Renting a home comes with many advantages, from not worrying about making repairs yourself to having a temporary home when you’re not ready to buy. Before you sign your lease, consider the aspects that might be negotiable.
If you’ve already lived in a rental for almost a year or more and have become a great tenant, then you’ll likely get a lease renewal that will allow you to stay in your current home for another year. In this article, we’ll discuss what you can negotiate with your landlord and how to get what you want.
Many tenants don’t realize that things within a lease can be negotiated, allowing you to save money and get more out of your rental agreement. You can negotiate many aspects of your lease agreement, including:
If you want to save money, then negotiating rent can help you keep your living costs down. As a renter, you have a ton of expenses, including rent, renter’s insurance, and utilities. By negotiating your rent price down, you can save money on your rental and put it towards other bills.
Rent is often negotiable, especially if you have already proven yourself to be a good tenant. This also applies to pet rent – if your pet has caused no damaged, then you may be able to reduce the monthly cost. Negotiating rent helps both the tenant and the landlord. Landlords spend time and money trying to fill an open apartment, so they want to keep all of their current tenants happy.
At the same time, negotiating means that a tenant won’t feel the need to move out of their home. Therefore, it’s much more cost-effective for a landlord to negotiate with a tenant than it is for them to find a new tenant. If you want to negotiate your rent, research to ensure that you know how much rent is in your area so that you can start the negotiation off on the right foot.
Many landlords already offer lease agreements for different types of tenants and are open to a 3-month, 6-month, 9-month, or 1-year lease agreement. You may also be able to receive a month-to-month lease, depending on your needs.
If your landlord only agrees to a one-year lease, consider negotiating with them to see if you can find someone who can sublet the apartment for the remaining amount of time that you’re not there. Since you’ve already done the work of finding a new tenant, your landlord might not mind you breaking a lease early.
Parking is free in some communities, but it might cost you in others. Sometimes you can negotiate with your landlord for free parking, especially if they don’t budge on the rent price or length of the lease. If you’ve been a good tenant for a long time, your landlord might be willing to give you free parking to keep you as a tenant for the next year.
Similarly, your apartment might offer storage solutions to renters. You can store anything from belongings to your bike for an additional fee. If your landlord does offer storage and you believe that it would be something that can help you free up space in your home, you can try to negotiate storage for free or a reduced price.
If you have been a reliable tenant, your tenant may be more willing to let you make changes to your rental, especially if you plan on living there for many years. For example, you can negotiate things like painting the walls, changing window treatments, and adding light fixtures.
Talk to your landlord and determine if there’s something already in your lease agreement that allows you to make changes to the apartment as long as you return it to its original condition when you move out. If your landlord doesn’t let you make these changes, you may be able to negotiate a longer lease term to demonstrate that you’ll be a tenant for many years if you’re allowed to make the changes.
For example, if you plan to live in an apartment for the next five years, ask your landlord if they’d be willing to let you sign a longer-term lease to make cosmetic changes.
Now that you know a few of the common things you can negotiate with your landlord, it’s time to learn how to negotiate.
1. Reread the Terms
After receiving your lease renewal paperwork, make sure that you review it and reread every section that you’re negotiating. Your lease renewal will look similar to your lease, but the one main difference will likely be your rent price. Rent goes up every year, so pay attention to what the lease agreement tells you about your new rent price.
2. Start a Conversation
If you’ve decided to negotiate with your landlord, it’s best to start a conversation with them as soon as possible. If a management group owns your rental, contact the office to get the contact information for the person you can negotiate with. If you know your landlord personally, it will be easier for you to contact him or her. Always start the conversation by saying that you want to stay in the rental unit but would like to discuss the terms.
3. Do Research
Before you can negotiate, you’ll need to know how much your apartment or rental is truly worth. You can find the price by requesting a rent history from your landlord. You can also visit your neighbors and ask what they pay in rent or look online to find out the rent price of similar rentals in the area. Then, when you go into the initial negotiation with your landlord, you can give them real, hard data that can’t be disputed.
4. Learn About the Local Market
Learning about the local market can give you more ammunition in a rent price negotiation. For example, if property values in your area went up to down compared to the national average, you might be able to use that to lower your rent. For example, if property values have dropped, you might argue for your rent price to reflect that change.
You can also learn about vacancy rates in your area. Your landlord’s main goal is to keep good tenants, so you might be able to convince them to lower rent by a small amount so that they won’t have a vacancy of their own.
5. Know Your Worth
If you’ve been a good tenant and know it, then try to use that to your advantage. The good news is that you don’t have to be the best tenant any rental has ever had. If there have been no complaints about you from your neighbors, then you’re already in a good spot.
You can let your landlord know the benefits of keeping you as a tenant under your terms by pointing out how you’ve followed your lease agreement and haven’t done anything wrong. Make a note that you’ve been a good neighbor, have paid rent on time every time, and haven’t broken anything.
If you admit that you haven’t been the best tenant, you can skip this part of the negotiation. There’s no reason to draw attention to the parts of your current lease agreement that you haven’t followed.
6. Offer Payments Upfront
Every landlord’s main concern is collecting rent payments on time. When you offer payment upfront, your landlord is more likely to give in to your terms for signing our lease renewal, even if it means that you’ll pay less in rent than they wanted.
Unfortunately, this might not work if your landlord is a large corporation because they’re not worried about every individual tenant. However, if your landlord is a smaller company, then you have a better chance of negotiating by offering them money upfront. You can offer to pay for the entire year or the first three months.
Negotiating the terms of your lease is never easy. However, you never know if your landlord would be open to negotiations, so there is no harm in trying. If you and your landlord can’t agree, you can always choose to find a new apartment or continue to live in your current home and try again next year.
About the Author:
Marné Amoguis holds a B.A. in International Business from UC San Diego. She is a contributing writer at 365businesstips.com where she loves sharing her passion for digital marketing. Outside of writing, she loves traveling, playing music, and hiking.