How You Can Negotiate Your Rent
Updated: Mar 14
Whether you’re looking for a new unit or hoping to secure a lower rent on your current apartment, you can always negotiate the rent – as long as you’ve got the right attitude.
In fact, if you have a positive payment history with timely rental payments and maintain a good rapport with your landlord, you could be leaving money on the table by choosing not to negotiate.
Most landlords are more than happy to allow you to think over the rent rates and won’t expect you to sign on the dotted line right away. So, make sure to negotiate the rent!
Here are six tips for negotiating the rent that can help you confidently and tactfully ask for what you want.
Become Familiar with Rent Trends
You need to enter this conversation as informed as possible. Information is your best way of securing a lower rent. To get a current, realistic view of the rent in your area, consult a property manager near you. Try to find the going rate for your location and see if you can get the rent adjusted accordingly.
Pay particular attention to factors such as location and amenities. You can negotiate more confidently if you know that other rental units are offering better amenities to lower the rent. The landlord may be having a tough time looking for a reliable tenant, and that gives you more wiggle room to negotiate a lower rent.
Landlords and Property Managers Operate Differently
Landlords often give you more flexibility when it comes to negotiating compared to property managers. Think of it this way; property managers often have to follow corporate policies that they cannot get around, so you will be less successful in that negotiation.
On the other hand, landlords who own a multi-unit apartment can be more flexible to your needs. This isn’t to say that you should give up pursuing a lower rent through the management company.
Ask for a Discount When Agreeing to a Longer Lease Term
Most rentals start with a year lease, after which you are given a choice to pay month-to-month or renew the lease for another year. In certain scenarios, you may decide to renew the lease. Perhaps you don’t want your lease to end in the winter when you know the hunt for apartments will be more difficult. Or perhaps your workplace is near and you don't want to deal with the stresses of commuting.
If you know that you will stay in the same rental unit for longer than one year, you can say something like, “I’ll be here for two years, so could I receive a month and a half for free?”
The landlord can calculate the free months into your lease agreement to lower your monthly payment.
Get Everything in Writing
Once you and your landlord settle on a number, ask for written documentation. Besides the rental amount, it should include any discounts, such as a one-month free discount. Ensure that the document is signed by both you and the landlord.
Remember that most landlords aren’t fond of negotiating either. They are not your adversary. Keep your tone positive while negotiating the rent to help you more effectively navigate the discussion.
And always be willing to walk away.
It’s important to know when to say ‘no.’ This could be based on your financial need or market value. This way, the landlord knows you have options and have probably found a few places you would be open to renting.
Ask for Perks Instead of Lowering the Amount
It’s definitely nice to have to make lower rental payments every month, but evaluating your ‘other’ needs could help you identify certain perks that the landlord could offer. Perhaps you need to park your car and find it more convenient to pay the full price for rent in exchange for a guaranteed parking spot. Other concessions include lower pet fees, reduced security deposits, and free utilities.
If you’ve ever negotiated for lower rent, let us know your experiences and strategies in the comments.