Learn how to approach a rent negotiation with your landlord using the following 6 strategies.
It’s a common scenario: You find a rental property you love, in a neighborhood that’s right for you — whether that’s close to work, friends, family, or in the heart of a vibrant city. It’s perfect, but the rent feels unreasonably high. Or maybe you’ve been renting in the same apartment for years, but your landlord just announced they’re raising your monthly payment.
While it can feel intimidating, asking your landlord for a rent reduction is well within your rights as a tenant. Even if it’s not possible for your landlord to lower your rental payments, having a conversation can demonstrate your good standing as a tenant or give you leverage to avoid future rent increases.
Here, we explore the most common opportunities for negotiating rent prices and share six tips for effectively broaching the subject with your landlord.
While many rental agreements seem rigid about rent prices, there’s often more flexibility in pricing than landlords let on. This is especially true in a competitive market, when landlords with apartment vacancies are more willing to negotiate lower rent prices than lose a tenant altogether. A few common situations for negotiating rent prices include:
This scenario may include when a first-time tenant or seasoned renter finds a rental property they like but feels the rent is unaffordable or not aligned with market rates. This situation is arguably the most challenging, because it’s difficult to persuade a new landlord of your credibility with no history together. That said, you can make a case for yourself by submitting a strong application, including references from previous landlords.
Another common instance of negotiating rent prices is before the end of your lease, especially if you think there's a risk of your landlord raising prices. This conversation is a valuable opportunity to demonstrate your good standing as a tenant and air your concerns about the possibility of having to move elsewhere if the rent becomes too high in the months to come.
Maybe your current rent payments made sense when you first signed the lease, but you have other expenses now, or perhaps these payments feel unsustainable over a long period of time. It’s always worth communicating with your landlord, because the payoff can be significant. If your landlord agrees to take off as little as $50 a month from your rent payment, that still adds up to $600 saved over a year.
Before having any rent negotiation conversation, it’s important to prepare. While the outcome of the conversation may not always be a rent reduction, it can still help you build a better relationship with your landlord that pays off in the future. Below are some tips to begin a rent negotiation with confidence:
Landlords will be more open to a rent negotiation conversation with tenants who consistently pay rent on time, treat their space respectively, and communicate effectively. Show them they can trust you, and they’ll likely be more willing to work with you. If you’re a prospective tenant, prove your experience being a great tenant with a strong application, complete with tax returns, proof of employment and a high credit score, and references from previous landlords.
One of the best ways to approach rent negotiation is through preparation. By understanding what comparable rental units in your area are going for, you can make a reasonable argument for your proposed rent reduction. This demonstrates to your landlord that you’re informed and sensible about what you should be paying, not pulling a number out of thin air.
For landlords, finding new tenants can mean vacant rental units — which means lost rental income. Offering to sign a long-term lease (e.g., a two-year lease, or switching from month-to-month to a yearly lease) may appeal to your landlord since he won't have to go through the hassle of finding a new tenant until a later date. You could also offer to adjust the end date of your lease to a time when your landlord will have more luck finding a new tenant, such as during the summer peak rental season.
Maybe your landlord can’t afford to reduce your rent year-round, but they may be open to a temporary rent reduction. If you’re navigating a job transition or high-expense month, consider asking your landlord if they would be willing to lower your rent temporarily. Clear communication goes a long way here, and it’s better to ask for lower rent than miss a payment, for example.
Another opportunity to build trust with your landlord and prove yourself as a reliable tenant is by helping them maintain the property. This could mean taking on responsibilities like lawn mowing, snow removal, or other rental property maintenance tasks that uphold the property’s value. When it comes time to renew your lease or initiate a rent negotiation, they may be more willing to accommodate your request because of your contribution to the property’s maintenance.
If you’ve done your market research, you already have a sense of what comparable rental units in your area look like and cost. If the appliances or plumbing fixtures in your apartment are old, finicky, or unusable, you could leverage this to your advantage and make a compelling argument for lower rent — especially if other apartments charge less and feature newer appliances.
Your relationship with your landlord is a mutually beneficial one that depends on communication from both sides. The best way to approach any negotiation? Come prepared, be confident in your request, and keep an open line of communication.
Don’t wait until the last minute to ask your landlord for a rent negotiation — with enough advance notice and a well-researched case, you may be able to lower your rent or avoid future rent increases.
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This article and the Azibo Blog in general is intended for informational and educational purposes only. It is not investment, tax, financial planning, legal, or real estate advice. Please consult your own experts for advice in these areas. Azibo provides information believed to be accurate, but Azibo makes no representations or warranties about the accuracy or completeness of the information contained on this article or blog.