How to Ask Your Landlord to Reduce Rent (Template)

Tips to negotiate rent

Although negotiating rent’s not exactly rocket science, knowing what to say and when to say it is incredibly important when attempting to lower your monthly rent. 

To that end, here are five helpful tips to help you successfully negotiate your rental agreement: 

1. Do your research

The importance of good research can’t be understated. Whether you’re negotiating rent, arguing a court case, or writing an English essay, research is often the difference between successfully advocating for your position and going home empty-handed.

In short, research shows your landlord that you know exactly what you’re talking about. Plus, arguments supported by facts and figures are hard to dispute.

To best prepare for the rent negotiation, research the following:

  • Average rent: When negotiating rent, use market data to your advantage. For starters, research the average rental price of similar units in your area to have a better idea of the market.  If you live in Atlanta, for instance, and units similar to yours are being rented for $1,200/month, but you’re paying (or are expected to pay) $1,300/month, you can use this to justify a $100 decrease in monthly rent. In addition, be prepared to discuss the national average rent.
  • Cost of living: The cost of living differs based on area. In general, the cost of living in a city is higher than in a rural area. If your monthly rent far exceeds the average cost of living in your area, you may be able to negotiate a lower rent.
  • Other rental companies: Unless you live in a very small town, chances are your landlord is one of many in your area. Use this to your advantage by mentioning what other rental companies are doing to entice new tenants. For instance, if another company in your area is offering to waive first month’s rent, mention this to your landlord. Renting is a business, after all, and no one wants to be behind the competition. 

Of course, no amount of research can make up for impolite or aggressive behavior during the negotiations. Read on for our next tip about being polite while negotiating.

2. Be polite

There’s an old adage in the sales industry: “People buy from people they like.” While you’re not actually selling a product to your landlord, you’re selling an idea. If your landlord doesn’t like you, there’s little chance they’ll be willing to negotiate the price of rent.

This doesn’t mean you have to appease your landlord, but it does mean you should negotiate rent in a polite, formal manner.

Never go into the meeting with the expectation that your landlord will lower your rent. Instead, approach the topic in a calm, confident manner. If your landlord doesn’t meet your asking price, your attitude may encourage them to compromise.

3. Start small

If you go into your meeting asking for a large decrease in rent, chances are your landlord will quickly say “no.” After all, they’re running a business and have ends to meet. But, if you ask for a reasonable reduction based on your market research, the likelihood your landlord or property manager will compromise dramatically increases.

It’s always best to start small. That way you don’t sound too demanding. Also, instead of asking for a reduction in monthly rent, it may prove more fruitful to ask for a reduction in other living expenses including:

  • Security deposits
  • Pet fees
  • Application fees

Reducing these expenses can also result in big savings in the long run. That said, why not skip these extra fees altogether? Be sure to check out rental options that don’t require security deposits and application fees.

4. Approach it at the right time

Negotiating rent at the wrong time can lead to major disappointment. Thus, correctly timing the conversation is crucial to a successful negotiation. In general, winter is the best time to negotiate rent. 

Why? Winter is the rental industry’s slowest season, making it difficult for landlords to find new tenants. If you’ve found a new rental with a lease that has good terms, but it has a higher rent price, winter is an ideal time to negotiate costs. 

In addition, be aware of the following timing considerations:

  • Day:  The first of the month is usually a bad time to negotiate because this is when most leases start. Also, the first of the month corresponds to an influx of new applications, decreasing your leverage.
  • Season:  If winter’s the best time to negotiate, summer is the worst. This is because summer’s the rental industry’s busiest season. Landlords are more likely to say “no” to your request because they most likely have a surplus of applications.

At the end of the day, negotiations are all about leverage. Amass as much leverage as possible by correctly timing your negotiation.

5. Offer value 

Some landlords may be willing to reduce your rent if you provide a service of equal value. 

For instance, instead of asking for a $100/month rent reduction, offer to provide monthly maintenance equal in value to the amount you’re asking. That way, both parties “win” the negotiation.

Other ways to exchange rent for value include:

  • Provide landscaping around the property
  • Perform marketing tasks
  • Maintain the landlord’s website
  • Offer to help prepare apartments for new tenants

While there are many things you can do to help your landlord, ensure the service you offer is of equal or greater value to the rent reduction.

It may also be helpful to ask for a reduction in rent based on amenities. For example, if your landlord charges a parking space fee but you don’t own a car, you may be able to reduce your rent based on your disuse of this amenity.

