If you’re renting an apartment, condo or home that you love, news of a rent increase can be disheartening. But rather than paying more or moving out, you may have a third option: rent negotiation. It sounds intimidating, but with a little strategy, you just might win over your landlord. Here are some negotiating tips from Forbes and Zillow.
Ask if your landlord is open to a discussion
Politely ask if your landlord is willing to discuss the increase and when a good time to talk would be. Start the conversation at least a month before your lease ends, so your landlord has enough time to consider your offer or, if need be, you have time to make other plans.
Highlight your strengths as a tenant
Before talking facts and figures, remind the landlord what a reliable, responsible tenant you’ve been. If you’ve always paid your rent on time, are courteous to other tenants and have kept the property in good shape, make sure your landlord knows it. It can help prove your worthiness and give them an incentive to keep your current rent.
Inquire about extending the lease
Showing that you plan to stay in your apartment for a substantial length of time can demonstrate that you’re a stable investment. If your lease is annual, offer to extend it to 18-24 months in exchange for keeping your current rent. If the landlord knows he or she won’t have to take a risk with a new tenant, this could be a good compromise.
Research the property’s value
Consider that your landlord is increasing your rent beyond its actual worth or the prevailing market. Research rent rates by talking to other landlords or neighbors in the area. Knowing average property prices and frequency of rent hikes in your neighborhood may give you leverage.
Be open to compromise
Unless you’re simply unwilling or unable to afford the new rate, suggest a compromise amount that you can afford. For instance, if the monthly rent hike is $100, offer to pay $50 instead. Back up your offer by mentioning your research findings and focusing on your stability as a tenant.
Negotiate in person, follow up in writing
If your landlord lives in the area, face to face negotiation is best. Remain calm, polite and professional during the discussion – never rude or defensive. Follow up the discussion within 24 hours with a brief email thanking them for the meeting and reiterating your “ask.” Reminding them that you’re an excellent tenant won’t hurt either.
Have a backup plan
Unfortunately, rent increases are sometimes inevitable. If you are definitely unwilling or unable to accept the new rate, it’s a good idea to start researching new apartments. If you decide to stay and pay more each month, you can request property upgrades to make the increase more palatable, such as repainting the walls or updating the landscaping.
Rent increases aren’t the only unexpected thing that can happen to renters. Find out how Nationwide renters insurance can protect you against theft, damage to personal belongings, and more.