You’re about to renew your lease when you’re notified of yet another increase in rent. Along with how much you have to pay for groceries and healthcare, can you manage a hike in your monthly rent?
Fortunately, you can negotiate your rent, but you have to know where to start and how to approach the landlord before you go in guns blazing!
Let’s look at the steps that you can take to negotiate a reduction in your monthly rent whether you’re a new tenant or renewing a lease.
Is It Possible to Negotiate Rent?
Yes, you can certainly negotiate your rent prior to signing the lease agreement. Don’t sign a new lease or lease renewal and then try to change the amount of rent you pay every month, because the landlord won’t be legally obligated to abide by the proposed rent.
If you are looking at renewing a lease, then approach the landlord before your contract is meant to end. Should it automatically renew, you won’t be in any position to negotiate the terms.
Is It Acceptable to Negotiate Rent?
More people negotiate their rent than you think. Especially in today’s economic climate, it makes the most sense to present landlords with an alternative or reduction in rent, especially if you are a reliable tenant and have an outstanding credit history.
A major benefit of negotiating your rent is that you save money every month. Even a saving of $50 to $100 a month can help you when you’re cost-burdened. Within a year you could have an extra $1200 in your pocket provided you get the reduction in rent of $100 each month. This figure could be even greater if you manage to negotiate rent past the $100 a month mark.
Is There a Right Time to Negotiate Rent?
Yes, there certainly is and we don’t recommend that you simply confront your landlord when you feel like it. Get the timing and the approach wrong, and your entire negotiation could fall apart. You only really have one chance so do your homework, prepare, and know that you’re in a good position to present your case to your landlord.
1. Lease Renewal
Don’t wait for a month before your lease is about to expire to ask for a reduction in rent. It is best to approach the landlord at least 3 to 4 months before the end of the apartment lease so you can easily negotiate the terms with the landlord. If you aren’t satisfied with their response, you’ll still have enough time to look for a new apartment.
2. Extended Lease
When landlords are presented with a tenant who wants to extend the lease by more than 12 months this will secure the tenancy which is favorable to the landlord. They might be open to negotiating the rent because they’ll have peace of mind that the tenancy will be secured for the next rental term.
3. Check the Market
If the market isn’t doing too well and your landlord has a few vacancies, then they’ll probably be more receptive to negotiating the rent.
How to Negotiate with the Landlord
When you negotiate your rent, you can also ask the landlord if they’ll be willing to reduce utilities and other fees.
If your landlord isn’t willing to budge on the rent, there are other types of benefits that you could negotiate including:
- The costs to use on-site amenities
- Accessing additional storage lockers
- Parking behind a closed gate without additional cost
Prepare the necessary documentation. You can’t just call the landlord and suggest a reduction in rent. You have to back it up with evidence to convince them that it would be a good decision and that you’d be a valuable tenant. If you have proof of surrounding rentals of a similar size and condition going for less than their rates, present this to them in a courteous and professional manner.
Ensure that your credit and your background or rental history are clean. If you have a negative credit score or a previous eviction, it won’t put you in a good position to negotiate.
Think about how to let the landlord know that you will be a valuable tenant and how your proposal can benefit them. This includes securing the lease for at least another year and perhaps referring future tenants to the rentals.
You don’t want your suggestions to affect the relationship with the landlord but rather that be seen as a beneficial option for all parties involved.