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How to negotiate rent?


Do some basic research about the house/apartment

Most advertised houses/apartments come with a specific rent that youíre expected to pay. Nevertheless, at times, you may find a perfect home thatís got everything youíre looking for, but is slightly over your budget. This is undoubtedly a titillating dilemma that necessitates some research on your part. You should find out how long the property has been unoccupied. Based on your finding, you can make an offer that makes for a ďWin-WinĒ situation for you, as well as, the house owner.

The duration the property has been vacant is vital

If the property has been available for lease/rent during the past several months or few years, then youíll have more leverage for negotiating its rent. On the contrary, if the property has a history of being grabbed immediately as soon as a tenant vacates it, then thereís hardly any leverage youíll get in negotiating its rent.
Therefore, to negotiate rent, you should research about the property even before you come to the negotiating table. This is crucial. The occupancy/vacancy status of the property during the past few months forms the decisive factor in your negotiation strategy.

Understand the peak and lean phases in the rental market

The number of vacant independent houses/apartments varies vastly from locality to locality within a city or town. At times, there are select localities in a congested city that are half-empty. Besides, the availability of houses/apartments for rent is extremely seasonal. In most cities and towns, very few houses/apartments are available for rent during the months of May and December. These months coincide with the beginning of new academic years in schools.
During these two months, the rental values are significantly higher than they are in the remaining 10 months. Hence, negotiating rent during May or December is much more daunting than during the other months.
Since academic sessions vary widely from nation to nation, the peak phases vary vastly from nation to nation, as well. May and December arenít the only peak phases. However, you should understand that the amount of bargaining leverage thatís available to you is minimal during a peak phase. During the peak phase, usually, the number of tenants is higher than the number of properties that are available for rent.

Compare average rental rates for different properties

Find out the rental rates in the neighborhood thatís ideal for you. Compare the rates of all the apartments and independent houses that are available for rent/lease.
Enquire discreetly with the other occupants in the apartment blocks/neighborhood about the rent theyíre paying and the period of their stay in the apartment/property. This will give you a fair idea of the amount of leverage you have when you finally sit for negotiating rent.
At times, you may find this process laborious and torturous. However, the amount of money youíll save in the long run is well worth the trouble. A lowly $200 savings that accrue every month translates to a decent $2,400 every year. Consequently, you should pay great attention to this portion of your house-hunting exercise.

Always opt to negotiate for a lower rent

If you are the type of individual whoís not comfortable asking for favors or is worried about rocking the boat, then youíre not a natural negotiator. Notwithstanding, remind yourself that you fully deserve what youíre looking for. This is further emphasized if your research indicates that the rental value the property owner is quoting is much higher than the market rate.
If youíre averse to any kind of bargaining, consider bringing along a co-worker or a friend who can negotiate the rent on your behalf. Rather than not negotiate at all, itís better for someone to negotiate for you and bring down the rent appreciably. There is a chance that you might even end up getting a far better deal than you ever expected.

Sell yourself as an ideal renter for the house owner

Most often, property owners are worried about the ability of the tenants to pay the rent regularly and in time; the tendency of the tenants to damage fittings and fixtures in the property; and the propensity of tenants to utilize the premises for non-residential purposes.
You should bring references, bank statements, credit reports, and pay slips when youíre negotiating with the landlord. Convince the landlord about your bona fides as an ideal renter by producing supporting documents from previous house owners. Selling yourself as an ideal renter is a huge bargaining chip to negotiate lower rent. Most landlords will be willing to forego a few hundred dollars a month for a trustworthy tenant with a clean record.

Mention your other options ó if you have to

During the negotiation process with a landlord, donít be afraid to disclose the other rental options you have. When employed correctly, this makes for an invaluable bargaining chip. You have nothing to lose when you reveal your intentions to explore other comparable houses/apartments available at lower rents.

To negotiate rent successfully, demonstrate flexibility

If the landlord demands $1,000 and you offer $800 initially, be prepared to settle for an amount thatís somewhere in the middle. Ask for other concessions when thereís no room for negotiating the rental amount. For instance, request for the cost of utilities to be included, a lower security deposit, a free cable connection, or extra parking space.

Negotiate lower rent for a longer lease

You can consider signing a longer lease in lieu of a reduced rent. For a landlord, this is especially attractive because it prevents the needless expenses that he/she incurs every time a tenant vacates his/her property.

Get the negotiated rent in writing

Unless you plan to negotiate rent again, you should get the amount you have agreed upon in writing. A verbal agreement, though gratifying, is not valid in a court of law.

To negotiate rent, use a real-estate agent or broker

If youíre averse to negotiating rent, or youíre not making much headway, you shouldnít hesitate to employ the services of a real-estate agent or registered broker. A real-estate agent can do a competent job and get you a fair deal.

You can negotiate rent to renew your lease, as well

Negotiating rent isnít just restricted to new tenants. You can also opt to negotiate with your existing landlord to renew your rental lease thatís about to expire. Persuade your landlord to reduce the rent if youíve been paying your rent promptly every month. Point out your good conduct in the neighborhood, your perfect payment history, and the other options you have in the locality that are available at lower rates.

Offer a bigger deposit

Nothing speaks better than a substantially bigger deposit than the one the landlord is seeking. Usually, landlords seek deposits that are roughly equal to a few monthsí rent. Offer a bigger deposit thatís thrice or more than the amount the landlord wants as deposit. A one- or two-year advance rental deposit makes for an irresistible offer that most landlords will find hard to resist. If youíve got the money, you should take this route and negotiate for a significant reduction in your monthly rent.

If negotiating rent hits a roadblock, walk away

If the landlord is exceedingly rigid, and when you have several other options, bluffing isnít necessary. Unless youíre enchanted with a particular house, donít hesitate to walk away if the landlord isnít flexible. Walking away from properties and landlords that arenít suitable for you is also part of negotiating rent.
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