Getting the Most out of Tenant Incentives

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If you’ve been living in your current apartment for a while now, odds are that your lease has you locked in on a rent that really doesn’t reflect the market in your area. You and your landlord may have signed off on an amount much higher than the monthly price he’s offering to bring in new tenants.

If your lease is coming up for renewal, you may be able to use that fact to negotiate a lower rent for yourself — but if you’re only partway through your agreement, or your landlord refuses to negotiate on the rent, you do have other options: you can request incentives, just as some new renters are coaxing landlords to sweeten the deal in order to get apartments filled.

The first step to getting an incentive to stay in your apartment is to be willing to move out, if that’s what it takes.

Tiffany Ralph likes her apartment in San Jose, California, but is willing to move to get a better deal. She was able to convince the management at her apartment complex of that fact: “They took my monthly pet charge off my rent. Of course, that won’t really stop me for more than a little while.”

By eliminating one of the charges associated with her rent, the management company kept Tiffany from immediately starting on an apartment hunt — but if Tiffany hadn’t already considered moving, she probably wouldn’t have gotten the deal.

Many landlords count on what amounts to laziness on the part of renters. Many tenants want lower rent or incentives but don’t want to deal with the hassle of moving: an apartment manager can call that bluff and refuse to offer any such incentive.

It’s only when you’re prepared to take action that you can get results. Landlords don’t want to go looking for more tenants — it’s an expensive process, typically more than whatever incentive they can offer you.

Many of those incentives cost relatively little for a landlord to provide. But even the small amount you can save by getting your landlord to remove a regular parking or trash fee from your rent, or offer you another incentive like a new stove or refrigerator can make a big difference in your own expenses.

So get started: outline what incentives you want and get in the mindset that you’re willing to move out in order to get a better deal.

6 Responses to “Getting the Most out of Tenant Incentives”

  1. May 11, 2009 at 1:59 pm, Noheli said:

    I am a single mother of two (2) beautiful chidlren and due to my poor income am forced to live in a what used to be “low income housing”. However, my lease expired March 31,2009 so I did what I’ve been doing during the past 2 yrs and renew my contract with Country Club Villas. However, to my surprise after managment increasing my rent upon contract renewal, they sent me a notice one month after my lease was renewed to inform me that effective June 1st, 2009 my rent would increase $128.00 more. I tried to reason with the office manager and even wrote a letter to the General Manager: Alberto Urrechaga, requesting a transfer to a two (2) bedroom apartment. However, my request was declined and when I tried speaking to the office manager again (Reina) she simply told me I should sacrifice. I am turning to you for advise, I feel as if I was tricked into signing this new lease and now how do I come up with $128.00 extra a month. I am overwhelmed with stress and don’t know what else I can do. Is there anything you can advise me to do?

    Thank you kindly for your cooperation.

    Regards,
    Noheli Martinez

    Reply

  2. May 12, 2009 at 4:09 pm, Helene said:

    What state our you located in? Are you currently in a one bedroom?sounds like you have been scamed!!! Noone does what they did to you…They would have had to disclose your rent increase,,Call a FREE legakl service in your area for a tip and a regular lawyer,,How where you tricked into ssigning a new lease?They can not give you a new lease and change it one month lator,,CALL an attorney ,you sound like you have a strong case,,,GOOd luck

    Reply

  3. June 16, 2009 at 4:00 am, Anonymous said:

    I moved into an apartment about a year ago with a girl I knew from work. We got along great and the rent was high but affordable ($1450 so $725 each) however, the economy was declining and money was getting tight (we are both full-time students and part-time servers in a restaurant.) She decided that school, city life, and friends in the area were not worth the rent and moved back in with their parents (at least she gave me 6 weeks notice). I’ve been aggresively searching for a roommate for 11 weeks (the room’s been vacant for 5 weeks now) and have continuously kept my apartment manager informed of my efforts. The manager showed me some 1 bedroom apartments ($1200) and even the 1 and only studio the building has ($950), but even those are too expensive (my monthly income has decreased by over $1200 in the last six months). I had to drain my savings account and use my grocery budget to pay this months rent. If I don’t find a roommate in 2 weeks I’ll have to drain my IRA to pay rent next month but no other options after that. I told my manager about the apartment building my boss manages (her rents are considerably less, $700 for her studios, but she has no vacancies.) I explained that while I’m still looking for a roommate and would much rather stay where I am, I plan on renting the 1st apartment she has available. Last week I asked the manager if she could talk to the owner about lowering the rent (expecting them to laugh at the thought, but hey it’s worth a try.) Yesterday the manager called to inform me that the owner agreed to lower the rent to $1300. I was absolutely shocked! It’s not all that much lower ($150 less), but it just may be enough to attract a roommate. We’ll see…

    Reply

  4. June 16, 2009 at 4:02 am, Desperately Seeking Roommate said:

    I moved into an apartment about a year ago with a girl I knew from work. We got along great and the rent was high but affordable ($1450 so $725 each) however, the economy was declining and money was getting tight (we are both full-time students and part-time servers in a restaurant.) She decided that school, city life, and friends in the area were not worth the rent and moved back in with their parents (at least she gave me 6 weeks notice). I’ve been aggresively searching for a roommate for 11 weeks (the room’s been vacant for 5 weeks now) and have continuously kept my apartment manager informed of my efforts. The manager showed me some 1 bedroom apartments ($1200) and even the 1 and only studio the building has ($950), but even those are too expensive (my monthly income has decreased by over $1200 in the last six months). I had to drain my savings account and use my grocery budget to pay this months rent. If I don’t find a roommate in 2 weeks I’ll have to drain my IRA to pay rent next month but no other options after that. I told my manager about the apartment building my boss manages (her rents are considerably less, $700 for her studios, but she has no vacancies.) I explained that while I’m still looking for a roommate and would much rather stay where I am, I plan on renting the 1st apartment she has available. Last week I asked the manager if she could talk to the owner about lowering the rent (expecting them to laugh at the thought, but hey it’s worth a try.) Yesterday the manager called to inform me that the owner agreed to lower the rent to $1300. I was absolutely shocked! It’s not all that much lower ($150 less), but it just may be enough to attract a roommate. We’ll see…

    Reply

  5. August 31, 2009 at 7:50 pm, Alberto Urrechaga said:

    Im the General Manager for Country Club Villas it seems that the tenant did not read the lease and does not understand that we follow florida law of a tax credit community. We have tried everything to help the tenant however she feels that we have not helped her. Im very sorry to here this but I am just doing my job… People need to read contracts not just sign them…

    Reply

  6. December 22, 2009 at 5:05 pm, Lisa said:

    @Alberto Urrechaga – Yes, people DO need to read legal documents, HOWEVER, you (as in your apartment complex) also need to not make them novels and use legalese which most people do not understand. Most legal documents are intended to be complicated so that even if you do read it, it is hard to understand. They are filled with loop holes and sneaky tactics.

    I live in an apartment. They want me to resign for 7 months at the same rate of $945 however on craigs list they advertise apartments for $860. How is it that I, a good renter who pays on time has to pay more than someone moving in? Yes, its an incentive for them, but whats my incentive to stay? It costs them more for me to leave.

    Apartment complexes and management are nothing more than Kirby Vacuum salesmen hiding as apartment management.

    Reply

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