With the possible exception of “crazy neighbors” and “rat infestation,” no two words strike more fear into the hearts of renters than “rent increase.” If you know or suspect an increase is coming, don’t wait for it to hit your bank account. Speak with your landlord. Make it known that you wish to negotiate the rent increase. And let them know you have a few ideas they might wish to consider. Here’s how.
Rentometer provides an overview of similar rental unit costs in your area. It lists dollar amounts, categorizing results in everyday language such as “good deal,” “reasonable,” and “way too high.” ApartmentSearch is a great way to collect up-to-the-minute data about apartments for rent in your area, too. Not concerned about a rent hike right now? Consider identifying comparable units anyway, printing their related data, and filing them. Or take screenshots and save them to your computer. This info will provide you with historical data you may be able to use to your advantage.
Use cash and time.
It might seem strange at first, but you might be able to negotiate a lower rent by agreeing to pay in cash or by offering to sign a longer lease. After all, less time spent trying to fill an empty apartment is more money and peace of mind to your landlord.
Be on your best behavior.
Speaking of peace of mind: Your good behavior as a tenant may make a valuable negotiating tool. Industry executive Alex Larsen told Time.com, “If you’re renewing a lease, your track record as a good tenant can be a bargaining tool for landlords who don’t want to risk losing you or pay the cost of sourcing a new tenant if they’re paying a broker’s fee.”
Attorney Alex Stern told the same website, “From the landlord’s perspective, a bad tenant can cost much more than some lost rent. Emphasize your positives that always pay rent timely, you have stable employment, you’ve never had past issues with other landlords, etc.”
Put in some elbow grease.
It’s the age of the gig economy. Uber, Lyft, and other companies have made it commonplace for people to hire themselves out. Approach your landlord with the idea. Handy with a hammer? Available to address on-site issues for other tenants? There could be cost savings for both of you. A genuine win-win. There are even online forms to help you get started!
So can you negotiate rent? Absolutely. But it’s not as easy as a simple request. Make sure you’re ready to ensure a win-win scenario for everyone.
If, despite your efforts, your current apartment no longer fits within your budget, find a new (and equally lovely) apartment on ApartmentSearch.com. Search newly listed apartments by price to limit your search to only places that you can afford. Then let your landlord know you used ApartmentSearch and see how you could get a $200 reward!