How to Negotiate Your Rent

By Kat Tretina on 4 April 2018 0 comments

When I moved from Pennsylvania to Florida, my husband and I looked everywhere for an affordable apartment. We finally found the perfect place that was within budget, and for that first year, it was wonderful.

Then we got our renewal notice and found out our rent would go up by over $250. That would have broken our budget. I thought about moving, but the high cost of relocating scared me away. Instead, I decided to negotiate with my landlord. It worked; we agreed on a $100 increase instead of $250. By just taking 10 minutes to discuss our lease, I saved us $1,800 over the course of the year.

When you're renewing, you have certain benefits over prospective tenants. Negotiating rent might sound impossible, but it can be done.

Look at comps

Research comparable rental units in the area that offer similar features and perks of your current apartment. This way, you'll get an idea of what the fair market value is where you live. You might find that your rent is the same, or even much higher, than it would be with a newer unit. That finding can give you significant bargaining power. (See also: 10 Best Tools for Finding an Apartment on the Cheap)

Review your rental track record

You might think your landlord would be unwilling to negotiate, but you'd be surprised. Good tenants are hard to find, and keeping a reliable tenant is much better than having an empty unit sit on the market. If you've been a good tenant — always paying rent on time and never causing trouble for the property manager — you will have more negotiating power.

See how many units are available

If you live in an apartment complex or if your landlord has several rental properties, see how many units are currently available. If your landlord has several openings, they're more likely to do what they can to get you to stay. Otherwise, they risk letting another unit sit unused, which means losing even more money.

Talk to your landlord

Once you've done your research, talk to your landlord. You can talk in person, but if you'd prefer, you can also send an email (that's what I did!). Below is a template you can use:

"Dear [landlord],

I received the lease renewal for my unit, and I'm concerned about the price increase.

The new rate would cost me an extra [$X] per year. I looked at other rentals in the area, and several complexes offer more features and larger units at [$X] price, which is much cheaper than the increased rate for my unit.

I believe I've been a good tenant; I've never missed a payment, and there's never been a single noise complaint or any other problem. If there's any way we could make it work, I'd like to stay here, but the price increase is more than I can reasonably afford.

Could you compromise on the rate? I could afford [$X]; that's the top of my budget, but it would be worth it to stay in my home."

Whether you rent a home from a private individual or lease an apartment from a big company, you can negotiate your rent. By doing your research, you may be able to get a lower rate.

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How to Negotiate Your Rent

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