renting a vacation home doesn’t have to be stressful. Thorough and advanced planning can make your holiday more enjoyable and help ensure that you’ll be able to book the home you desire at a price you can afford. With these nine steps, you should be able to ensure that your summer shack doesn’t turn your vacation into shambles.
You love the house but the rental price is out of touch with your budget. Don’t walk away dejected. Instead, consider negotiating the price and offering the landlord reasons and incentives to accept or counter your terms. Negotiation strategies can result in a win in a rental market – for both you and your landlord.
Understand your local real estate rental market before entering into negotiations with a landlord, and offer concessions to make your lower priced offer attractive.
Understand the Local Rental Market
Rental rates are largely unregulated, as an individual homeowner can ask for his desired monthly rental amount. Generally, the market will determine a fair rental price for comparable houses. For instance, four-bedroom houses with two bathrooms and similar features might rent within certain price points or for amounts that vary by less than a few hundred dollars per month. Before advertising his property for rent, a homeowner might view neighboring rental properties and require a monthly amount for his house that’s near the top of the rental range.
Know the Going Rates
Research can prepare you to intelligently discuss rental rates for a particular house. Classified newspaper ads and information shown online about local real estate may enable you to gather rental details for the type of house that you want. Local real estate agents have access to rental property databases and clients who list houses for rent. A combination of resources might provide you with enough data to convince a property owner to negotiate the rental rate for his house.
Consider Time on the Market
A property’s time on the market might impact your ability to negotiate a lower rental amount. For example, a homeowner who recently listed his house for rent may be less willing to negotiate during the first few months, while a homeowner who has a rental property that has been vacant for over six months might have a different perspective. A conversation with residents near the subject property or a real estate agent might enable you to determine the length of time a particular house has been on the market.
Negotiate With Facts
Negotiations might be necessary for a house that you want. If the rental price is too steep, you can discuss more competitive terms with the owner. A compelling reason to lower the rental rate is usually a favorable starting point. You must convince the owner that his rental rate is overpriced. Using your research to show lower priced rental properties for houses that are similar to the subject’s size and design might pique the owner’s interest. Information obtained from local real estate professionals can be used toward negotiating the rental rate for a house, too.
A property owner might have a firm rental price that’s non-negotiable. However, certain offers might entice a property owner to lower the rental amount for his home. Offering a larger security deposit or agreeing to perform general maintenance might help you obtain a lower rental rate. Solid employment references, favorable rental references and your agreement to replace light bulbs or to mow the lawn might enable you to negotiate the rental price for a house that you want. Ensure that negotiated terms are reflected in the rental lease to protect your interest if a dispute occurs.
- Zillow: California Houses For Rent
- Rent.com: Tips for Negotiating a Lower Rent
Ray Cole has written professionally since 1999 and has designed dozens of Web sites. Cole writes for eHow and "SF Gate." As a small business owner for over 15 years, he provides mortgage services, credit-related help and financial planning for his clients. Cole is currently writing a book about personal finance. He has also studied and taught martial arts for over 31 years.
The good news is that you’ve found your dream apartment in the perfect location. The bad news is that your heart skipped a beat when you were quoted a rent amount. If the rent on your ideal living spot—or even the apartment you’re already in—is making you feel the pinch, try negotiating for a better deal. There may be some wiggle room in your rental rate that you won’t get unless you ask the landlord. Speak up, and you may score a better deal.
Knowledge is power in rent negotiations. If you know where you want to live, check with some other rental properties in the area to get a feel for the average rent in the neighborhood. If you are looking at an apartment complex, try getting the dirt from some current residents about what they are paying. If the information you dig up suggests that the rent you were quoted is within the neighborhood norms, you may have minimal flexibility. However, if you find out that most people are paying less for similar properties nearby, ask the landlord to justify the difference and see if they are willing to come down to a price more in keeping with the location.
Good Credit and Rental History Benefits
It isn’t always easy for landlords to find reliable tenants who pay their rent on time and take good care of the property. If you have good credit and good references from previous landlords, use them to convince a new landlord that charging a little less per month to put a solid, dependable tenant in his property is a worthwhile trade-off. If you are working on lowering your rent on your current home, point out to your landlord how you’ve never been late on the rent and always properly maintained the property. He may be willing to deal to keep you as a tenant.
Landlords who have their choice for tenants have little need to bargain, so avoid busy renting seasons if you can. That means not trying to get a new place in August if you live around a university, or May if you’re renting an apartment near the beach. According to Forbes, if you’re negotiating lower rent on your existing home, be sure to start the process a few months before the lease expires so your landlord knows you have plenty of time to find a new home if she doesn’t deal.
When you’re negotiating, Forbes recommends you ask your landlord for a rent price lower than you think he’ll accept. Your lowball offer will likely solicit a counteroffer in response that you can live with.
