Do you struggle living paycheck to paycheck? Do you dread each time you have to classify your pay as your “rent check” and turn it over to your landlord? Maybe you simply feel as though you’re paying too much in rent whether you’re able to afford it or not.
If you’re on the fence about moving due to high rent, then it’s time you learn how to negotiate lower rent. Getting a rent reduction is a more convenient option than having to find a new place to live and going through the hassle of moving.
When’s the last time you walked into your landlord’s office and asked if they’re willing to negotiate a lower price?
How to Negotiate Lower Rent
In this guide, I’ll teach you 9 effective tips to negotiate a lower rental rate with your landlord. Pick and choose the ones that will work best for you and feel free to combine them together!
1. Ask About a Long-Term Lease
When you originally signed your lease, how long was the lease for? Did you sign a common 12-month lease? Were you given any other option?
Because landlords incur a lot of costs when tenants vacate, many will offer discounted rent in exchange for a long-term lease.
For example, if you choose to sign a 24 or 36-month lease with your landlord rather than a 12-month one, you may be able to pay lower rent.
The discount is given because landlords incur both increased expenses and a greater workload when you decide to vacate.
The expenses come from needing to do maintenance and repairs in order to get the unit rental ready. The work comes from the landlord having to list the property, show it to prospect tenants, and screen each one that applies.
Ask your landlord about the different lease options available for you. To get the lowest rent, consider signing the longest lease term they offer.
2. Suggest Waiting Until Summer to End the Lease
If you’re planning on moving out, but need lower payments until then, then consider suggesting you wait until summer to end your lease if they’ll provide a discount.
Nearly every landlord knows that it’s easier to find tenants in the summer.
If your lease is ending during the winter, then it’ll be more difficult for your landlord to find someone to rent it to once you leave.
The worst time of year for landlords? November through January. This is because very few people move during the dark of winter and in the middle of the holiday season.
In contrast, the summer months are full of people moving for school, internships and new jobs.
Offer to extend your lease and stay until the summer and see if your landlord might provide a discount in exchange. Finding a solution where both parties can benefit from it is a great way to negotiate.
3. Offer Your Skills or Value in Return
When you’re unable to afford your rent, there are sometimes ways to work out a deal with your landlord. This is true whether you live in an apartment complex, rent a house, or rent out another type of unit.
Ask your landlord what you can do around the unit or complex to help reduce rent.
Offer to do projects around the apartment, consider taking on a part-time job as a maintenance worker for the landlord, provide the complex with lawn care, or use marketing strategies to help the landlord rent out other units.
If you’re handy, able to do home improvements, or willing to assist with labor, you might be able to secure a discount.
4. Use Comps in Your Neighborhood to Negotiate
If you want to negotiate a price with someone, then you should come prepared. How old is the unit or complex? What are other comparable units in the neighborhood listed for?
If you can use comps (other comparable/similar units) in the neighborhood to negotiate a lower price, then do so.
Have all your information with you before stepping into your landlord’s office. The more data you have, the better.
Some information to consider gathering is as follows:
- What are your neighbors paying?
- What price has the landlord listed other units for online?
- What does your record look like as a tenant?
If neighbors are paying less than you, or if the landlord lists units for a lower price, then you can use this information to negotiate your rent.
Be sure to have copies and printouts of all this information. Present a good record of paying rent in full and on time and use it as a tool to persuade the landlord. This gives them a good reason to want to work with you.
5. Look Into Assistance Programs
Take the time to find out as much information about the unit, house, or complex as possible. This includes checking in about the government assistance programs.
Some landlords will rent out units at a discounted rate due to income-based restrictions, the Housing Authority, or other types of programs.
Unfortunately, not all landlords will mention this upfront.
Be sure to ask the landlord if their units are a part of these programs and look them up yourself as well.
6. Leave It as an Open-Ended Question
It’s okay to leave it as an open-ended question as well. Rather than approaching your landlord with all the options you have in mind, consider asking the landlord what they’re able to help you with.
Ask them if they have any suggestions or solutions.
Explain to them your current situation and see what their response is. If they’re unable to give you a solution, then you can present them with a few ideas of your own.
Keep in mind, they might need time to think about a solution that’ll work well for everyone.
7. Negotiate With a Polite Tone
When you’re ready to speak with your landlord, remember to stay calm and pleasant.
Remember, you’re asking them to do you a favor. As frustrating as it may be, you’ll want to keep a polite tone.
People are more willing to help others when not asked in an aggressive tone. Be kind, and ask politely. You can also send a follow-up email thanking them for their time.
Great communication goes a long way.
8. Ask For Permission to Add Another Tenant
In some cases, a landlord won’t be able or willing to adjust your rent.
But, they might open to letting you add someone onto your lease to help you reduce your run costs.
If you’re living in a one bedroom apartment, this will probably be a girlfriend, boyfriend or partner with whom you’re in a relationship. If you’re able to get permission, then congrats, you just cut your rent in half!
If you have spare bedroom(s) in your rental, then you could ask for permission to move in a friend or someone you identify through a rental website, like Craigslist, Facebook or Zillow.
It’s important to note that nearly all leases prohibit you from moving in new tenants in without getting your landlord’s permission. Meaning, you’ll want to do this the right way and secure your landlord’s consent.
9. Get Everything in Writing
If you’re able to come up with a way to lower your rent that everyone agrees on, then be sure to get it in writing.
A word-of-mouth contract won’t get you too far in court. The last thing you want is your landlord to take you to court for not paying the rent price listed in your lease.
If anything is changing on your lease, then have the landlord write up a new one that both of you sign and date. You can also put the changes down in writing and have the landlord sign and date.
Prepare to Negotiate Lower Rent Today
Before approaching your landlord to negotiate rent, be sure you’re prepared. Re-read this guide and keep these tips and tricks in mind to ensure you know how to negotiate lower rent.
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