Can You Negotiate Rent? Tips for Lowering Rent
When is the last time you wished you could negotiate your rent but didn’t know where to start?
Rent is just one of those things in life. You pay because you have to. But just because you’re under obligation to pay rent doesn’t mean you don’t get to have a say in what exactly the rate will be!
Don’t know how to go about negotiating rent price for a new apartment or how to renegotiate your current rent? Well, fear no more, because a whole host of information and how-to’s on negotiating your rent price are coming your way.
Can You Negotiate Your Rent?
Yes, rent prices are negotiable. 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.
Why Should You Negotiate Your Rent
If you're thinking, "Why should I even negotiate rent in the first place?" the answer is pretty obvious. You can potentially save a lot money. In a country full of cost-burden renters, savings can be very beneficial.
However, negotiating rent can go beyond monetary benefits. Let's dig more into what negotiating your rent could mean for you.
Even if you’re saving as little as $50-$100 a month, that can pay out to a good-sized chunk of $600-$1,200 saved over the course of 12 months. Some people can even save up to $200 a month, $2,400 in an entire year! Talk about (significantly) increased financial freedom!
Saving on rent not only leaves you more money to spend how you’d wish but can also improve your relationship with your landlord or property manager. If done respectfully and calmly, negotiating your rent 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.
If you are concerned that you’re not getting the value for the amount you’re paying, carrying out a 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.
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 keys in a successful negotiation. If you don't time it right, you won't get it right.
Here are some of the best times to negotiate your rent:
- At the end of the month when landlords are looking for new tenants or if you're considering a new apartment.
- A few months before your lease 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.
What to Ask For When Negotiating
This seems pretty obvious. Negotiating rent is to get your rate lowered, right?
Well, yes. But it’s important to know that this is not strictly limited to dollars. You can also negotiate for amenities and benefits too!
This will come in handy when you’re negotiating with a large property. They’re typically less likely to negotiate on the rent price and more likely to provide additional benefits.
So what else can you cover and/or include in your rent negotiation besides the price? Here are just a few options:
- A free parking space.
- New upgrades to your apartment
- Free additional storage
- Waived gym membership fees, if applicable.
How to Negotiate Rent
No matter how good your timing or your case, it’s very important to know how to negotiate your rent. Not only so you can do it successfully, but also so you can feel confident and at ease during your negotiation.
There are many different ways to negotiate rent; just make sure you have a plan you feel comfortable with. Here are some of our favorite tips:
1. Do Your Research Ahead of Time
Find out what other buildings in your neighborhood are charging for situations similar to yours. 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 what you’re asking for is reasonable.
2. Plan to Have Your New Lease End in Summer
Seasoned renters know that the majority of people move in the summer when school is out, the weather’s better, and schedules are more flexible. By giving your lease a summer end date, it will be much easier for your landlord to find a new tenant to fill your spot, making it much more likely that they’ll be willing to negotiate with you now.
3. Know What You Want & What You'd Give Up
If you’re clear on what you want, the entire process can go much more smoothly because you won’t be constantly going back and forth on a million different options that may or may not actually work for you.
4. Contact Your Landlord or Property Management Company
Let them know you want to speak with them. Rather than simply ambushing them with your request, politely let them know you’d like to have a conversation about your rent and ask to set up a meeting.
5. Come Prepared With Facts to Build Your Case
If you’re seeing 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 in case your landlord would like reminders or references. This minimizes arguments and gives you a better foundation upon which to have your conversation.
6. Explain the Ways Your Landlord Will Benefit
If you can pinpoint exactly how a new situation will be beneficial to 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 lease for another 12 months during the slow season could be worth it.
When it comes down to negotiating your rent, there's really only one rule: Keep the humanity.
Remember, your landlord or property manager is a person too. Keeping this at the forefront of your mind will help you create a much more effective plan, help you come up with ways your plan can benefit your landlord, and give you a greater sense of purpose and confidence going into your conversations.
Whether or not you get exactly what you went in for is less relevant than keeping your self-respect. Prepare, figure out what’s really important to you and why, and just do your best! If it doesn’t come off well on your first try, remember:
If it doesn’t come off well on your first try, remember:
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. --Winston Churchill