Finding apartments for rent is hard enough, but the lease renewal process can oftentimes be just as, if not more, stressful. When a tenant’s lease term is up its time for them to decide, “Should I stay or should I go?” If a tenant has been happy over the past 12-months they will want stay put and save the cost and hassle of finding/moving into a new apartment. While this is an obvious choice, there is sometimes a curve ball waiting around the corner in the name of “increased rent”.
Typically after the initial rental term is over most landlords/property managers will raise the rental rate leaving many tenants scrambling to figure out what to do next. That’s where we come in to help! Instead of thinking that leaving is the only option, think like an apartments for rent professional and put your negotiation hat on.
Below we outline the many ways tenants can negotiate their lease renewal to ensure affordability and another term of rental living bliss.
Apartments For Rent: How to Successfully Negotiate a Lease Renewal
Here’s something to know: tenant turnover (i.e. tenants not renewing their lease) is VERY costly for a landlord. Not only do they need to pay to market the now vacant apartments for rent, they also need to pay to get them ready for new tenants (cleaning and repairs). In addition, unless they right away find another awesome tenant the apartment will sit vacant for who-knows-how-long and the landlord will lose hundreds or thousands each month in lost rent.
We tell you this to help tenants realize that they do indeed have power to negotiate lease renewals. We talk to a lot of tenants who feel the landlord is the only one with the upper hand. While yes, landlords do have the ultimate say over final rental rates and terms, there are certain areas where tenants can score some wiggle room. This could be the rental rate (good for you!), but it also could be money savings realized through other concessions. Read below to gain back the control over your apartments for rent.
Do Your Research and Ask For a Reduction
The best negotiation advice is to always be informed. In order to arm yourself with the ability to negotiate a rent increase it’s important that you know the rental rates for comparable properties across your market. Get online, talk to other renters, property managers and leasing agents, and get a handle on the asking price for other apartments for rent.
When you are ready to approach your landlord to ask for a reduction (i.e. back to your original rental rate) you can present your research findings: 1) the proposed rental increase is too high for the current market and 2) there are many cheaper options out there that could be receiving your rent every month instead of them.
You would be surprised how many times landlords raise rents without having an accurate handle on what the market supports. It sounds simple, but when a landlord is faced with hard cold facts, and the prospect of losing a good tenant, they will more apt to budge on a rate increase.
Offer to Extend the Lease Terms
Okay so maybe you did your research and found that the rent increase is indeed supported in your market. Or, maybe your landlord just flat out refuses to back down on the price. In this case it’s time to make it worth his/her while.
To attempt to gain a lower monthly rental rate tenants can offer to extend the terms of the lease. Instead of signing a typical 12-month lease, they can offer to sign an 18-, 24- or even 36-month lease. There are very real cost savings associated with keeping a tenant in place for a long period, and landlords know this.
Pay Early or Up Front
In exchange for a rental rate reduction tenants can offer to pay monthly rent early or upfront. For many landlords having cash on hand immediately instead of spread out over a year is a very enticing offer. Negotiate to pay your first 3 month’s rent upfront, or even change your payment date before the 1st of the month.
Ask For Additional Space
Maybe you hit a wall on the reduced rent and an increase is happening no matter what. In this case it’s important for tenants to seek out other ways to realize monthly cost savings. One of those is asking for additional space.
Most apartments for rent will offer storage units at their property. While these typically are an additional monthly cost, this is something you can absolutely negotiate with your landlord. “If you are not willing to reduce the rental rate increase and want to keep me as a tenant all I ask is for you to provide me with a storage closet.” The cost of giving that to a tenant free over rental loss from a vacancy apartment is a no-brainer for most landlords.
Ask For Parking
Just like storage units we described above, private/reserved/covered parking is often an extra monthly charge at many apartments for rent. If a landlord refuses to reduce the rental increase, ask if they are willing to throw in a parking spot. If this small cost will keep you in your unit, most landlords won’t blink an eye giving it to you.