Six Tips for Negotiating a Better Lease Agreement

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Going over a lease agreement is a critical part of entering into a business relationship between a landlord and tenant. When it’s time to open the books to look at the lease agreement, there is a lot that a tenant can do to negotiate a better deal. Here are some of the ways to use lease term dialogue to improve a lease agreement before signing.

1. Provide Proof of Assets, Income and other Assurance

Above all, the landlord simply wants to know that you can make the agreed rent. Any proof of your financial responsibility will generally help you in negotiating a lease agreement.

2. Show Proper Understanding of Legality and Lease Etiquette

Generally, the more you know, the better you will be treated by landlords. Demonstrating your knowledge will help you earn the respect of the parties you are negotiating with.

3. Open a Dialogue about the Security Deposit

The security deposit in a lease agreement has become an increasingly controversial part of this legal document. Many landlords tend to keep the security deposit when the tenant moves out to pay for damages to the housing unit. If the damages are extreme, this is warranted, but some normal wear and tear may not be a fair reason to withhold a security deposit. For a better lease agreement, go over any strategy to document wear conditions, and set up a good understanding of what will happen on move out day.

4. Pursue Various Quid Pro Quo Options

Some of the terms of your lease agreement may be improved by some bargaining with your landlord. One good example is the term of the lease itself. A standard lease term is a one or two-year contract, but some landlords will be open to shorter terms, for example, a six month contract followed by month-to-month rental, in exchange for concessions such as a higher security deposit. Make these suggestions as they appeal to you, and see if they resonate with your landlord.

5. Be Thorough in Defining a Lease Term

Other provisions of a lease agreement are no better than the understanding that they create between the landlord and a tenant. For example, a provision in a lease may deal with noise. Without a concrete definition of what kind of environment is guaranteed, there is really no value added by this kind of lease clause. If, however, a tenant and landlord can mutually define these clauses when signing the lease, this will set them up for easier solutions to problems that may occur later.

6. Be Open and Honest about Lease Terms

If you need to negotiate something like a pet deposit, or talk over issues like access, do it in a friendly but firm manner, with attention to showing the landlord that you respect their position in the deal. Overall, when the two parties can demonstrate a mutual understanding of the lease terms, a lot of hassles can be avoided. In many cases, a mutual accommodation of concerns brought by either party can form the basis for an effective, valuable lease agreement.

These are some of the strategies tenants commonly use to get themselves a lease that works for their living situation.


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