NEGOTIATING A BETTER RATE ON YOUR LEASE
When you seek a rental property, you may have more opportunities for negotiation than you at first realize. Some renters, particularly those with a limited independent residential history, may feel that they simply have the option of agreeing to a lease or walking away and seeking another, no leeway. However, if you have located an apartment, duplex, townhouse, mobile home or house for rent that seems ideal for you given its proximity to your work and other factors, you may be able to nudge certain aspects of the given lease in your favor. The most important tool you have at your disposal in this process is the same one that assists you in all other negotiations: familiarity with the field.
It is important to learn all the aspects involved in a standard lease along with its typical negotiable points so that you have and show confidence when you speak with your potential landlord. Having a good rapport with the property's owner from the beginning is certainly helpful, but is not necessary to your success. Even landlords who are not necessarily gregarious but seem the all-business sort will respond favorably to those residents-to-be who display knowledge of property renting procedures, including reporting noise to landlords, along with pride in their presentation.
What Will You Negotiate
There are some aspects of a lease that are more vulnerable to negotiation than others. While typical guidelines apply, every landlord is different, and landlords often negotiate in some areas but not in others based on their personal renting experience as well as standard market rules at any given time. While getting the best monetary rate may be your top priority, you should consider the lease as a comprehensive whole and decide what changes are most valuable to you personally. Some changes could be both money- and effort-saving to you in indirect ways.
For instance, you may be able to negotiate the length of the lease term. Average leases run for one or two years; if you think you may not be able to commit to the area for that length of time, you can save yourself future time and costs associated with finding a subleaser by seeking a six-month lease. Another aspect you may want to look at is the security deposit. Whether or not there is any flexibility in the precise amount of this deposit is often dependent on factors such as your rental and credit history. However, there are additional aspects of the security deposit that may be negotiable.
Security deposits are meant to be insurance against considerable property damages, and are typically withheld by landlords after a resident leaves until the property owner has been able to ascertain that the property is in acceptable condition. Some renters are justifiably concerned about what constitutes substantial enough damage that they may not receive their money back. As security deposits can be hefty, it is worth your while to carefully go over stipulations of the deposit-return agreement and see if there are any smaller details on which you wish to negotiate.
Tools in Your Favor
In addition to displaying that you have knowledge of the requests you are making, you may sway your landlord to accommodate your wishes while negotiating lease rates, or to proffer you better overall rates, if your individual record reflects your reliability. Most landlords prefer to see a history of renting or property ownership that indicates you are timely with your payments and a considerate tenant. Evidence of your income (particularly if with a job you have held for a significant length of time) and other financial aspects can help as well.