You Can Negotiate With The Right Skills
Dealing with a rent increase is a complex negotiation situation that needs to be backed by top-notch negotiation skills.
Whether you’re a new tenant, on the cusp of renewing your rental lease or given a yearly rent increase, the ball is now in your negotiation court.
The art of negotiation can be used in just about any situation, even when someone says the price is firm.
Even then, if you have the right backing power, you might be able to squeeze in a discount or, in this case, negotiate a rent increase that doesn’t fit with your current budget expenses.
Rental prices in our area have gone through the roof in the last couple of years.
If you are a family with 2 children and need to rent a 2 or 3-bedroom apartment, you’ll be looking at nearly $1200-$2000 a month, whether it be in a basement apartment, one level of a house or an apartment complex.
A property management team typically runs an apartment complex, and basement apartments and house rentals have landlords who own the property.
If the entire house is rented, the landlord may have many properties listed under a company name.
Apartment rent prices tend to go up every year, and if you rent privately and have a good landlord and good tenants, they may waive that rent increase to keep you there.
Living in an apartment can be challenging since a property management team runs them.
Please don’t give up hope, though, because, like the homeowner, landlord apartment buildings aim for the best tenants but don’t always get them.
Can I negotiate rent?
Absolutely, why not? Most people don’t think to negotiate rent because it’s not something discussed.
You pay what the landlord wants, and that’s it. You could be paying more than you need to because you CAN negotiate if you jump in to bat.
If you don’t try, then you will never know, but you must have reasons behind why you want to negotiate a rent increase or a new tenant rental agreement/lease.
You can’t simply tell your landlord that you can’t afford the rent, or they will ask you to go somewhere else.
Landlords want quality tenants, and if you are one of them, you have potential bargaining power.
If you’ve lived in an apartment building for years or even one year, you have more leverage than the person coming in as a new tenant to negotiate a rent increase.
If you’ve been good and paid your rent on time, they already know what type of tenant you are.
You need to remind them when you ask for a decrease in rent and a reason.
It’s a legitimate one, not one you made up because you’re too cheap to pay for the rent increase or need it to buy the stuff you can do without.
Taking advantage of a negotiating system only ruins it for those who legitimately need it and are good tenants.
Remember that just because you think you’re a good tenant doesn’t mean you are.
You don’t know what the landlord has seen or what they have heard either.
In some cases, they might want you to leave, hoping that you can’t afford a rent increase so that you will go.
How do we negotiate the rent with property management?
Property management negotiations may be more challenging than renting from a landlord.
Again, apartment buildings have their fair share of problems with tenants, including the police showing up quite often.
Mrs. CBB lived in an apartment building when she first moved out on her own, and it was nothing but police, ambulance and fire trucks weekly.
It’s not easy finding the perfect tenant, but there isn’t an ideal tenant.
You might be the ideal tenant that they are looking for, so it’s essential to play on this need or desire that they crave.
The less hassle they have to deal with when it comes to tenants and their apartments, the better.
If you can prove to them that you are an excellent tenant or will be, then you might be in luck.
The costs involved in negotiating a reasonable rent with good tenants are enormous to a landlord or property management team.
Fewer expenses mean more profit and money for the upkeep of the properties.
My advice would be to know what you want before you go in and arm yourself with research and lots of positive things about your rental habits and needs.
Trying to convince them that you are worthy of a rental decrease takes more than just getting upset and telling them that you will move.
They won’t care if you don’t care. Respect goes a long way.
Negotiating A Rent Increase With The Landlord
I can offer you all the rent negotiation tips today to help you out, but only you know your landlord or property management team and how you live as a tenant.
Let it be known if lower rent is on your mind because you can’t fit a rent increase into your budget.
Make sure you take all avenues of earning extra money into consideration.
Simply adding a few hours of overtime, a part-time job, buying low and selling high, using your skills, or re-arranging your budget categories might help.
If you don’t attempt to do any of the above, don’t bother trying to negotiate a rent increase.
If you can’t be bothered to do something about it first, then why should anyone accommodate you?
Let this be known as well when you approach your landlord or property management team so they understand what you’ve done.
Save The Landlord Money
Negotiating a rent increase with your landlord if you live in a house may be easier as you could offer to maintain the property if that is not in your lease instead of the increase.
Saving the landlord money from hiring property maintenance might be the ticket to your rent decrease.
We have friends who rent a country property, and the landlord reduced their rent by $300 a month.
He told them not to call him for anything unless the house burnt to the ground or it was a significant issue.
This worked out perfectly for them as they are battling significant debt, and not getting a rent increase is a big deal.
