While you may feel you have to compromise on your living space due to the limited rent amount you can pay each month, it doesn’t have to be the case. In more cases than not, rent can be negotiated.
Contrary to popular belief, rent is never fixed, and it is always up for negotiation. If you have never attempted it, you will be very pleased by successful rent negotiation. Even getting a $150 reduction in rent per month will allow you to save up to two grand ($1800) a year.
So let’s see the three rules that you must follow for successful rent negotiation:
Rule #1 – Know What You Want
The first rule of rent negotiation states doing your research and deciding on a number. You cannot just ask your landlord to give you a discount. Instead, you have to tell them the exact numbers you want.
If you’re unsure what numbers to quote, head to Zillow to find out the average rate per square foot in your neighborhood. Don’t forget to check the amenities that similar-priced homes or apartments offer to make your case stronger.
If your landlord seems unwilling to reduce the cash amount, be prepared to ask them for better amenities or upgrades around the place. You can ask for free parking or utilities, a lower security deposit, etc.
Rule #2 – Offer Something in Return
You cannot be the only winner in your rent negotiation deal. It has to be a win-win situation where your landlord can also get something they want or like. So don’t hesitate to offer them something that will benefit them in the long term.
For example, you can negotiate a $100 reduction in rent for never bringing in pets, smoking in the house/apartment, or signing an extended lease. Your landlord will likely agree to such terms as they won’t have to worry about finding another tenant shortly, which will reduce their cleaning cost once you move out.
Other factors you can negotiate with your landlord include not using your parking spot if you don’t have a car, paying rent in advance, increasing the notice period to 60 or 90 days, or making a deal for referrals. Learning what your landlord will like will increase the chances of your rent negotiation deal.
Rule #3 – Pick the Right Time
Generally, negotiating rent two to three months before your current lease expires is the right time. However, you can also negotiate a new lease during the winter when the market is slow, and landlords have difficulty finding new tenants.
The Winning Script for Rent Negotiation
You: Hey (Landlord), I wanted to negotiate my rent. I was wondering if you would agree to reduce it by $200.
Landlord: (Something-something about the market and how they will be at a loss if they did it.)
You: So I compared my rent with similar places in the neighborhood, and it seems I’m being charged 10% more than average. I have been punctual with my rent payments, and I thought I would talk to you about rent reduction before we renew the lease. If reducing the rent won’t be possible for you, I won’t be able to renew the lease. Is there anything we can agree on?
There are high chances your landlord will agree to reduce the rent by $100 or even $150 per month. However, if they don’t, don’t force them. You can still try to negotiate upgrades around the place or other benefits.