How to Negotiate the Cost of Rent

When you look at an apartment for rent, the landlord informs you of the rental price. You may assume the price is firm,but it is often not. Negotiating for lower rent is a common practice.

When you do it, you often get an apartment otherwise unaffordable. Even if you are already renting an apartment, requesting lower rent is an option. Doing so has the potential to save you a lot of money, especially with a long-term rental agreement.

The type of apartment you plan to rent and the area in which it is located will affect your negotiation leverage. For example, if the apartment is in a neighborhood where apartments are in high demand, the landlord may not negotiate with you. There is no reason for negotiation when other renters are willing to pay full price.

You may find some roundabout ways to get perks to offset rent costs, but it is difficult. In a less popular area you have more negotiating power because the landlord may have difficulty renting the apartment at full price. Here are ways to get lower rent or other benefits using negotiation tactics.

Learn About Incentives and Rewards

One way to obtain lower rent is to move into a new apartment complex. The landlord of a new apartment complex must advertise and provide special incentives to get tenants like you to move in. For example, you may receive a monthly discount for signing a lease of a certain length. Imagine your rent is $500 per month.

Receiving a 10 percent discount each month for that year would save you $600. Initial or retroactive discounts for meeting certain criteria the landlord considers valuable may be available, such as:

  • Being a non-smoker.
  • Having a good credit or rental history.
  • Referring other good tenants to the apartment complex.

After you live in an apartment for more than a year, you may think additional rent discounts are off the table. However, there are many ways to do so. For example, requesting for the landlord to give you similar incentives already offered to new renters. The landlord may willingly offer you such discounts and incentives to keep you happy because you are a long-term renter in good standing.

Offering your landlord services in exchange for rent discounts is another way to save on rent costs. For example, if you are a certified plumber, offer to do plumbing repairs in your apartment complex for free. Paying part of your rent in time instead of money keeps your landlord happy. It also allows you to more easily afford to pay your rent.

Learn About Taking the Long View

Negotiating the terms of your lease is not just about asking for a lower monthly rate. You have to offer a compromise your landlord wants. The negotiation must benefit both of you. For example, if you have the means, offer up-front payment of some or all of your rent. When your landlord receives cash ahead of time, it eliminates the stress of hoping you pay rent on time.

Therefore, the landlord may accept a lower monthly rate, since the money is paid right away. Your landlord may also want a long-term trustworthy tenant. Therefore, he or she may offer a discount in exchange for a longer lease agreement.

When negotiating with your landlord, you must remember there is more than rent at stake. Meaning it is possible to negotiate other perks of value. By paying reduced rates or not paying for them at all you save money. That financial windfall helps you afford the cost of rent.

Examples of such perks include:

  • Free furniture.
  • Waived fees associated with rental, such as cleaning fees or pet fees.
  • Free access to apartment complex amenities that typically require extra fees, such as pool access.

About Downsizing

Small apartments are often difficult for a landlord to rent. When those apartments have strange layouts or other inconveniences it is especially true. Apartments with no view or less square footage are typically undesirable due to aesthetics or lack of convenience.

If you are flexible about such issues, renting a small apartment with an atypical layout is ideal. Make your landlord happy by renting the unusual space, and you can possibly negotiate a lower rent rate. Low rent is better than an empty unit in the eyes of your landlord.

Instead of or in addition to a rent discount when you are willing to downsize, ask for other perks. Request a preferred parking space or new appliances to make up for the smaller or less convenient apartment.

Approach your landlord with the plan to take one of these less popular units and turn it into a tidy little studio in exchange for a rent discount, free parking, a new appliance or other suitable financial perk. Do not be afraid to negotiate. Ask for what you want and be aware of what you are offering. If you are willing to make do with less square footage or closet space, you are likely to end up with more money in your pocket.

How to Show off Your Positive Aspects as a Tenant

The best way to receive rent discounts or any perks at all from your landlord is by showing you are friendly, respectful and trustworthy. Enter into any negotiation with your landlord honestly. Be straightforward about your needs.

Also, highlight what you offer to the landlord in exchange for perks or discounts. Maintaining an apartment complex is a lot of work. If your talents are useful, the landlord may see those talents as worthy of trade. Talents to bargain with include:

  • Babysitting.
  • Painting.
  • Carpentry.
  • Plumbing.
  • Heating and cooling.
  • Yard or property maintenance.

The method you use to negotiate matter. Your landlord needs to get to know you and understand your intentions. Therefore, in-person negotiations are essential. Other beneficial methods suggest you develop a friendship with your landlord, or at least mutual respect.

When the landlord does agree to your negotiation requests, make sure you express your gratitude and follow through with your end of the bargain.