Negotiating Rent: Three Steps for Success

It’s something nearly all renters think about, yet few are able to achieve successfully: At some point, practically all renters ponder the task of negotiating rent with their landlord. Whether you’re contemplating a move, trying to save money to buy a house or simply wish to test out your negotiation skills, the goal of negotiating rent with your landlord is a significant one, and it is something which requires investment of both time and resources.

There are a number of things you can do to boost your chances of success. Here are three tips which can assist you in negotiating rent:

1. Increase Your Knowledge of the Market

Rent prices, like home values, are derived in part from the conditions of the local market. Landlords are aware of this fact; they are in competition with other landlords in their local area, and in order to succeed they need to maintain competitive rates.

An excellent way to increase your bargaining position when you negotiate rent is to thoroughly familiarize yourself with your local market: Research local home prices, the neighborhood and other things which factor into price rates in the market.

This information is an essential tool when trying to negotiate rent with your landlord, because with it you can readily make comparisons and draw inferences regarding your own situation. If you discover that your rate is unusually high compared to other similar dwellings in your area, this will be an invaluable piece of information in the negotiation process.

2. Emphasize Your Value as a Tenant

As we all know, not all tenants are the same — some are wild and irresponsible, others are mediocre and some are spectacular. Even if they don’t specifically mention it, all landlords are grateful to have tenants who are financially responsible and who maintain the quality of their property. When it comes time to negotiate rent, emphasizing your value as a tenant will be a truly important technique.

On the positive side, be sure to emphasize your history of fiscal responsibility and respectful behavior, and on the negative side (because the negotiation process is no time to be coy), you may want to address the fact that it will be difficult to find replacement tenants of equal or greater quality than yourself. When approached in such a way, few landlords will ignore such points; landlords are more aware than anybody of the importance of quality tenants.

Related — Haggling on a Home: Guide to Making Low-Ball Offers

3. Be Both Flexible and Assertive

It is perhaps most important that you be flexible in the negotiation process, because there is a very high chance that an overly stubborn attitude will end up backfiring. Obviously, every tenant who tries to negotiate a lower rent has an ideal outcome in their mind which they would like to achieve. Unfortunately, the harsh reality is that in many cases, this ideal is simply unattainable.

If you enter negotiation with a view that your figure must be met at all costs, you may ultimately wind up worse off than before. If, on the other hand, you are willing to compromise when negotiating rent, there is a much greater chance that your situation will improve. Of course, being flexible does not at all mean that you shouldn’t be assertive — you should state your position clearly and firmly, otherwise your likelihood of success is very low. However, you should be aware that it is not unlikely that you will have to make compromises in order to improve your situation.

No Harm Asking

When presented with confidence and a reasonable justification (such as being a financially responsible tenant), most landlords are quick to recognize that a long-term relationship with a good tenant, even at a lower rent, is a far better option than a short-term relationship at a higher rate. However, if you find yourself in a situation where your landlord does not agree with this position, you are no better off. It never hurts to ask.

This article was written by Chad Fisher on behalf of accountant.org, who remind everyone to consider all options to reduce their periodic expenditures, from rent to monthly utility costs.

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