When you find the perfect home that fits your needs and your budget, you feel very lucky. But that ideal apartment can become downright unaffordable if your landlord decides to hike up the rent.
If that happens, you might be wondering: Can you negotiate rent? If you approach it carefully, you can work with your landlord on a solution that works for you.
What happened to me
When my husband and I first got married, money was tight. With student loans and small entry-level salaries, our budget did not have a lot of wiggle room.
So when we moved 800 miles to Florida, an affordable apartment was a must. We spent weeks home hunting until we found a unicorn: safe, pet-friendly, convenient, and under $1,000 a month.
It was perfect, and for 12 blissful months, we loved our little apartment. But then it came time for our lease to renew, and our landlord informed us our rent would go up by over $250. I completely panicked. That would break our budget.
While I researched other homes, even if I found something comparable to what we were paying, the moving costs would be crushing. From hiring movers to buying supplies and getting a new license, moving is very expensive. Moreover, I loved our home and did not want to leave.
Can you negotiate rent?
Rent increases are a common part of leasing a home. Last year, rental costs went up 5.74 percent, outpacing inflation. In many areas, there are no limits on how much your landlord can increase your rent. A home that is affordable right now can cost far more next year.
Luckily, you have options. If you’re a good tenant and the area is competitive, you may be able to talk down the price.
If there are other apartment complexes in the area, look into their prices and amenities. Even if you do not want to move, having this information can give you ammunition. If other complexes have similar pricing but offer more space and upgrades for the money, that can help with negotiating rent.
Replacing tenants is an expensive process. The landlord will have to spruce up the apartment when you move out, including new carpet, paint, and other repairs. And reliable tenants are difficult to find. Many miss their payments, cause damage, or have other issues.
Every week that apartment is empty is a week your landlord is losing money. Keeping you, even at a lower rate, is more profitable. It makes good business sense for your landlord to work with you. That gives you more power to negotiate rent.
How I approached my landlord
I decided to contact my landlord with a well-researched case. I typed up the following email and sent it to the leasing manager:
Dear [apartment contact],
I just received our renewal information for our unit. While we’ve been very happy here, I am concerned about the increase.
I did the math, and the new price is a 26 percent increase over our current rate, which is way more than the industry standard. The increase would cause us to pay more than $3,000 a year in additional payments.
We would actually save money by moving into another home, even accounting for extra fees like getting new checks and changing utilities.
I looked at other apartments in the area, and [apartment name] less than a mile away has a two-bedroom of a similar size. They offer upgraded granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, and they charge what we are paying now.
We’ve been happy in this apartment. We like our unit, and we appreciate the staff’s hard work. We have never missed a rent payment, and in fact, we usually pay early.
We’ve carefully maintained the unit and tried to add to the community. If there’s any way to make it work, we’d like to stay. But right now, the price increase is more than we can afford.
I was hoping we could come to a compromise; we would be willing to do a 10 percent increase. That’s the very top of our budget, but we’d be prepared to pay that to stay in our home.
Thank you for your help!
The leasing manager responded quickly, countering with a higher offer. It was still lower than the initial hike, but more than we could afford. I told her that my proposal was all I could do. She pushed a bit more but I held firm and she ended up accepting.
By just sending an email, I was able to bring down the price hike to a $100 increase rather than a $250 increase. That saved us nearly $2,000 in what we would have paid over the year, and it allowed us to stay in our home.
Whether you rent a home from a large company or a private owner, the answer to “can you negotiate rent” is a resounding “yes!”
If you approach it calmly and make your case, you can save a lot of money and keep the home you love. As a good tenant, you come from a place of power when it comes to negotiating rent.
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
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2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
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6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
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