Your ability to negotiate rent depends very much on the market where you’re looking. Landlords holding properties in in-demand locations don’t have much incentive to deal with you if the next applicant is willing to pay full price. However, in neighborhoods that host plenty of empty rental property, a landlord may be more than willing to make you an offer to avoid losing money on an unused unit. Calling apartment complexes in your desired area and asking them about their availability will give you an idea of how soft the rental market is.
If your landlord does agree to a reduced rate of rent, be sure to get it in writing. Although oral rental and lease agreements are legal in California, the state Department of Consumer Affairs recommends you get every agreement in writing so you can prove the agreement, should trouble arise down the line.
Many potential renters don’t realize that you can negotiate the rental price on the lease with the manager or landlord. This can be a tremendous benefit to the renter if they know what to look for in the lease and apartment, what comparable complexes there are around the area, and how to effectively negotiate for a lower price.
Simply going in and asking for more amenities, free parking, and a lower price isn’t going to cut it. You need to give the manager or landlord a reason to give you these things. You first need to do your research.
Let’s walk through both How and What to negotiate in your lease price.
Can I Negotiate Rent With An Apartment? The Benefits.
Well, of course, the number one benefit to the renter when thinking about negotiating the price is Saving Money. Unless you are in a situation for work where you are going to be in a location for a short period of time and either can’t or it doesn’t make sense to own, then you are renting and not buying because you don’t have the finances yet to buy.
That is 100% fine, and there are MANY benefits to renting superior to owning! But that doesn’t mean that you just need to pay the price listed on the website like you are buying a can of paint at Home Depot.
Rent can be expensive! Chances are, it’s 2 to 3 times the amount of your car payment, so ask yourself this… Did you negotiate the price for your car? Of course, you did!
However, just shooting for a lower price with your unit may not be the only benefit you can receive. There are many benefits you can potentially get simply by knowing your stuff and leveraging your buying power.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a small commission when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you!!
Here are some of the things you can negotiate:
- A free or extra garage at the complex close to your unit
- A better apartment with more bedrooms and amenities than the one you originally applied for
- Parking for you and guests
- Common space allowances for guests, such as the pool house and grill
- The PRICE
A great negotiating best seller resource to learn more tips and tricks is: Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It
How To Negotiate Rent With An Apartment Complex
Simply going in and asking for more amenities, free parking, and a lower price isn’t going to cut it. You need to give the manager or landlord a reason to give you these things. You first need to do your research.
First and foremost, how does the apartment compare in price to other apartments in the area? Is it cheaper, more expensive, or about the same? What amenities and features does one complex have over another. Does it have a pool and common area?
What about walk-out balconies on the higher floors? What part of town is the apartment complexes located in? Does the neighborhood or proximity to businesses and restaurants have a value to you?
If one has a price that is a bit lower than the one you are truly considering, but that complex has a pool and grill you can use at any time, perhaps that is what is driving the demand, and thus the price a bit higher. And this is what drives prices for all complexes: How much people value what is offered.
So… does the apartment have a balcony? What floor would you be living on? Is there parking nearby or right outside the apartment? What are the important features you are looking for, and how do the different complexes compare in offering those to you?
Knowing the answer to all of these questions is crucial when negotiating for price or benefits. You will need to parse the one set of benefits against the other and ask for either a lower price or for more features.
Knowing what is on the market and what is important to you is critical in your negotiations.
Offering to pay more upfront is going to be one of your biggest negotiating tools. More money upfront means a larger guarantee for the landlord. It says to the manager that you are more likely to be able to pay during the entire term of your lease if you make a greater payment, say a few month’s rent, right upfront.
And it is guaranteed money when you offer it upfront. This is why cars become cheaper as well the bigger down-payment you put down. A manager is going to be MUCH more willing to negotiate a lower rate or a better apartment or at least free parking if you offer to do this.
In some cases, you can get an entire month’s free rent if you pay upfront. This may seem like a lot of money to shell out upfront. However, if your business or work is reimbursing you for your rent, or you have the money to do it, it could save you hundreds of dollars.
It may not seem like much, but a month’s rent can pay a lot of bills, buy Christmas presents, or allow you to take that trip you have been wanting to go on.
Take the information with you when you go to talk to the manager. Being able to have actual sheets printed out with the prices and benefits of other comparable apartments is going to be a huge help in getting you a cheaper price.
Also, by showing him the information, it tells the manager that you are well-informed about the different choices you have, that you are price-conscious about your apartment, and that you aren’t making the decision lightly. You want the best bang for your buck and it shows.
Additionally, know that moving in during the winter has its benefits. There are way more people moving during the summer than there are during the winter, and let’s face it, if you live anywhere north of Texas, it is probably going to get cold for several months out of the year.
