10 Ways to Negotiate a Lower Rent
You’ve landed your first job in the city of your dreams. Life couldn’t get better. That is until you realize that your landlord increased the price of rent. If your rent is breaking your back, it doesn’t have to stay that way, you know. You can always talk to your landlord, and ask (nicely) whether you can knock a few hundred dollars off your rent. If you’re worried that your landlord will balk at such a direct request, here’s what you can do beforehand:
Do Your Homework
Visit rent comparison swebites and check the average rates for similar units in your area. Also, find out whether your landlord is on the lookout for new tenants. You can use both of these as bargaining chips since (1) the landlord can’t charge higher than the average, unless there’s a good reason; and (2) it’s much, much easier to keep existing tenants than find new ones.
Keep a Clean (Financial) Slate
Think you can keep your credit history from your landlord? Think again. Landlords can purchase information from private credit reporting agencies to find out whether you’re as capable with your finances as you say you are. Be honest with your landlord about your situation, but give them some sort of guarantee that you won’t flake out on them once “collection day” comes.
Extend Your Lease
Say something like “Okay, I’ll rent for x more months/years, as long as I pay only this specific amount.” Most landlords would rather receive a lower consistent monthly amount than leave a unit vacant and waste its income-generating potential.
Advance Monthly Payments
If you have more than enough money to spare, ask your landlord whether you can pay off 3 to 6 months worth of rent in advance. Chances are, your landlord will appreciate the gesture; after all, tenants who pay early are rarer than tenants who pay late. Oh, and there’s a good chance you’ll be given a lump-sum discount too.
Pay Ahead of Time, Always
If your landlord tells you things like “I really appreciate you always paying ahead of schedule”, pounce on it. Suggest that tenants will have an incentive to pay earlier if they get a discount or something like that.
Take Good Care of Your Place
Nothing makes a landlord happier than a tenant who takes care of her place. Spruce up your unit with these garage organization tips, or ask your landlord whether they have a specific aesthetic in mind. Trust us; they’ll be flattered that you think so well of their taste.
Find Other Tenants
If your landlord is having trouble finding tenants, consider helping out. Post about vacant units on social media, or refer people you know. Your landlord might just be grateful enough to shave a small amount off your rent. If not, at least you’ll have people to rely on within the premises, right?
Offer to Help Out
Of course, you don’t have to wait on your landlord hand-and-foot. But doing little things – watering the plants, collecting money from other tenants, or even doing DIY stuff, if that’s your thing – can make your landlord, and people in general, more partial to you.
Hint (Nicely) That You’re Moving Out
This’ll be easier if (1) you have a good track record as a tenant, and (2) you actually have a place to move into. Say things like “I found this neat place that costs only this amount, and I’m considering moving there.” Be careful with this tactic, though; if your “threat” is empty, your landlord and rent won’t budge the way you want them to.
Even after doing all of the above, however, don’t spring a request for a 50-percent discount right off the bat. Otherwise, your landlord will see you as an opportunist, refuse your request, and force you to start from Square One. Ask for a discount low enough for your landlord to agree on, but high enough to add a little extra to your monthly savings.
Remember the No. 1 rule of negotiation: Make sure the situation is a win-win for everyone involved. Take your landlord’s situation into account, but don’t shortchange yourself either. If you’re soft but firm in your negotiation, you’ll get what you want in due time.