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5 Tips on Negotiating With Your Landlord

RESIDENTIAL LEASE AGREEMENT - 06/23/14

Whether it is negotiating your rent, rules on pets, or something else you care about, it’s important to know what’s at stake and how hard you can insist with your landlord. The following tips will give you a sound negotiation strategy.

Tip 1: Do Your Homework


Before you contact your landlord it is important to get as many relevant facts as possible. This means finding out what other tenants in the building or area are paying for rent, whether pets are allowed, and any other critical pieces of information that you care about negotiating.

The facts you collect will be your negotiating tools and give you proper perspective on how realistic your demands are. You can try talking to other local tenants, researching the landlord online, and searching the classifieds.

Tip 2: Timing Is Key


As with most landlord negotiations, timing is key. It is typically easiest to get landlords to give in to reasonable demands when they know you’re close to signing a lease agreement.

If possible, approach the landlord at the end of the month. They are more likely to give you a good deal if they are at risk of having a unit stay unoccupied for another month. However, if you have important demands that are must-haves for you, it is best if you clearly spell those out upfront so you don’t waste anybody’s time.

Tip 3: Use Alternative Demands If Necessary


If it is clear that your landlord won’t budge on the rent, then try making alternative demands. For instance, ask them to lower the pet fee or waive it entirely. Think about asking for cheaper parking, new appliances, new carpets, or a fresh coat of paint.

Tip 4: Be the Model Tenant


In most landlords’ eyes, any tenant that causes them to do extra work is a bad tenant. Therefore, you can be more desirable and improve your leverage on the landlord by showing him or her that you are an ideal tenant. First of all, it goes a long way to have a solid credit score. If you don’t, think about offering to pay the first three to six months’ rent in advance.

You could also offer to pay rent a few days before the first of each month. Lastly, you can give the landlord the phone numbers or a couple of letters from your previous landlords that you know will give you a good recommendation.

Tip 5: Understand Your Power


It is vital to know how much say you have in the matter. If there is a high demand for housing and the landlord knows he or she can easily find another tenant, then you’ll likely only be able to appeal to the landlord’s sense of fairness (which might not be much at all). However, if the landlord knows you’re a good tenant and will have to do a lot of work to replace you, then you have some leverage to assert yourself.

Always keep in mind that landlords can usually make your life pretty miserable if they want to, so it’s important to weigh how much you care about getting your demands against any possible retaliation by your landlord.

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