When is the Right Time to Negotiate Rent with Your Landlord?

February 22nd, 2010 by

It’s possible to negotiate rent with your landlord at almost any time, which could result in you paying lower rent monthly. But many landlords may only agree to lowering rent if you approach them at the right time. So when are the best times to negotiate rent with your landlord?

When Average Rents Are Lower

At the time you agreed upon rent with your landlord, the city you live in might have been booming economically. However, if more and more people are getting laid off and people are leaving the city or unable to pay the same rent, the average rent may be decreasing. This is the time to approach your landlord, who has an incentive to keep a good tenant on the premises. Listen to the news and learn about your local economy. Ask friends and neighbors what they’re paying for rent, and do some research on the average rent paid in your city on websites such as www.rentometer.com. If you’re paying higher rent, negotiate with your landlord to reduce it.

When Maintenance Is Needed

If your landlord doesn’t have a property manager, and could use some help with the repairs you need done to your apartment, you may have a great opportunity to negotiate rent. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you can offer to do the repairs in exchange for lower rent. Another option is to agree to waive your request for repairs in exchange for lower rent. The landlord saves money and time in either scenario, and you benefit by a lower rent payment. Get the agreement in writing so that when you move out, you’re not held liable for further damage to appliances, fixtures or the structure because repairs were not done or are in a manner unsatisfactory to the landlord.

When You Have a Solid Rent History

A brand new tenant is often not in the position to negotiate rent. However, if you have a steady and reliable rental history, with little or no late fees for at least a year, then it’s the right time to negotiate rent. Add to that the other factors mentioned above, such as average rents getting lower and maintenance needed, and it will be hard for your landlord to say no. The assumption for this to work is that you’re a tenant your landlord wants to keep. If you’re a nuisance to your landlord and other tenants, then it’s never the right time to negotiate rent, and any renewal of your lease agreement might be in jeopardy.

When There Are Empty Units

A landlord who has empty units for an extended period will want to keep tenants that are paying rent on time. It won’t look attractive to prospective tenants if several units aren’t rented, because they want to know who their neighbors are, and they may suspect that they’re dealing with a terrible landlord. This is a good time to negotiate rent with your landlord. They have an incentive to keep you as a tenant, even if it means making less money on your tenancy. If the units are vacant for more than 3 months, approach your landlord and see what happens.

Approach your landlord in person if possible to negotiate rent. However, a well written letter will suffice if your landlord is not accessible.

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