The manager or landlord is going to have pressure on them to fill their units, and they especially don’t want units going empty all winter. If their website has many units listed, they will probably be in the mood to negotiate a bit.
Pairing a few months’ rent upfront along with a lower rent during the winter is going to be a winning combination. Give it a shot!
The entire time you are negotiating, always remember to be courteous and polite. Sometimes, simply asking nicely for what you want is all it takes. If it isn’t a burden on the apartment complex, they might be willing to just give you that parking place you want in exchange for having you as a tenant for the next year.
Regardless, there is little downside to negotiating with the manager. At worst, you are in no worse off shape than you were when you went in, and at best, you could get precious dollars off your rent, a better apartment, and more amenities.
The dollars and cents that go into moving vary greatly depending on a number of factors.
It starts with determining your leverage.
By Alex Starace for MyFirstApartment.com
When you’re looking for an apartment, you might be under the impression that the list price is the only price. In some cases, that’s true. But if you’re a bit savvier, you could end up negotiating your way into a great deal. Before you approach the landlord, however, make sure you’ve done your homework.
Determine your leverage
Are you in a tight or loose rental market? In tight markets — where there are more renters than available apartments — it’s unlikely a potential landlord will negotiate. Why? If three or four other people are willing to pay list price for the apartment, a landlord has little motivation to lower the price for you.
A good way to determine whether you’re in a tight rental market is to browse apartment listings for a few days. How many open units are in each building? How quickly do listings disappear? The longer the listings are on the market and the more listings per building, the looser the market. Another way to tell: Have you had any apartment showings canceled because the place was suddenly rented? If not, this again points to a looser market.
In loose markets, landlords will be anxious to rent their place, even at a rate lower than list price. After all, an empty unit is a money-sink for landlords. If you’re offering to fill the vacancy, the landlord might be happy to lower the price, especially if the choice is between renting to you or letting the apartment sit on the market a month longer.
Can you demonstrate that you are a responsible person? Even in a tight market you can have personal leverage. Landlords want security and predictability. In the long run, these things save a landlord a lot of money. If you can demonstrate that you have these qualities — the primary attributes landlords look for are a steady job and good credit — you may get a landlord to knock a bit off your rent or to make other concessions.
Can you show commitment to staying? If you’re planning on staying in the apartment for two or three years or longer, that’s a big benefit in a landlord’s eyes. When a landlord has to rent an apartment to a new tenant every year, he or she loses a lot in transaction costs (repainting, brokers fees, professional cleaning fees), as well as in the simple effort of finding a new tenant. So if you’re planning on staying a while, highlight this when discussing what makes you a great potential renter.
Negotiate from strength
After you have determined where your points of leverage are, it’s time to make your move. When approaching the landlord, the key is to be confident and calm. Avoid hyper-aggressiveness or a mouse-like timidity. A good way to strike the right balance and show confidence is to know your stuff. Know what an average apartment rents for in the neighborhood. Compare the amenities in the apartment to those available in nearby complexes. Have in mind a price you think is fair for your potential place, and have reasons why — whether it’s because the kitchen is too small, or it doesn’t provide parking, or it’s simply too expense relative to comparable places in the neighborhood. And emphasize your points of leverage — that you’ll be a responsible, long-term tenant.
When negotiating, ask for an even lower price than you’re hoping to pay. Do this for two reasons: First, you might end up getting it. Second, if the landlord is at all interested in bargaining, you’ll likely need to meet halfway between your initial offer and the list price. If you give a low (but not unreasonable) initial offer, meeting somewhere in the middle will be a win for you, and both you and the landlord will feel like you’ve made a good deal.
In the end, successful negotiating is all about knowing the market, doing research about the specific apartment in your sights and negotiating calmly and rationally. If you do all this, you have a good chance of paying lower monthly rent. Good luck!
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.
Getting an apartment is your first big step to becoming an adult and living on your own.
It’s important to understand contract terms and figure out how much you can actually afford. Follow these tips on how to get the best deal when negotiating price.
Research Rent Cost Where You Want to Live
Ask for a Longer Lease in Exchange for Stable Rent
One of the perils of being a renter is that a landlord can jack up your rent every year in most places. One way to negotiate is to ask for a longer lease in exchange for a stable renting price. If you have a two-year lease, for example, at least you’ll be assured of the same rent for that period and not be surprised by a steep hike.
Be sure to read the contract, too, for how much landlords say they’re allowed to raise rents every year. Even if you are successful in getting a rent stabilization, if it’s a lot, keep negotiating. You might want to stay in the unit for five years. It’s to the landlord’s benefit to have reliable, stable tenants.
If you do plan to negotiate a longer lease, make sure you understand the cost of breaking it. Most young adults fresh out of college don’t stay at the same job for very long and you don’t want a little thing like a lease to keep you grounded at a job you don’t like.
