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Negotiating Rent Terms

Tips, Tricks, and Can’t Miss Items

August 21, 2019


Negotiating pricing on anything can be intimidating, especially when it comes to housing, when so much money is at stake. Consider: reducing your monthly rent by even $50 can lead to substantial savings over the course of a year or more.

Not every landlord is willing to engage in the conversation, and their ability to negotiate can depend on a host of factors like the time of year, the competitiveness of the market, and the size of their company. Regardless, it’s worth raising the issue.

So whether you’re a first-time renter or just looking to improve your approach, here are some pointers for negotiating rent:

Meet in person: If possible, it’s best to negotiate face to face to be able to share any relevant documents. Also, it’s helpful to simply make a personal connection and humanize yourself.

Be knowledgeable: Know the market rental rates and overall reputation of both the property and surrounding neighborhood. You may even be able to find occupancy rates by researching local news articles. If you know you’re just outside of a hot neighborhood, don’t settle for the premium rents that are being charged nearby. Be sure to have any competing rates in writing.

Be polite: Negotiating doesn’t have to mean playing “hardball.” It’s possible to be firm and confident without being rude. Because even if you’re able to save a little money, remember that you will be dealing with your landlord for the next year or more.

Brag: Highlight your background as a strong tenant. Perhaps you’ve lived in a number of apartments in multiple cities and have never been late on a rent payment. That’s appealing to a landlord who is looking for reliable renters.

Don’t whine: It won’t help to come across as desperate by saying you need a lower rate. You don’t want your landlord to think you’re reaching beyond your budget and will be scraping by to pay rent every month.

Aim high: As with any negotiation, ask for more than what you’d be happy receiving. With that in mind, remember how impactful even a small break in rent is. Just $50 off monthly rent saves you $600 over a 12-month lease term.

Be flexible: Are you willing to sign a lease longer than 12 months? Landlords are always looking to avoid the risk of turnover expenses, so they may be willing to extend your rental period. Or you could offer to end your lease amid a strong rental season, like early summer, when landlords have an easier time finding new tenants.

Be creative: Could you pay multiple months of rent up front or make referrals in exchange for a break on rent? Perhaps there’s something you’d be willing to give up for lower rent, like a parking space. Or in lieu of lower rent, you could ask to have some other costs waived, like a pet fee or fitness center fee.

Have a backup plan: It can be helpful to let your landlord know you have other options (with the documents to prove it), not only as a negotiation tactic but also to ensure you’re not left starting from scratch if your top choice falls through.

Plan ahead: Leave yourself plenty of time to work through the process. You don’t want to be starting a negotiation the day before you move out of your current apartment.

Be Courteous: Remember, always be courteous in these negotiations. You may be living at this new property for a few years and you don’t want to get started on the wrong foot.

Good luck! We hope this is helpful in saving you some big bucks.

If you’re curious to learn more tips to make renting more rewarding, check out our blog. If you are looking for an apartment, we encourage you to check out all of the properties offering Rhove, where you can make money on rent.