Edward Hardy

Housing is generally one of the biggest expenses for all of us. For those who rent, reducing this expense can free up money for other things. This also pertains to costs to rent other types of spaces such as an office for your business.

Here are some tips on negotiating the best deal on your rent.

10 Ways to Negotiate Rent:

1. Ask if the Rent is Negotiable 

The first step is to take a first step. Ask your prospective landlord if the price is firm or if they would be open to discussing the rent.

The size or popularity of the property will be a factor. If there are a number of vacancies the landlord will likely be more open than if there is a waiting list of tenants. An independent landlord may be more open than a large property management company.

If you are asking with regard to a notice of a rental increase upon renewing your current lease, be sure to have this conversation early enough to allow yourself enough time to find another location to rent if needed.

2. Discuss Your Strengths as a Tenant

Emphasize why you are a good tenant. If you are negotiating as an existing tenant show that you've always paid on time, that you haven't done any damage and that you don't throw wild parties (if residential.) If your credit and financial situation is solid, emphasize this.

If you are looking at a new place, provide references if you have any. If you are negotiating office or commercial space, show the landlord why your business would be a good tenant.

3. Extend the Lease

For an existing lease, offer to extend the lease at the current rate. This might appeal to the landlord in that they don't have to find a new tenant and they won't run the risk of the space being vacant for a month or more. If you have been a good tenant, this tactic might be even more effective.

4. Offer to End the Lease When Most Desirable for the Landlord

Along with offering to extend a lease, offer to extend the lease term so it ends at time when it is easiest for the landlord to find another tenant. For an apartment, this might mean ending it during the summer when demand is high.

5. Focus on Issues Other Than Rent

There are other costs to renting other than just the rent for your unit. See if your the landlord might throw in an extra parking space or even your current space at no cost or a reduced cost. The same applies to other amenities such as storage or a gym membership if applicable.

6. Do Your Research

Whether you are seeking to rent as a new tenant or looking to renew your existing lease, be sure to do your research before negotiating. What are the rents on similar apartments or office spaces in the same area? What is demand for similar space, or what is the vacancy rate?

This type of knowledge will provide leverage for your negotiations and let you know if you are coming at it from a position of strength or not.

7. Have a Plan in Mind

Having done your research, come in with a game plan. Is your focus on the actual rent, on amenities, or something else? Know what you are willing to settle for and what your next steps are if you don't get what you are seeking.

8. Act Professional

This pertains to both conducting yourself in a professional, non-emotional fashion. This is always a good negotiating technique. In addition, come to the meeting prepared. If you have done your research, bring copies. This is a business transaction at its core, treat it as such.

9. Be Open to a Compromise

With any type of negotiation, you may not get everything you want. If you are $200 apart and the landlord offers to meet you halfway, this might be the best deal that you will get. In the case of a new unit, if this is really where you want to be, take that into consideration. If you are negotiating onthe renewal of a lease, consider other costs that you are saving, such as the cost of moving.

10. Be Prepared to Walk Away 

If the landlord won't budge, be prepared to walk away. If this is a lease on a new place, this simply means moving on to another alternative. If the negotiations involve renewing a lease this will be more involved. Be sure that you have solid options for residential or office space to move to, and that you have researched the full costs involved with moving. The mindset of walking away, if you don't get an acceptable deal, will provide you with strength in your negotiations.

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