Many renters are looking for ways to save money each month, especially after being hit with the yearly rental hike. Instead of calling your landlord to ask for a lower rent fee and hearing a quick “No,” try writing a letter to your building manager and negotiate a lower lease rate Here’s how to write your letter:
1. Begin your letter with a cordial, business greeting (“To Whom It May Concern” is fine, if you don't know your landlord or manager's name) and state the intention of your letter (“I/We are writing in regards to the renewal of our lease at [insert address here]”).
2. Next, state the date you moved in and the decline rate of property values in your area since that time. Given the state of the economy, most areas have experienced a decline in both purchase and rental properties, so this shouldn’t be hard to enumerate. Here is a recent example from the Wall Street Journal:
“On [date you moved in], we [names of tenants] moved into a unit in the aforementioned property. Since then, property values in Manhattan [replace with your city or neighborhood] have declined by 5.6% for two-bedrooms units, much more steeply than the nationwide drop of 0.4%. Further, apartment vacancies overall rose to 6.6% in the quarter from 5.7% a year earlier. [Replace with data about your local market, which is available at Trulia.com.] Economists and real estate experts predict the decline to continue through 2009-2010.”
3. Then, state facts about neighbors or vacant units in your building, if you have any. For example, are there or have there been any vacancies lately? If so, what were the advertised rental rates? If this number is less than you’re paying for a similar unit, be sure to mention this in your letter.