Whether you’re hunting for a rental property or your landlord is increasing the rent of your current apartment, it never hurts to ask to negotiate the price. If you’re looking through listings online, you might think the posted price is non-negotiable, but that’s not always the case. In fact, negotiating rent is extremely common, plus it’s a smart way of saving money in the long run.
Although discussing rent can be an awkward and uncomfortable situation for you and your landlord, you should calculate your expenses carefully to ensure you’re not spending over 30 percent of your income on rent.
That said, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to prepare yourself to go into a negotiation with the proper mindset.
Can You Negotiate Rent?
The short answer to this question is yes, you can. Although each landlord responds differently to negotiations, you can still take your shot and aim for the best. If you’re lucky to have a strong rental application, you’ve one more reason to start negotiating. Not to mention landlords prefer a financially stable and reliable renter over anyone else.
On top of that, rental prices are increasing yearly, adding to your monthly rent bills. For example, from February 2021 to February 2023, rents increased by $302 or 18.47 percent. These numbers indicate that the percentage of your monthly rent can make or break your income overall.
So, if you plan on talking to your landlord, you must develop a successful strategy to make a strong point. However, first, you must know how and when to approach the negotiation conversation. Here are the best tips to win the best rate for your property.
Know What You Want
The number one mistake you can make in your rental negotiation is to go without knowing what you want. If you leave it up to your landlord, they’ll try to charge you more to maximize their profits. Instead, you should know the exact number you want for your rent.
Some people may think that saving some extra dollars per month is no big deal, but you’d be surprised. For example, if you save $50 monthly, you’re saving $600 yearly, and that’s not a bad starting point.
Besides knowing what you want in terms of money, negotiating rent means including other things, such as:
- Security deposit
- Free Parking
- Pet fees
- Free storage unit
That way, if you can’t get the rent you want, you can still try negotiating for other features and still save some cash.
Have Something to Offer in Return
If you’re negotiating to take some $ off your rent, the landlord is most likely expecting something in return. Of course, money is their top priority, but you also have to give them something that’ll make them accept your offer, such as:
- Sign an extended lease
- Prepay months beforehand
- Give up your parking space (if you don’t own a car)
- Promise not to keep pets even if they’re allowed
- Promise not to smoke in the apartment
These things increase your chances of succeeding in the negotiation process, while also letting them know that you know what’s beneficial for both parties.
Know the Market
Timing is always crucial, and negotiating your rent is no different. Usually, apartments go through different periods. Sometimes, the rental market is thriving with potential buyers trying to rent at any price. Other times, the landlord has many empty apartments they need to rent because they’re too desperate.
That’s why knowing when to negotiate your rent is essential. Having that in mind, statistics show that rent prices tend to increase in May, right before the hot months. Similarly, the lowest months for rent are the cold months of January and February.
So, if you find the perfect rental property and you want to look into it, you can use Rentberry to negotiate your rent by submitting an offer, and applying online. That’s also an easier way of doing your negotiation talk without having to do it face-to-face. However, we suggest you avoid negotiating in the summer and early fall because those are the busiest months for landlords, so it’s unlikely they’ll agree.
Explain Your Strengths
The way to a landlord’s heart is by showing them how great you are to work and communicate with. Explain to them that you’re a responsible tenant who’s had no negative history of late rental payments; you want to rent the apartment for many years, not a short time; you know how to take care of your apartment by cleaning it, etc.
These positive features will save landlords time and money because they don’t have to search for new tenants. Additionally, you can give them the contact information of your past landlords, and they’ll confirm everything you said.
Let Them Know You Have Options
Here’s where you need to be diplomatic about your apartment search. When you’re having a negotiation conversation with your landlord, try to clearly state that their apartment is one of the few you’ve found. Otherwise, they will feel pressured to lower the rent without wanting to.
While you’re at it, ensure to leverage other properties’ amenities by showing them that other places have more to offer. For example, you can say that you’d love to rent this apartment because it has free parking space, but another building in the area is closer to work – both for the same price.
These things will help the landlord understand how lowering rent can have an impact on your final decision.
Try Again Later
When you sign your lease and the landlord refuses to settle for a lower rent, it’s not the end of your negotiating. If you’re a confident person, try to open up the negotiation discussion with your landlord again after some time, preferably a few months before your lease ends.
Every landlord finds it challenging and expensive to rent their apartment to new renters, so if you’ve shown you’re a responsible and reliable tenant who’s willing to resign their lease, you must try your last shot.