What do you do when your landlord decides to increase the rent amount? Do you try to negotiate or do you just let it go? Rent negotiation might be scary concept, but it can save you stress (and money) in the long run. In this guide, we’ve set out 8 handy tips for how to negotiate a rent decrease. But first, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of negotiating rent.
What are the benefits of negotiating rent?
The main benefit of negotiating rent is that it can save you money. Your rent is probably your biggest monthly expense, so by negotiating a rent decrease, you’ll free up a bit of extra cash. This has the added benefit of allowing you to start saving for your future. When it’s done right, negotiating rent can also mark the beginning of a budding cordial relationship between you and your landlord.
You may find rent negotiation a daunting prospect, but it’s worth it for these long term benefits. Remember that you may not be successful at first. But, by following these 8 tips, you’ll have a better chance of securing a rent decrease.
How to Negotiate Rent as a New Tenant
If you’re a new tenant, you’ll need to think about both sides during your negotiation. Contrary to popular belief, negotiating isn’t always about winning. The other person has to feel like they’re getting something out of it, too. Think of things your landlord would value in exchange for reducing your rent.
You should consider these ideas when trying to negotiate rent:
- Committing to a longer lease is a strong negotiating factor. This works best if you can see yourself staying in that apartment for a while. For example, if the current lease is for a year, you can offer to sign a two-year lease in exchange for a reduced rent. Landlords may appreciate this as looking for new tenants is a time consuming process for them.
- If you can offer to pay your rent a few months in advance, rent reduction negotiations may end in your favor.
- You can also offer to end your lease during summertime, which is a peak renting period. During the summer, a lot of people tend to search for new apartments. So, offering to end the lease during this period may make your landlord more amenable.
- Find terms in the lease you can use to your advantage. For instance, let’s say you don’t own a pet, but your rental allows them. For landlords, cleaning an apartment previously owned by a pet-owning resident costs more time and money. Mention that you don’t own a pet, so the landlord doesn’t have to spend as much on cleaning after you move out.
You can brainstorm other ideas you feel are suitable, just make sure your landlord is also getting something of value.
How to Negotiate Rent as an Existing Tenant
If you’re a current tenant and your landlord decides to make changes to your rent, then how do you go about it negotiating a rent decrease? Here are 8 tips on how to negotiate rent as an existing tenant:
Tip #1: Do your research
You’ll need to research similar properties in your neighborhood. This will help you compare rent prices before you begin negotiations. If the prices are more or less the same, then it may be a bit harder for you to negotiate. However, if you notice that less rent is paid by other tenants, you can use that information to support your case.
Tip #2: Write a great negotiation request letter, but negotiate in person
Sending your landlord a well-written letter about negotiating a lower rent could help your cause. The letter may not do the trick on its own, but a direct appeal might make reaching your goal easier. In your letter, be sure to point out that you’re open to more discussions, which you’d be happy to attend in person. This is because it’s tougher to say no to someone face to face, rather than over the phone.
The letter should be persuasive, but above all, honest, as it may affect your landlord’s decision.
Tip #3: Do it at the right time
Timing is everything. If you try to negotiate rent at the wrong time, you may not be successful in negotiating a rent decrease. Be sure to begin negotiations some months before your current lease expires, so that your landlord will not sense that you’re in a hurry. It’s also advisable to negotiate during slower seasons of the year, like winter. Trying to strike a deal during summer, when there’s high demand, may not work out so well for you.
Equally, you want to negotiate rent when you know you can stay on longer. Landlords may be more willing to negotiate if they know they won’t have to look for another tenant for a while.
Tip #4: Be well prepared
You won’t get what you’re after without a solid game plan. Make sure you have a precise strategy and know exactly what you hope to achieve. This is one of the best ways to negotiate rent. A good way to be prepared is by having important documents on hand to help you build your case. You can bring up your previous rent payment record and your credit score. References from previous landlords will also help you.
Tip #5: Show the landlord that you mean business
Paying rent in advance is a strong motivator for the right landlord. It will show that you’re serious, especially if you plan on signing a long-term lease. However, paying rent in advance depends on where you live, as some state laws don’t allow this.
Tip #6: Focus on small negotiations
Don’t start negotiations by asking for too much off your rent upfront. Try to bargain for smaller reductions that won’t scare the landlord away.
Tip #7: Mentioning your good track record
If you know you’ve been a good tenant, you can point that out. Include how well you pass your apartment searches and how you always pay rent on time/early. You can also point out that you haven’t violated any lease terms. No landlord wants to deal with a bad tenant, so mentioning all your good qualities may help seal the deal.
Tip #8: Consider the counteroffer possibilities and know when to let go
Very rarely will the person you’re negotiating with agree to your first offer. Be prepared for counteroffers when trying to negotiate a rent decrease.
If you find a counteroffer that you’re good with, then you can go ahead and close the deal. However, if you can’t agree with the price your landlord is offering, then walk away.
We hope this list has been helpful in explaining how to negotiate rent with your landlord. Our advice is not to fret. Start by doing your research, write a rent negotiation letter, then utilize these tips during the negotiations process. The most important thing is to be prepared all the way through. Best of luck to you!