Move During the Off-Season
If you’re a good tenant and have friends or acquaintances who are also good tenants, negotiate by offering referrals. Landlords like to have a convenient way of finding new tenants. Your popping up with a few names of your buddies could well be worth a couple percentage points off your rent.
Always Negotiate Face-to-Face
Finally, always negotiate by talking to your landlord in-person. An email or letter is simply too easy to miss or dismiss. It’s much easier to fire “no” back in an email message than it is to say it to a person’s face. It’s almost always worth taking the time to negotiate on your rent. Even if you get a “no,” you know you tried. But if you follow these four tips, you’re much more likely to get a “yes.” What’s the harm in trying?
Once you’ve found your idea place -at your ideal price point- be sure to ask your future landlord these ten questions before you sign on the dotted line!
It’s that time of year again and you received a lease renewal letter from your landlord. But this time around they are trying to raise the rent. Of course, you could always look for a new, more affordable place to live. However, if you really like your apartment and have became good friends with your neighbors, consider negotiating the rent increase. To help you learn about your potential leverage and how to use it we put together a guide on how to negotiate rent when renewing your lease.
Be proactive and build your case ahead of time
Ideally, you should start thinking about a potential rent hike before you receive a notice from your landlord. Check your lease for terms and renewing rights. Your rental agreement might state that you have to notify your landlord about your decision to renew 60 days before the end of the lease. Start planning your negotiation strategy at least a month before that time. Approach your landlord early to allow more time to discuss the renewal.
Think like your landlord
Landlords and property managers are people just like you. They don’t always raise your rent just because they want to. Oftentimes, they have to do so to offset their expenses or losses. Has your landlord just upgraded or is planning to upgrade the property? Do some parts of the apartment complex require renovations? Guess what? If they are an individual landlord, it all comes out of their pocket. If they have a lot of rent-controlled apartments in their portfolio, it could be another reason to increase rent in unregulated “market” apartments, especially if market prices grow fast.
Know their legal limits
Carefully read your lease, including the fine print. Sometimes, it can include rent increase rates for every year of your tenancy. Review your state and local housing laws that govern lease renewal processes. Learn how much a landlord can legally increase your rent and how far in advance they have to notify you about it. In California, for example, the time of notice depends on the percentage of the rent increase.
Gather some intel
Talk to other tenants and neighbors and ask how much they pay. If they pay less for the similarly sized apartment and your unit hasn’t seen any upgrades in years, you might be able to negotiate your rent when renewing your lease with your landlord and convince them to lower your rate.
Do your market research
Learn what your apartment is actually worth. Check market prices for similar apartments in your neighborhood. If your landlord is trying to increase your rent above its market rate, it’s time to negotiate.
Learn about vacancy rates
Check vacancy rates in your area. Demand for housing is usually affected by crime, infrastructure, and abundance of new construction. If there are three more apartment complexes being built in your neighborhood, your landlord has more competition and you have more leverage to negotiate your rent.
Factor in seasonality
Just like many other things in your life, including sports, produce and lattes in your local Starbucks, the rental market is seasonal. For instance, demand for apartments is low in December and January. Therefore, you are much more likely to negotiate your rent in winter. Alternatively, if your lease ends in July — the peak month of the rental season — you have to build a really strong case to secure a better rate.
Be confident and know your leverage
We are going to let you in on one secret… Your landlord wants you to renew your lease. Most landlords and property managers try to avoid tenant turnover, as it is often associated with additional costs, cleaning and repairing a unit, doing necessary renovations, and finding a new tenant, which isn’t cheap. Oftentimes, a landlord would budge and keep your old rate if your apartment is located not in the most desirable area and requires substantial investments in renovations. Note that you have more leverage when dealing with individual landlords.
Talk about your track record
If you’ve been a good, “low-maintenance” tenant so far, paid your rent on time and haven’t made any unreasonable request, it’s a good time to bring it up. Finding a good tenant can be hard and expensive. If you are a good tenant then you have a position of strength when negotiating your rent when renewing your lease.
Suggest a longer lease and offer to pay up-front
If you really like the apartment and are confident you are going to spend at least a couple of years in the area, suggest a multi-year lease. Oftentimes, individual landlords might consider a lower rate if you are willing to pay for a couple of months up-front.
Go for upgrades instead
If you are trying to negotiate down you rent, it might not be reasonable to bring up all the upgrades you asked for before. However, if the upgrades are important and you are willing to pay more for them, it’s a good time to bring them up!
Ask, don’t demand
You should always stay calm, polite and professional. Approach your landlord in person when possible to make that personal connection. The last thing you want is to burn bridges with your landlord. Even if they don’t budge and you decide to move out, you will still probably need a reference letter from them for your future apartment application.