3 Ways to Negotiate Price When Renting an Apartment

When you start searching for an apartment to rent, you will notice that most advertised units come with an established amount of rent that you will be expected to pay. However, if you find the perfect place that has everything you want but is slightly over budget, you can try to negotiate a lower price before you sign the lease. The amount of leverage you have will depend on the amount of time the apartment has been on the market, whether you are a desirable renter with good credit and excellent references, and what similar apartments are renting for in the neighborhood. This article will teach you how to negotiate price when renting an apartment by doing research in advance, promoting yourself as a prospective tenant, and being flexible during the negotiations.


1. Doing your Research

Start the process early.

The earlier you begin conducting research, the more time you will have to negotiate the deal you want.

  • Waiting until your current lease is about to expire and you have to move immediately does not provide you with adequate time to research, plan, and negotiate.
  • Leaving things until the last minute will also make the process more stressful.
  • Prepare early so that you are negotiating from a position of strength.

Consider the timing carefully.

Avoid trying to rent an apartment during the busy rental season for your area. Landlords and property managers are less willing to negotiate if they believe there is a great demand for apartments and plenty of potential tenants.

  • Landlords are often more willing to make deals at the end of the month, because they don’t want a unit to stay empty for an additional month.
  • If you live in an area with a college or university, try not to begin this process right before the start of a new semester since these are often the busiest rental periods.
  • Most people move between May and September, so winter is good time to look for new apartments and negotiate more favorable deals with landlords.

Investigate the current rental market.

Educating yourself about the current rental market in your area will help you determine what might constitute a fair rental price, which is essential information to have during the negotiation process. Your research will also give you a better indication of whether the landlord or property manager might be willing to negotiate.

  • Find out what the average apartment rents for in the neighborhood and city where you are looking to rent.
  • Talk to others in the apartment building to find out what they pay per month.
  • Ask your friends and coworkers about their rental rates.
  • Review classified ads and note the rental rates for similar apartments in the area.
  • Find out how long the apartment you want has been on the market. If it has not rented after 1 to 2 months of availability, the landlord will be worried about losing money and might be more willing to negotiate your rent.
  • If you browse apartment listings online, pay attention to how long the units are listed. This will help you evaluate how much demand there is in the rental market for the type of property you are interested in.

Inquire about specials and discounts you might be eligible to receive.

Many apartment complexes offer monthly or seasonal specials. It’s also a good idea to ask if they offer any discounts to students, educators, employees of a specific company, veterans, or other groups.

  • Some landlords might offer you a discount if you refer friends or colleagues.
  • Apartment complexes sometimes post information about special deals and reduced rates on their websites or community bulletin boards.

Ask a real-estate broker for help.

If you are having trouble with your negotiations or are uncomfortable doing this yourself, contact a broker. Brokers connect buyers and sellers, and will be able to guide you through this process.

  • In many cities, the landlord—not the tenant—pays for a broker’s services.
  • If you want to stay in your current apartment and just negotiate a lower price, brokers probably won’t be able to offer assistance.

2. Promoting Yourself as a Prospective Tenant

Conduct negotiations in person.

While it’s okay to conduct your research online, over the phone, or via email, it’s often to your advantage to conduct the rent negotiations in person.

  • It’s much easier for a landlord or property manager to dismiss your questions over the phone or in an email.
  • Setting up an actual appointment is more professional than dropping by unannounced, and it demonstrates that you respect the person’s time.

Dress for success.

When you arrive to view a prospective apartment or negotiate with a landlord, dress professionally. This will help show that you are a responsible tenant who will clean and care for the place you would like to rent.

  • Landlords will treat you with more respect and take your requests seriously.
  • It can also make a good impression to arrive in a clean car.

Provide proof that you are a great tenant.

Arrive prepared with references, pay stubs, and bank balances, which emphasize you have a stable job and sufficient income to afford this apartment.

  • Although it’s usually part of the rental application process, you can also encourage the landlord to conduct a background check, credit check, and employment verification. This will reinforce that you are an ideal tenant with nothing to hide.
  • If you are on good terms with your current landlord, ask them to write a short letter explaining that you are an excellent tenant who pays their rent on time and takes care of the rental unit or property.

Describe your positive attributes.

