How to Negotiate Rent: 6 Tips to Reduce the Cost of Your Lease

How to negotiate rent in 2022? In some ways, it’s trickier than it was back in the depths of the pandemic, when many were able to lock down reduced prices and major perks. Now, as the rental market bounces back (and inventory remains down), landlords are in a prime position to increase the lease—and, in many cases, assign a rent hike that’s larger than typical. Can you push back? Fight for a better deal? It’s always worth an ask. These six tips for negotiating your rent are all worth a shot.

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1. Do Your Research

Much like a salary convo, you need to do your homework, by doing things like talking to other tenants and browsing vacant listings in your building and comparable ones nearby. You might discover that the monthly rental price for your two-bedroom is significantly under-market. Or, on the flip side, you could uncover that a similar two-bedroom (with way more amenities than your current setup) charges less. The goal is to gather the data and use the numbers to your advantage as you make your case to maintain or lower your rent.

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2. Don’t Wait Until The Last Minute To Discuss

The experts at Apartment List say that timing is everything when negotiating your rent, and you should never wait until that updated lease lands in your mailbox. Instead, they recommend bringing it up as much as three months in advance of your lease being renewed. This way, no one’s back is against the wall and you’re giving advance notice on your intentions to stay, which, ultimately, saves them work.

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3. Tout The Benefits Of Having You As A Tenant

You’re quiet and you pay your rent on time? Good on you. These are the details that can yield serious wiggle room, since landlords and realtors are fully aware that a good tenant can be hard to find and vacancies can be seriously costly. In fact, according to a study by the National Apartment Association, apartment turnover can cost as much as $5,000, a figure that includes the loss of rent and maintenance costs like a fresh paint job, cleaning and repairs. If they know you’re a reliable tenant with a solid rental history, it may increase their flexibility in terms of negotiating your lease.

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4. Ask For A Two-year Lease

Speaking of flexibility, if you know you’re intending to stay put in your rental for longer than a year, use that to your financial advantage. In many cases—and according to realtors—landlords are more open to a price reduction (or a reduced rent increase) if they can bank on you being a long-term tenant. (See above about turnover costs.)

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5. Ask About Upgrades

Even if they won’t reduce the rent, that doesn’t mean the negotiations are over. Maybe you’re in need of a new stove or bathroom renovation. It’s smart to have a list of back-up asks if they won’t budge on the rent itself. Conversely, if your apartment needs improvements that your landlord doesn’t want to make, that gives you more leverage for a rent negotiation.

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6. Stay Calm

The most important thing with any negotiation is to stay calm and respectful. Ask for what you want—send a letter making your case if you have to—but staying reasonable throughout conversations will only boost your potential for success. Sam Himmelstein, a tenant attorney and partner at Himmelstein McConnell Gribben & Joseph, told Brick Underground that your opening line with your landlord should always be, “I’d like to renew at the same rent.” Then, see where it leads. If things get contentious, there’s very little likelihood your request will be met.

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