Whether you are seeking a brand new apartment or your lease
is up on your current place, you may decide you want to negotiate the cost of
your monthly rent. Factors that will contribute to your success include your
desirability as a tenant (good credit score, excellent references, etc.) how
long the apartment has been on the market, and the going rates for other places
of equal size and quality in your neighborhood. However, your effectiveness as a
haggler will also rely heavily on your attitude, preparation, and the way you
portray yourself to your landlord.
If you plan to argue your way to lower
your monthly rent, this guide will provide you with some pointers to help you do
Research the market
You don't want to offend your potential or
current landlord by requesting a rent price that is unreasonably low or cheat
yourself by negotiating for an amount that is still more than what other tenants
in similar places are paying. In order to be properly informed of the current
rent trends in your area, it's important to do your research before you begin
negotiating. Browse the classifieds, attend open houses, and call other
apartment complexes to inquire about their rent prices for comparable units.
This way you will know if your apartment or the apartment you are interested in
has a higher rate than average, and how much you could reasonably haggle for.
When you are negotiating rent for a new
apartment, you want to convince the landlord that you are a reliable and
trustworthy tenant they would be happy to have in their building. Providing
references from former landlords will convince them that you will be on time
with your rent, take good care of your unit, and not be a disturbance to other
tenants. The more convinced the landlord is that you would be a pleasure to rent
to, the more likely they will be to agree to offer you a lower price for rent.
Many landlords would consent that taking a slight cut in the monthly rent is a
small price to pay in exchange for a tenant that will not create trouble for
Pay more up front
Agreeing to put down more money on the apartment is a good
way to negotiate lower monthly rent payments. Rather than simply paying your
security deposit and the first month's rent, offer to pay the first three
months' rent right away. Receiving a larger chunk of change right away may make
your landlord more apt to give you a discounted rate on your new digs.
Sign a longer lease
It can cost landlords money to find new
tenants. If you promise to stay longer than a year, you can make yourself a more
desirable candidate for the apartment. Offer to sign a two- or three-year lease
instead of one in exchange for a lower monthly rate. Some landlords will also
lower the rent if you agree in your lease to pay before the first of the month.
Choose the right time
Timing is essential when negotiating. If
you are apartment hunting in the summer, you will have much less luck bargaining
with a landlord that has potential tenants clamoring for their apartments. This
season is the busiest and most popular time for moving--parents with school-aged
children and people in college are all relocating. The optimum time to search is
during off-seasons, and at the end of the month. Your best bet is to wait until
the last minute to approach the landlord--he or she will be more likely to
negotiate the rent for an apartment when they have been unsuccessful in finding
a tenant. They may prefer to agree to a lower price rather than letting the
apartment remain empty another month.
Before boldly walking into an office and
attempting to strike a deal with the property owner, take the time to plan your
strategy. Make sure you feel comfortable and are confident--you will not sway
anyone if you appear nervous and unsure. Negotiate a price that you deserve
compared to other rates for similar units in your area--don't attempt to demand
an unreasonably low amount or the landlord won't take you seriously. Be
flexible, but assertive as well. Practice the art of bargaining with friends if
it will help you to prepare.
As the old saying goes, you catch more flies with honey
than vinegar. Being rude, arrogant, or overly demanding will not score you any
points or get you any closer to sealing the deal. Be friendly and compliment the
place to let the landlord know how much you wish to live there. This will make
he or she feel confident that you will take good care of the apartment and
appreciate the opportunity to rent in the building.
Build yourself up
You are selling yourself as a candidate for
the apartment--do all you can to appear attractive and appealing as a tenant.
Emphasize your great credit score and your stellar references from former
landlords. Encourage the landlord to conduct a background check, employer
verification and credit check to verify your credentials, or bring a copy of
your credit report, pay stubs, and references to contact. You can also include
references from neighbors in your building that can confirm that you were a
quiet, peaceful and pleasant tenant to have in the building.
Know when to walk away
If you have done all you could and the
landlord would not budge an inch on the rent, know when to quit. Simply let him
or her know what you can afford to pay each month, leave your contact
information and request to be notified if anything changes. If the landlord
cannot find another suitable tenant within a few weeks, you might just get a
phone call. He or she would likely prefer to agree to your conditions than
continue losing money on a vacant apartment.