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Negotiate your way to cheaper rent: four tips to try

Rent has a reputation of being inflexible. That is, unlike the price of a home, many people assume that rent can’t be negotiated. However, when it comes to setting the monthly cost of an apartment, tenants may have more power than they think. Here are four ways to lower the cost of rent:

The direct way (aka, asking)
Let’s be honest—your landlord probably isn’t going to offer to lower your rent out of the kindness of his heart. Don’t be afraid to ask. When you’re filling out the application, politely inquire if the property manager is open to negotiations. Just asking likely won’t hurt your chances of getting the apartment or condo.

Check rents in your area
One way to strengthen your negotiating power is to show that your rent is high compared to similar apartments in your neighborhood. A little online searching can provide you with facts and figures for your community that you can use to bargain.

Leverage your good payment history
As with credit card companies, paying your rent on time every month will put you in good standing with your landlord. If you have a solid payment history, it might help your case for lowering the rent when it’s time to renew your lease.

Offer to take an extended lease
Negotiations are based on give and take. Your landlord may be willing to give you a break on rent if you offer something in return, such as an extended lease. Agreeing to stay put longer means management won’t have to stress about re-starting the tenant search for a while, which gives you leverage.

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