Landlords want tenants who are honest, reliable, and who will be good stewards of the property. To emphasize this point to a prospective landlord or property manager, mention some of your positive qualities. Here are a few good facts to highlight if they apply to your situation and lifestyle:

  • You always pay your rent on time or even early.
  • You are a nonsmoker.
  • You are a graduate student or professional who works hard.
  • You do not have pets that might damage the apartment.
  • You are quiet and courteous.
  • You plan to live in the complex or unit for more than one year.

Arrange for a cosigner or guarantor.

If you do not have a good credit score, are between jobs at the moment, or don’t make enough money to qualify for the rental, you might need to arrange for a co-signer on your lease. A cosigner, or guarantor, is a third party who agrees to pay rent if you are unable to do so.

  • From a landlord’s perspective, this will help you seem like a more reliable tenant and a secure investment.
  • Although a prospective landlord might tell you that you need a co-signer, you can also mention this option during the negotiation process.
  • Landlords and property managers often look for tenants whose monthly income is at least three times the cost of the monthly rent.If you don’t qualify based on this criterion, inquire about the possibility of a co-signer or guarantor.

3. Being Flexible When Negotiating

Don’t be confrontational.

Although your adrenaline might be pumping during the negotiation process and this can be a stressful situation, you will do more to help your case by being respectful, polite, and calm.You could lose your negotiating power by being disrespectful or trying to strong-arm someone.

  • If this situation goes the way you hope, the person you are negotiating with will likely be your landlord, and you don’t want to start off with a negative relationship.
  • People are usually more willing to be accommodating and helpful if they are being treated well. No one wants to deal with a rude tenant.

Ask for a lower price than you are willing to pay.

When negotiating, it’s important to initially ask for a lower price than you are willing to pay, because it’s possible the landlord might agree to the deal. If they aren’t amenable to the initial offer, this tactic usually encourages them to name an alternate price, and then you can counter with another offer.

Be willing to make concessions.

One of the keys to successful negotiating is offering a deal in which the other person also wins something. Offering to give up on something or be accommodating might help you seal the deal. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • If you do not have a car, you might be able to give up access to a parking space.
  • If you have the available funds, you could offer to pay your rent in advance.
  • Commit to a longer lease term in exchange for a lower price.
  • Agree to provide longer notice when moving out.

Be open to alternative amenities or discounts.

If the landlord is unwilling or unable to lower the rental price, you might still be able to negotiate amenities or discounts that save you money and make the apartment a more affordable option. Unless you are willing to ask, you never know what options might be available.

  • Ask for specific repairs to be made to the apartment or painting to be completed before you move into the unit.
  • See if you can pay a lower security deposit or if application fees can be waived.
  • Request free parking or additional parking.
  • Ask that utilities be included.
  • Inquire about free cable or internet service.

Offer to help out the landlord.

Your landlord might be open to providing a rental discount if you offer to help out around the complex or unit.

  • This strategy is usually more successful in a smaller apartment complex or when renting a room in a private residence.
  • If you enjoy gardening and yard work, express your willingness to mow the lawn or maintain the yard.
  • Offer to help staff the office on the weekends or at busy times of the year.
  • If your landlord seems to need help when it snows, offer to shovel the walkway.

Remember that you have options, and do not be afraid to mention them.

If the landlord knows you are considering other places with lower rents, you might have an extra bargaining chip.

  • If you have done your research properly, you can show the landlord these options.
  • If your research reveals that people are paying less for similar properties nearby, ask the landlord to explain why there is a difference, and see if they might be willing to change their price.

Get the deal in writing.

If you successfully negotiate a reduced rental rate, discounts, or amenities, make sure these items are written into your lease.

  • If your landlord denies this agreement in the future, you will have the official lease as proof.
  • Verbal agreements are not sufficient.

Be willing to walk away.

If the landlord is uncompromising or unwilling to negotiate, this might not be a place you want to live.

  • Their willingness to negotiate, or lack thereof, reveals a lot about how responsive they might be as a landlord.You don’t want to live somewhere that doesn’t care about attracting good tenants and maintaining positive relationships with tenants.
  • If you still feel that this place is the only viable option, then you might need to consider looking for a roommate. Splitting rent will drastically reduce your monthly costs.
  • You could also consider downsizing to a smaller apartment in the same complex to lower costs.

source: wikihow