Paying rent is a part of life if you do not own a home. In many cases, you will have to pay the full listing price for rent. However, it is oftentimes possible to negotiate with your potential landlord for a lower rate. There are many factors that determine how successful your negotiations will be. For example, landlords tend to be more willing to negotiate during certain seasons when it is difficult to find new tenants.
It is a common misconception that you can only negotiate your rent before signing your initial lease. In reality, you can also work with your landlord to get a reduced price when renewing a rental agreement. In many cases, this tactic is highly successful, especially if you have already proven to your landlord that you are a reliable tenant. Below, learn all of the tips and tricks you need to know in order to get a great price on your rent.
Do Your Research
The most important step in getting a discount on your rent is to research the rental market. It is not always possible or wise to ask for a discount. The best way to get a clear picture of your options is to look at other rental units in the neighborhood you want to move to. Check the prices that comparable units are renting for and note how quickly these units are taken off the market.
If you notice that there are multiple buildings that have many units available, and that these units stay on the market for a long time, then you know you have more leverage. On the other hand, you may be facing a tight housing market if apartment listings are added and removed quickly. In a tight market, you may want to proceed with caution before asking for too great of a discount. Doing so may result in a landlord choosing different tenants who are willing to pay the asking price for the unit in question.
Pick Your Moment
Timing is everything when it comes to getting the best rate for your rent. If you want to negotiate a good deal on a new apartment, your chances are better during the winter months. This is because it is more difficult for landlords to rent units during the winter. When you want a better rate on your current apartment, it is best to ask at the end of the month or a few months before your lease is due to expire. Note that many landlords will increase the cost of your rent on an annual basis to keep with market trends. Some rental increases are unavoidable. In these cases, try negotiating for a smaller price jump instead.
Negotiate for More Amenities
Getting a reduced rate on your rent is not always possible. This is especially true if your research has revealed that the rental market is tight. When you cannot get a lower rate, it may still be possible to ask for other perks. Most apartment complexes and rental communities have a few perks that are available for an additional fee or are tacked onto your monthly rent cost. When you are unable to get a reduced rate for your rent, try asking for free or reduced-cost amenities instead. Common amenities include things such as:
- Surface lot parking
- Underground parking
- Storage units
- Bike storage
- Recycling service
- Gym access
- Pool access
Offer Something in Return
In a tight market, there are still a few ways that you can receive a great rate without hurting your chances of being accepted as a tenant. Landlords want to fill vacant units as quickly as possible so that they do not lose money. There are several ways that you can help a landlord out by giving up something that does not cost you anything. Try offering one or all of these options in order to get a lower rental price:
- End your lease in the summer. Many people look for apartments early in the summer. If your lease is due to end at a different time of year, you can offer to vacate the apartment during this prime renting season when the landlord will have an easier time finding new tenants.
- Pay upfront. It is common practice to pay a security deposit as well as the first month’s rent when signing a lease. You may snag a discount on your rent by offering to pay three to six months’ rent upfront.
- Extend your lease. When you express interest in occupying a rental property for an extended period of time, your landlord may see you as a more reliable tenant. Ultimately, landlords want to keep apartments filled at all times. You can oftentimes get a discount by guaranteeing you will stay 18 months, for example, rather than the standard 12 months.
- Give up unneeded amenities. If you do not drive a car, have items to store or own a bike, giving up your space means that the landlord can charge someone else a fee to use this space.
Bring Your Research
Come prepared with a list of rates and amenities at similar apartments to show that you know what you are talking about. The landlord is probably already aware of what other apartments are renting for. However, with the facts in hand, he or she will know that you are relying on real information during your negotiation.
Practice Your Negotiations
Just as you would prepare for an important meeting or interview, you should practice your talking points before entering into a negotiation. Many people shy away from negotiations because they do not want to seem pushy or get turned down. While it is true you may face rejection while negotiating, you can greatly increase your confidence level by rehearsing. Confidence can go a long way in securing a deal.
Highlight Your Rental History
Above all else, landlords want consistency and reliability. If you have a strong track record of paying rent on time and leaving apartments in good condition, these factors will work in your favor. When a potential landlord can see evidence that you always pay your rent on time, he or she may be more likely to work with you on a better price. This tactic is especially helpful when you want to negotiate a lower rate on your current apartment. If you have been a good tenant, your landlord will see the value in making a bargain to keep you in the unit. To a landlord, this option usually presents a lower risk than taking a chance on a new tenant.