You could also offer your skills as a trades-person to do repairs around the house or possibly fix their car or truck and cut hair in exchange for a rent decrease.
There are options if you sit down and think about what you can offer to your landlord in return.
If there is nothing, all you can do is tell it like it is, have a game plan and hope for the best.
Being The Perfect Tenant
Housing prices everywhere are getting expensive, and many homeowners struggle to keep afloat financially.
Millennial homebuyers who are buying their first home, seniors, or even those who have lost a job, been injured on the job or can’t afford the mortgage want you to help them pay the mortgage.
For this reason, you may find they are renting out their basement or other parts of the home, which means an excellent tenant is worth holding back on a rent increase.
Rent Increase Negotiation tactics
- Having a game plan is key
- Know what your price is
- Give up your parking space (typically, there is a charge for parking)
- Know the average price in your city
- Offer work for less rent, such as cleaning the lobby or mowing the lawn.
- Offer to change the date you pay rent to meet their needs
- Always listen to what is being said BEFORE you jump in
- Visit the landlord/property manager face to face
- Offer to spread the word about vacancies
- Try to visit close to the end of the month
- Be relaxed, comfortable, confident
- A good Credit Score goes a long way
- Letters from past landlords are great referrals
- Employment history
- Be willing to sign a lease or extended lease
- No parties, no smoking, no pets, quiet tenants (significant negotiations start with what the landlord wants from a tenant but often doesn’t get it.)
Once you have your game plan and negotiation tactics in place, start practicing.
You can practice in front of a mirror or with someone else who plays the role of your landlord.
This may ease some anxieties about talking with your landlord and make the meeting go smooth.
Related: Top 10 Qualities of a Dream Tenant
Sample Rent Reduction Letter To Landlord
I’ve put together a sample rent reduction letter that you could pass along to your landlord if the case arises that you can’t afford to live where you are any longer.
Don’t be ashamed and tell the truth but also remember to state why you’ve been a good tenant and what you like about the property management team and the building you live in.
I’d type this in a pre-set Word document, print and evenly fold it and insert it into an envelope.
Either deliver the rent reduction notice by hand or mail it.
Keep in mind mailing it will take a bit longer to arrive and possibly never come.
Go for personalized service if you can because then you know they have the letter without worry.
Sample Rent Increase Negotiation Letter
Below is a sample letter to negotiate a rent increase or if you would like to ask your landlord for a rent decrease or to negotiate rental costs.
You can also get the word document or pdf over at my Free Downloads page.
I’ve done the work for you; now, you can fill it in with the personal information you need.
Your First and last name
Property Management Team Name/Landlord
To whom it may concern (or personalize with a name)
Today, I’m writing to you on the recent rent increase notice that we were given last week for apartment 14 at 201 Singer Drive.
My family and I have lived in this building for 7 years and love it here.
We’ve been excellent tenants and always pay our rent on time with no disputes on record.
Our apartment is kept clean and tidy and the perfect fit for a family with each child having their room.
Although only $50 extra a month, this rent increase is difficult for us as it takes away from our food budget.
You probably know I’m on/work (fill in the blank) and struggling to balance our budget.
I’m hoping that we could negotiate a rent decrease to last year’s amount to continue living here and our children can go to the same school.
I’ve spent the last month writing goals so I can execute new ways to bring in extra income.
I will use the extra cash to build my emergency savings account, so I have six months of income.
In the meantime, we will continue to work on our budget and find ways to earn extra money for the subsequent increase in (enter year).
If possible, I’d like to discuss this more with you in person or over the telephone as I/we genuinely want to stay living here.
Important Information In Your Rent Increase Letter
In your letter, you could also add what might be happening in your life, so they get a bit more background about your difficulty.
For instance, if you just started a new job, have a family crisis, have reduced hours, lower pay, are injured and on WSIB, have a new baby, illness, etc.
You may not think it’s relevant, but it helps with negotiations because they know you are being transparent and sincere.
Keep in mind if you’re negotiating a rent reduction, don’t go in for the kill with a massive request.
If you try to get over $100 off your rent, it may be challenging but attainable.
Even $100 will save you $1200 a year, or $200 would be $2400 a year.
That’s lots of money when the bills are already tight.
Be Realistic With Your Negotiation
Not all landlords, especially those who work for a property management team, will even consider outrageous rent reductions.
They have a bottom line and staff to pay, so you must prepare your letter to be precise and to the point.
If you attempt a more considerable rent reduction, you could offer your services in return.
Ultimately, don’t be afraid to do what you have to do if you don’t have the money to pay for a rent increase your landlord has asked.
The worst thing you could do is nothing at all.
Discussion Question: What other ways could tenants negotiate a rent reduction?
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