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Why You Should Negotiate Your Rent

Successfully negotiating your rent means more than just smaller monthly payments. Here are some serious benefits to paying lower rent for the same location and quality.

Lower Rent Means More Money for You

More money in your pocket means more financial freedom. If you can negotiate $100 off your rent every month,you’ll keep $1200 more in your pocket every year. That’s money you can save, invest, or use to pamper yourself. 

Negotiated Rent Gives Your Place More Value

When you negotiate your rent in Chicago, you get a better deal. As a result, you’ll appreciate the place a bit more if it’s less strain on your wallet.

Everybody Negotiates Their Rent Increase

Every renter wishes they paid less rent. In fact, a lot of them manage to reach an agreement with their landlord on a lower rent before they sign their lease.

That means that if you’re signing your lease without trying to negotiate your rent, you could be paying more than the fair market price for your home.

This is especially true if you’re negotiating against a rent increase. Since you have an established relationship with your landlord, you’re at an advantage to negotiate. (Provided you’re a good tenant, of course).

3. Think about using your lease term to your advantage! If you plan on renting for a longer period of time, you can try asking for a discount

FOX / Via giphy.com Rentals often start with a year lease; afterwards, you might be given the choice to stay and pay month-to-month or sign on for another year. But in some scenarios, you might decide in advance to rent for more than a year. Maybe you don’t want your lease to end in the summertime when you know the apartment hunt will be more competitive. Or maybe you’re attending a college nearby and don’t want to deal with the stress of hunting for a new place at an inopportune time of the year (like midterms or finals week). “If you know that you will rent for longer than 12 months, you can leverage that,” Walker said. “You can say, ‘I’ll be here for 18 months, so could I receive a month and a half for free?'” Depending on the landlord, free months can be calculated into your lease term to lower your monthly net effective payment. So instead of paying the original price for one less month, you’ll pay a lower price for each month.

12. Trade a rent decrease for other perks

Do you rent a parking spot outside of your apartment rent? If yes, getting rid of that expense would totally save you money. You could negotiate with your landlord for the rent to include a parking spot. 

When to ask for a rent reduction

You can request a rent reduction at any time, but your landlord will take you most seriously when you are renewing your lease because you’ll have more leverage right before the lease ends. You can also work other sticking points, like pet fees and the security deposit, into the discussion when you negotiate your rent. Quiet, clean tenants are tough to find, so chances are the landlord wants you to continue renting! Use our sample rent reduction letter during the negotiation process when renewing your lease. If you make a good case, the landlord will be more likely to lower the monthly amount.

However, If you’ve fallen under an unexpected financial hardship, as many have with the spread of coronavirus, ask for a rent reduction as soon as possible. Showing that you’re planning ahead for the next month will make you appear more reliable and display you’re working to fix your situation.

Another option when negotiating rent is to ask for a temporary reduction. If your work has halted during quarantine, you may need a little rent relief during this time. Ask your landlord if they would be willing to reduce your rent for these couple of months until you can get back on your feet again.

5. Experiment with the lease terms

Offering a different move-out date, extending your lease term or reworking the end of your lease term to fall during high season (spring or summer) are some of the ways you may be able to play with lease dates and terms that might be attractive to a leasing manager.

4. Assess what a reasonable rent reduction would be

If the answer to “Can you negotiate rent” is yes, then the next question is “how much can you negotiate?”. You can always ask for more than what is reasonable. However, you usually have more chance to get what you want when what you demand seems reasonable. 

From the above market research and evaluation of the demand for apartments in your area, you should have a pretty good idea, at this stage, of how much over the market you are paying in rent. 

For example, if your rent is €1800 but most apartments you sorted out are up for €1650 or €1700, then that means you are paying between €100 and €150 over the market. That is how much you can ask as a rent decrease.

3. Think about anything else you might be able to offer

If you have enough cash, consider offering several months' rent up front. Landlords may be willing to give a rent discount to tenants who can offer them more money right away.

"A lot of landlords are strapped for cash because a lot of renters are behind on their rent," Mohamed says. "If you can offer it, it's a popular tactic."

Proposing a lease longer than 12 months may also make landlords more willing to accept a lowball offer, she adds.

"Landlords are in a position in a lot of places where they want to secure that rent payment every month. If you're in a position in your life where you can commit to an apartment for two years, definitely use that as a negotiation tool," Mohamed says.

It can’t hurt to negotiate rent

In the end, asking for a rent reduction can only work to your benefit, as long as it’s done professionally. Your landlord is human and understands where you’re coming from. The worst they can do is say no.

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