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Negotiating a lease is not something we do often. Most renters will sit down with their landlord, read through the rules and sign the piece of paper. After all, it is the landlord's home and his rules, right? Not necessarily. It actually is possible to negotiate a lease; however, the renter needs to be incredibly bold to do so.

In many instances the renter will not be in a position to bargain the rental price, especially if there is a high demand for rental units. You could be competing with 10 or more other potential renters for the same unit. If this is the case then you don't really have a choice when it comes to the lease. What the landlord says sticks, so getting along with the landlord is important. If not, he can easily accept the next applicant in line and you could miss out of the apartment.

When to Negotiate a Lease

If you are looking to negotiate a lease then you need to be looking for a place to live at the right time. At the beginning of the school year and the beginning of the year (September and January) it can be next to impossible to find a decent rental unit, especially if you live in an area where there are a lot of Universities. You may have better luck finding a bargain during April and May where there tends to be choose when it comes to vacant rental apartments.

Where you are looking to live will also make a difference. City dwellers will find that their leases are set in stone, especially if they are looking to rent a unit in a large building where every lease is the same and every tenant must obey the same rules. If you are renting a basement suite in the suburbs, however, you may be able to negotiate your lease to accommodate your specific needs depending on the landlord and how desperate they need a renter.

Common Lease Negotiations

One of the big things that you may be able to negotiate is the amount you pay each month. It is possible to bargain with the landlord. If he says the place is $1000 and you offer him $900, he may accept or he may laugh in your face. Either way, you did try. Another thing you may be able to negotiate is the amount of time the lease is for. If you know you are going to be in town for 9 months then you might be able to swing a 12 month lease to only be for 9 months.

Another thing you might be able to negotiate is what is included in the rental price. Things like electricity, cable and water are often included in the price of the unit but often times they are not. You may be able to negotiate a deal with your landlord to include these for free. If you are renting a basement suite from your landlord, offer to mow the lawn once a month as part of the deal. This can sweeten the deal for a landlord, especially one that hates yard work.

Finally, you may also be able to convince your 'no pet' landlord to let you keep your pet, if the pet has been around for a long time and is very well behaved. You will have a much better chance bringing a pet into a 'no pet' lease if it is a small bird or cat. In most instances, no dogs means no dogs, no matter what. If you are willing to be daring and risk your potential rental unit, then try to negotiate a lease. You never know unless you try.

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