In this market, many new renters are freely negotiating with prospective landlords on the price of rent and having success.
However, what if you are currently locked into a lease and don’t really want to move?
If you have been in your apartment for several years, before the downturn of the housing market, you may be paying up to a couple hundred dollars more than new tenants.
Luckily, there are still ways you can negotiate a lower rent payment.
How to Negotiate Lower Rent in Your Current Apartment
Know the market.
Take the time to find out what others in your building are paying. You may find that new tenants are moving in for $800 a month while you are paying $1,000 a month for the same style apartment. If you don’t want to come right out and ask the new tenant, you can do a Google search of your address and find ads for the apartment for rent to get an idea of what the landlord is charging (though keep in mind the new tenants may negotiate down from that point.)
Another strategy is to look on Craigslist or other sites for comparable apartments. You may be surprised to find that apartments with better amenities are going for the same price or less than you are currently paying.
Having this information gives you negotiating power.
Put it in writing.
Write your landlord a letter stating how long you have been a tenant, how diligently you have paid your rent on time and how difficult it is too find good tenants in this current market. Also include research documenting how rent prices have decreased in the last few years (if that is the case), and how much you feel you are now overpaying for your current apartment. Then, state how much you would like to pay.
Be careful with this number as you want to leave yourself room to negotiate, but you also don’t want to offend the landlord with an unreasonably low number.
Agree to sign a longer lease.
If you feel comfortable with it, agree to sign a longer lease, perhaps 1.5 or two years. This gives the landlord a benefit in the negotiations too because she won’t have to look for a new tenant for at least 18 to 24 months.
Considering how expensive it can be to get a vacant apartment ready to show and to lose the rent on an empty apartment, the landlord may be agreeable to a modest decrease in rent.
Look for discounts in other ways.
If the landlord is not willing to negotiate on the rent, perhaps you can negotiate other ways to get reductions.
Maybe the landlord would be willing to take $50 off your rent a month if you pay before the first of the month. If you live in a smaller place, maybe she would give you a reduction if you take care of the lawn by mowing in the summer and shoveling and applying salt in the winter.
Be willing to walk away.
If you truly feel the rent you are paying is unwarranted, be willing to walk away from the apartment and move.
Most people don’t like the hassle of moving, but it may be worth it if your landlord won’t negotiate and you feel you are paying a few hundred dollars more a month than the property is worth. Chances are, when you look for a new apartment, the new landlord will be willing to negotiate.
The current economy and renter’s market gives tenants negotiating power.
If you are facing a rent increase or feel that your current rent is too high based on the market, don’t be afraid to negotiate.
Chances are you may be pleasantly surprised.
If your landlord is not willing to work with you and reward your punctual payments, it may be time to move out and negotiate with a new landlord who is desperately looking for a reliable tenant with good credit.
The choice is ultimately yours.
Credit Cards Canada says
Everything can be negotiated…almost. And often barter is the best way, because you don’t lose and value on the taxes. The key is finding out what you have or can do that the other party (in this case, the landlord) would want.
Excellent points @CreditCardsCanada. I love bartering, but many people don’t do it and find it somehow shameful. Sometimes it can work best for both parties.
Financial Samurai says
There is NO WAY my tenants can get a rental decrease in this market. Things are redonkulously hot!
I’ve never negotiated with a current landlord, but I can see it working to get a small discount. New Haven has the lowest vacancy rate in the country (lower than NYC), so I’m not sure he market is on my side.
Another strategy is to consider negotiating for things that they pay for, like landscaping or sidewalk shoveling. Some landlords might be willing to take $50 or so off your rent if you mow the lawn.
I have found that it is worth while to haggle over everything, rent, cell phone charges, cable bill…EVERYTHING!
Jeff Crews says
I had friends who were able to negotiate their apartment rent costs to vary low rates. Paying on time, and having a good relationship with the landlords allowed them to do this. I think one of the keys is being Persistent and Polite.
Great article, I’ve used some of these tactics myself! Many of these tips also work when the rental market is hot and your landlord wants to increase your rent by an exorbitant amount. Having a good relationship with your landlord and being a trustworthy tenant goes a long way in that situation.
Lisa @ The Penny Hoarder says
In a depressed economy, many things in life have become negotiable! I think it also depends on which part of the country you live in… some landlords may be in a position to accept a trade – rent for repairs, for instance. Landlords sometimes become complacent, and take for granted the fact that they have an A+ tenant – of you are one and you’d like to leverage that fact to reduce your rent, it never hurts to ask! Great pointers here, thanks Melissa!