The cost of living can be astronomically high and depending on where you live, it can take up a major portion of your paycheck. Renting a house or apartment is no different. The good news is that as the renter, you do hold a lot of negotiating power, especially if you come with good references or you are renewing your lease. Especially when it comes to renting a home, you can hold a lot of negotiating power if the owners know that you can be trusted to keep their property nice as well as pay your rent on time each month. Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes time to negotiate rent.
Research comparable rentals in the neighborhood
There is no better way to plead your case for lower rent than to compare your rental to almost identical rentals in the area. There are numerous tools at your disposable this day in age, most of which come via the Internet. Having a few comparable properties in the same vicinity should be all you need to prove to your landlord that you deserve a decrease in rent.
Negotiate Rent by Bartering your Services
All properties require maintenance and upkeep in order to keep them looking nice and functioning as a place of dwelling. Many landlords will be open to accepting your services for a slightly reduced rent. For example, perhaps you can mow the lawn yourself instead of the landlord having a landscaping company come out. If you are particularly handy or are knowledgeable in other trades, it never hurts to ask.
Negotiate Rent by Keeping in Touch with Prior Landlords
The last thing a landlord wants to do is take on risk in a tenant. If you can prove a clean history of being a tidy and responsible tenant that pays their bills on time, that can go a long way. For this reason, you may want to start gathering references from prior landlords or just keep in touch with them for future references. A good track record goes a long way when it comes to asking for a lower rent.
Negotiate Rent by Offering More of a Deposit
Nothing speaks like money does when it comes to a rental agreement. Many landlords will require a deposit which is usually one month’s rent. Offering more months rent is a good way to ensure the landlord that you are indeed good for your word and limits the financial risk that they take on. A lump sum is always more valuable when it comes to the time value of money so it would be ignorant of your landlord not to take you up on the offer.
Walk Away if it Doesn’t Feel Right
It’s not necessarily bluffing so much as knowing that there are many other options available, and unless you are completely sold on the place there is no harm in looking elsewhere if the landlord is not flexible at all. If you are being fair in your requests, chances are the landlord will end up realizing that and decide to work with you after all.
Timing is Everything when Negotiating
Nobody wants to go hunting for a new house in the winter or much less move all of their belongings. It is for this reason that it is the perfect time to look for a new place to live. As are most things in life, it is all about supply and demand. When there is less demand you consequently have far more bargaining power. Use this to your advantage when it comes to looking for a new place to live. Most landlords know that people looking for housing during the colder months are far and few between and are therefore much more likely to negotiate.
Have you negotiated rent before?
11 thoughts on “Negotiating Lower Rent”
Wow, I had no idea you could negotiate on rent, at least not in apartment buildings. I know as far as houses are concerned, my uncle is happy to reduce his tenants’ rents if they mow the lawn, etc. Good stuff here!
A reliable tenant is hard to come by. You’d be surprised how negotiable rents can be!
If you do a research on rentals and compare then you can really strike a good deal. Many house owners do lower the rent if you have that negotiating skills. It definitely works in my own experience
Thank you for your first hand account of success in negotiating.
Interesting post Valerie, I was not some landlords would consider a lower rent. I am guessing a lot of it has to do with the length of time the unit has been on the market?
Really helps too if you can know how many vacancies are in the building itself. If they have a few apartments that are sitting idle, that gives you more leverage. Lower rent is always better than no rent. However, if they are booking places before they are empty, then you might just have to bite the bullet and move. At least that has been my experience.
I also wasn’t aware some things like rent are negotiable. In many of the places I’ve rented I guess I paid the asked/advertised price (sucker).
Looking at the post, I would really zero in on the timing. I feel that if the landlord is struggling with tenancy then they might be desperate to knock something off and land themselves a client 🙂
If you have the flexibility on timing of the move than this is a surefire way to come out ahead in rent negotiations.
We are renting apartment here in Dubai and luckily we got lower rent compared other. The real estate and the property management companies are owned by the local government. Based on our experience you can negotiate or avail lower rent those apartment complex owned by government.
Really great tips! I would definitely use this on renewals too if you can, especially if you have a long history of paying on time. If they raise the rent a larger amount than you are prepared for, it’s always worth asking if they can come down some.
Renting can be tough. It’s super competitive in San Francisco so it can be hard to negotiate. Landing a lease alone can be a challenge. Being prepared at open houses can help get a leg up on other applicants.