Your lease will be up soon, and your landlord has informed you that the rent will be going up when the old lease expires. Are you stuck with paying the higher rates or searching for a new place? Maybe neither. With a little negotiation, you may be able to keep your current rate, or at least convince your landlord to lower the price increase. Take a look at some tips that can help you negotiate a better lease renewal deal.
Know the Market
Before you meet with your landlord, do a little digging into the market in your local area. Look for comparable apartments: ones with similar square footage, amenities, proximity to schools and shopping, and so on, and find out what those apartments are renting for.
If you find out that similar apartments in the area are renting for a lower price than what your landlord is asking for, the information will make your argument against a rent increase that much stronger. Of course, you may find that your landlord's price range is at or below market value. That shouldn't stop you from negotiating, but it's important information to have.
Offer a Longer Commitment
If you're sure that you want to stay in the area and don't foresee any major life or job changes in the near future, ask your landlord if they'd consider keeping your rent at the current level – or raising it by a lower amount – if you sign a longer lease. For example, you might upgrade from a 12-month lease to an 18 or 24-month lease.
This strategy benefits both you and your landlord. They may be willing to take less money if they know that they can count on receiving regular rental payments for an extended period of time. After all, steady income from a trustworthy tenant might be preferable to charging a higher rate to an unknown tenant who might end up breaking the lease or failing to pay in a timely manner. It also benefits you because you won't have to worry about dealing with another increase anytime soon.
Talk Up Your Good Qualities
Remind your landlord why it's good for them to keep you as a tenant. Do you always pay your rent a few days early? Do you refer friends to the apartment building? Do you maintain an attractive lawn and garden outside or perform handyman duties around the building?
Landlords deal with plenty of difficult tenants. If you're making their life easier instead of harder, point that out.
Ask if You Can Get a Utility or Amenity Included
If your landlord is set on raising the rent, you may be able to at least save some money by asking them to include something else for the extra money you'll be paying. If you pay all the utilities yourself, consider asking if they'll start including one of them in the rent.
For example, your landlord might be willing to include the water bill in the rent or pay for monthly pest control instead of you paying for it out of pocket. If that's not feasible, try asking for a one-time upgrade, like a new carpet or new cabinets in the kitchen. If you're going to be paying more, it's reasonable to ask for something in return.
Rent increases at lease renewal times are common for apartment rental companies, but that doesn't mean that you're stuck with them. Consider it a starting place and make an effort to negotiate a deal that's more favorable to you. You may be surprised at the results.