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Can You Negotiate Rent? 7 Tips for Lowering Rent

September 21, 2022
Yes. You can negotiate rent with your landlord or property manager under the right circumstances.

While rent is never set in stone, it can feel like you get locked into prices quicker than you realize. As a current or prospective renter, you might wonder, can you negotiate rent?

The answer is yes! You can negotiate your rent before signing a new lease and when it’s time to renew your current lease. In some instances, you can renegotiate your rent before your lease ends. Remember, just because you’re under obligation to pay rent doesn’t mean you can’t have a say in the rate!

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Why Should You Negotiate Rent?

So, is rent negotiable, and if so, is this negotiation sales tactic as beneficial as many say? In a country full of cost-burden renters, savings can be very beneficial, as well as:

Freedom

Even if you’re saving as little as $50-$100 a month when you negotiate rent, that’s still $600-$1,200 saved over 12 months. Some people can save up to $200 a month, which is $2,400 in an entire year! Talk about (significantly) increased financial freedom just by negotiating rent down!

Better Relationships

Negotiating rent leaves you more money to spend how you wish and can improve your relationship with your landlord or property manager. If done respectfully and calmly, negotiating rental prices can be a great way to remind the landlord that you are a good tenant and open up a stronger and more open line of communication.

Better Value

Can you negotiate a rent increase on your current apartment? Absolutely!

If you are concerned about the value you’re receiving for the amount you’re paying, carrying out an apartment lease negotiation can be a great way to ease your mind by finding out what options are available to you and working out a win-win situation.

How to Negotiate Rent

No matter how good your timing or your case, it’s essential to know how to start negotiating apartment rent. Not only so you can do it successfully but also so you can feel confident and at ease during your rental negotiations.

1. Do Your Research Ahead of Time

Get an idea of the range of rental rates in your chosen market to help determine how much you could save through rental negotiations. Once you have these numbers, you can put in work to convince your prospective property manager that you should be paying that amount.

Not only will this back you up by giving you numbers to work with, but it will also give you a lot more confidence going in, knowing that negotiating lower rent for your unit is reasonable.

2. Prepare an Outstanding Application

Your rental application should convince your prospective landlord or property manager that you are the best possible tenant for the unit.

You'll have to spend some time gathering the necessary materials and information to ensure that your rental application is a standout.

Here are some of the areas you'll need to hit on to boost your rental application:

3. Plan to Have Your New Lease End in Summer

If your new lease ends in the summer, you'll be able to take advantage of the seasonality of apartment renting.

You'll also be able to use this end-of-summer moving period to your advantage. Not only will you have access to many apartment options, but you'll also avoid the peak rush.

4. Know What You Want & What You'd Give Up

Apartment amenities can range from air conditioning to great views. But, of course, not every apartment will have a long list of amenities.

It's important to get the most bang for your buck when negotiating, which means you'll need to figure out which amenities are essential for you vs. which are simply desirable.

5. Contact Your Landlord or Property Manager

Let them know you want to speak with them. Rather than simply ambushing your landlord or property manager with your rent negotiation, politely let them know you’d like to have a conversation about your rent and ask to set up a meeting.

6. Come Prepared With Facts to Build Your Case

If you see better pricing in other buildings, have those layouts and prices printed out. If you’re the perfect tenant who always pays your rent on time, have your rent payment records on hand. Whatever you need to build your case, have it with you. You can use documents as reminders or references to minimize arguments and give you a better foundation for negotiating lower rent.

7. Explain the Ways Your Landlord Will Benefit

If you can pinpoint exactly how a negotiating rent price will benefit both of you, this lessens any possible tension and is more likely to be successful.

Yes, they’ll be collecting a lower monthly payment, but the benefits of locking in a rent offer on a lease for another 12 months during the slow season could be worth it.

When to Negotiate Rent

Regardless of how badly you want to get your rent rate lowered, timing and situation are some of the most important rental negotiation tips to follow.

Here are some of the best times to begin negotiating rent with a property management company:

  • At the end of the month, when landlords are looking for new tenants
  • A few months before your lease agreement expires, if you're negotiating rent on your current unit.
  • When you know you can stay longer. Many landlords are willing to negotiate if they know they won't have to look for another tenant in the next 12 months.
  • In the winter. Seasonality impacts the rental market. Winter is usually the most difficult time for landlords to find renters, and you'll hold more of the bargaining power.

7 Rental Negotiation Tips

If you’re worried about dealing with rental negotiation tactics, don’t be. Know that you don’t have to be limited strictly to dollars. You can also negotiate for amenities and benefits too!

1. Maintain a Strong Credit Score

Using your credit score as leverage is another excellent way to negotiate rent. Showing proof that you’ve maintained a strong credit score and are a financially responsible renter will help support your argument for longevity in a unit.

2. Overview Your Strengths as a Tenant

In addition to maintaining a strong credit score, there are several other factors you can review with your landlord showcasing your strengths as a tenant. For example, you can show proof of on-time payments, open communication regarding maintenance concerns, etc.

3. Avoid Discussing Lease Renewals Too Early

The rental market is notorious for fluctuations, so discussing lease renewals too early may not be in your best interest. The market value of a unit can change daily, so do your best to time your lease renewal and rent negotiations appropriately.

4. Research the Property

National median rent rates fell drastically in many major cities during the pandemic but are recovering as vaccines are administered, drawing the light at the end of the tunnel closer.

Conversely, midsize rental markets have shown significant growth throughout the pandemic, and rent prices increased significantly in cities like Boise and Spokane.

Although you won't get a pandemic discount, you'll likely save more on rent in a major city by renting, while rates are still very low as long as you research the property thoroughly ahead of time.

5. Be Open to Compromises

While signing a long-term lease is a big commitment for any renter, it can be a great way to negotiate rent prices.

For example, if you have rented for six months without issues (late rent, property destruction, etc.), a landlord might jump at the opportunity to rent to you long-term. It means less trouble and work for them.

6. Negotiate Directly and Send Written Follow-Ups

Avoid going through a third party, and try your best to negotiate rent directly with your landlord.

Hopefully, you developed a relationship with them over time, meaning they can pay tribute to the fact that you are a good tenant they would like to keep around.

7. Have a Backup Plan

You need to have a backup plan if your rent negotiation fails. Whether you decide to stay and pay the rent increase or move out, you need to know your limits before going into any rent negotiation conversation.

Final Thoughts

So, can you negotiate rent? Definitely, but remember, your landlord or property manager is a person too. With that in mind, you can create a much more effective plan and come up with ways in which your plan can benefit your landlord, giving you a greater sense of purpose and confidence going into your conversations.

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AUTHOR
Yuki is a former member Growth Team at Apartment List. She enjoys eating, reading, spending time in the mountains, singing in the car, and exploring new places. Read More
DAVINA WARD
Davina Ward is a contributing author at Apartment List and freelance writer specializing in real estate and digital marketing. She received her B. Read More
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