Americans aren’t always comfortable with haggling, but in the case of rent, price negotiations could be huge. You can raise the question of reduced rent with your landlord before you sign a lease, mid-lease, or even at the end of the lease. Stay friendly, and make sure your timing is good for your landlord, as well as yourself.
Know the local rental market
Before walking into a negotiation, you should know your stuff. Find out what people in your area generally pay for apartments of your size and quality. Find out what people in your building pay. You should get a sense of how much lower your landlord could realistically accept without selling herself short.
Sell yourself to the landlord
A property manager isn’t going to negotiate with a bad tenant; they’d be better off just finding another one. Prove that you’re responsible and reliable, by acting the model tenant for several months, or by providing an excellent credit score and references from past landlords.
Aim low, but not too low
When haggling, both parties usually expect to eventually compromise. Ask for a reduction that’s slightly bigger than what you’d actually expect, but don’t ask for something unreasonably low. You’d feel offended if your landlord tried to rip you off; it’s the same if you try to rip him off!
Give your landlord an incentive
Negotiating isn’t just about getting the best deal for yourself. Your landlord also has to benefit. You can offer to do any number of things in exchange for reduced rent—painting, shoveling snow, redecorating for future tenants, anything that either eliminates costs or adds value to the rental.
Find other things to negotiate
If your landlord isn’t open to a lower monthly rent, or if you’d rather save rent money indirectly, there are other fees to negotiate. Ask for cheaper or free parking. See if your landlord would be willing to make some upgrades—some, for example, might install kitchen appliances under the condition that they won’t be responsible for fixing them. Negotiate a lower security deposit—you’ll need a good renter record for that!
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