How to Negotiate Rent

Whether you have found a new apartment or are looking to renew your lease, you may be looking at that rental rate and wishing it was just a little bit lower. In most scenarios, the rate the landlord or property manager tells you is pretty set in stone, but in some special circumstances, you might be able to talk them down on price. How to ask for lower rent is not an easy task, luckily here are some tricks for you.

Here are 5 things you should know before you attempt to negotiate rent decrease with your landlord or property manager:

1. Understand the local rental market

You will want to be an expert on the local rental market and understand what rental rates are for similar size and style apartments in your neighborhood. Make sure you are doing an apples-to-apples comparison when you look at the rent of similar properties. You will want to include items like parking, gym access, and other amenities in your comparison.

When you talk with your landlord to negotiate rent decrease, make sure you have competing rates in writing available to show them. This is a great negotiation tool and can be eye opening to your landlord about prices in the local area.

2. Consider the time of the year

The apartment rental market does tend to be seasonal. More people will move in the spring and summer as the weather is nice and school is out. If you are able to move in the dead of winter, you have a better chance of negotiating a cheaper rent as there will not be much, if any, competition for your potential apartment.

You should also consider the time of the month you complete your negotiation. If it is towards the end of the month, the landlord would not be able to find a new tenant in time to pay next month’s rent and you might have higher odds of getting the rental rate you want.

3. Prove your worth as a good tenant

Another idea on how to negotiate lower rent is to talk yourself up as a good tenant. This will only work if you are negotiating a decreased rent for your renewed lease. Talk to your landlord about how you have always paid rent on time, keep your place orderly, and are a relatively easy tenant to manage. These talking points will remind your landlord that you are a good tenant to have around even if it is at a reduced rate.

If you are moving into a new complex, it is a good idea to have one or a few personal references. Your future landlord will be able to read a reference letter or make a phone call and rest easy knowing that you will be a good tenant in their complex.

4. Offer to exchange services

If you are really interested in how to ask for lower rent and willing to put in some work to get it, you should consider offering to complete various tasks for your landlord or property manager. It could be appealing to a property manager if you are willing and able to take some work off of their plate in exchange for reduced rent. Tasks you could complete include maintenance, cleaning, administrative, or marketing tasks. 

If you are at all skilled with construction or other trades, offer to complete maintenance requests for your own apartment or neighboring apartments in lieu of your property manager. You could even buy the parts required and have the cost taken directly out of your rent.

 

5. Consider other lease terms

Think about how to negotiate lower rent by getting creative with your lease agreement terms. Consider changing your move-out date or reworking your lease so that it ends during a popular moving season, like spring or summer.

Also, consider bargaining with certain aspects of your lease agreement. Maybe you could pay a larger portion of your rent upfront – like 3 or 6 months in advance. Or you could consider signing a longer lease in order to secure that lower rate. Your landlord ensuring you will be renting for a longer period of time will give them the peace of mind to allow the lower rent.

Now that you have the steps on how to negotiate lower rent down, the most important step is to make sure you get your rent negotiation in writing. This will provide proof of the decreased rental rate that both parties can refer to in the future as needed.

Keep in mind that when you plan to negotiate rent decrease, it might not always work out. Some landlords will stick to their guns and keep the rent exactly how they set it initially. Do not take this personally as they are trying to keep their business running and profitable.