5 Tips to Lower Your Rent

NEW YORK (MainStreet) – Any scientist knows the reality of cause and effect in the lab, but the principle also applies to the real estate market. In this case, foreclosures are the cause and apartment rentals are the effect.

Apartment rentals in the U.S. grew by 215,000 from the first to the second quarters of 2010, according to MPF Research.

You’d think that would give landlords and property owners the upper hand when it comes to rent negotiations, but that is not necessarily the case.

With a few good tips and a well-reasoned argument, cutting your apartment rent down to size can be a simple matter. Here’s how to do it.

1. Know what your landlord knows. A smart negotiator knows the terrain at least just as well as the person on the other side of the negotiating table. Landlords aren’t counting on the fact that you know what similar apartments in the neighborhood are being rented for, or how much local demand there is for apartment rentals. One way to find out is to ask other tenants what they pay. Also, ask about vacancies in the building to get an idea of demand. When your renter finds out that you are well-informed, then negotiating a fairer price is much easier.

2. Be a model tenant. If you’re already renting, notify your landlord at least two months before your lease is up, and let him or her know you want to discuss a new lease. During that period, make sure to pay your rent on time, your apartment is clean, and you’ve had no noisy parties or complaints from other tenants. The ‘good tenant” tag will put you in a better light when you’re ready to negotiate.

3. Be direct. Don’t be reluctant to ask for what you want. If it’s a free month’s rent to sign a new lease that you want, ask for it. If it’s a lower per-month rent you want for signing a two-year lease, ask for it. If you don’t ask, your landlord probably won’t bring it up.

4. Ask for “quick payment” discounts. Landlords love getting their money as early as possible, so feed that beast by asking for a 2% discount for paying on the 31st of the last month instead. Also, offer to have the money automatically deducted from your bank account for another 2% discount. In short, make your landlord offers that he just can’t refuse.

5. Take advantage of the weather. Winter is a notoriously slow time for apartment owners. If you can, negotiate http://www.mainstreet.com/article/career/employment/want-raise-act-now your lease – or lease renewal – in the cold weather months when tenant traffic is lowest, and when landlords are looking to fill vacancies.

Negotiating a better apartment deal is an art form. But with just a few key tips in your back pocket – specifically the ones listed above – you can tip the scales in your direction when your next lease deal comes up for discussion.

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