‘Your Rich BFF’ Vivian Tu: How To Negotiate and Lower Your Rent

Happy young married couple are moving to new apartment.
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In this economy, the cost of living seems to be on the rise. Unfortunately, rent is taking a substantial chunk out of our earnings. Financial expert Vivian Tu, known as Your Rich BFF, shed light on how to negotiate and potentially lower your rent. Here’s what she had to say about how to keep living costs in check.

Understanding the Skyrocketing Rent

Why has rent become so expensive? Tu highlights several factors during her show:

  • Inflation. With costs rising universally, landlords shift the burden to renters.
  • Lack of inventory. A shortage of rental properties, particularly affordable ones, drives prices up.
  • Expired rent freezes. Landlords are compensating for pandemic-induced rent freezes and discounts by increasing prices.
  • Remote work trend. The migration towards suburban areas for larger homes has spiked rents.
  • High demand for smaller apartments. The increasing preference for studio or one-bedroom apartments escalates demand and prices.

Crafting Your Negotiation Email

Tu suggests a well-structured email as the starting point for your rent negotiation. Your email should express your intent to extend the lease but at a reduced rate, justified by the softened rental market. It’s recommended to research similar units in your area on platforms like Rent.com, Zillow, or StreetEasy to determine a fair price. Setting a deadline for the discussion can also pressure the landlord into taking your proposal seriously.

When the Direct Ask Fails

Not all landlords might be open to reducing the rent. Vivian advises asking for concessions like a free month of rent in a 12-month lease or two to three free months in a 24-month lease as an alternative. This way, the landlord retains the official monthly rent rate but offers you a real discount.

Make Your Money Work for You

Broker Fee Negotiations

In places like New York City, renters often must pay a broker fee, which can be negotiated. If a unit has been unoccupied for a while, suggesting that the landlord covers the broker fee could be a win-win, keeping the listed rent unchanged but saving you a significant upfront cost.

Exploring Other Housing Options

Tu mentions looking into subsidized or rent-stabilized housing as alternatives for affordable living. These options offer protection from exorbitant rent hikes. Furthermore, taking on additional roommates can significantly reduce your share of the rent, making housing more affordable.

Taking Action

With a blend of knowledge, negotiation skills, and creativity, lowering your rent becomes a feasible goal. The worst scenario? Your landlord declines your offer, leaving you in the same position as before – so why not give it a shot?

Tu’s pragmatic approach toward understanding and negotiating rent provides a pathway to alleviate the financial burden of housing. Explore her tips and you might just find yourself on the winning end of a rent negotiation.

Editor's note: This article was produced via automated technology and then fine-tuned and verified for accuracy by a member of GOBankingRates' editorial team.

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