How to Negotiate a Lower Apartment Rent

Your apartment rent should be set according to the value of your rental on the current market. If you feel the value has changed, you can argue for a lower rent. There are several reasons the value of your apartment can change. You must start by proving the value is not congruent with the current rent. Then, you must provide your landlord with incentive to lower your rent. Finally, you must re-write your contract with the new price.

Step One: Argue for Reduction Based on Market Factors

You will need proof your rental is not worth the current value you pay. This proof typically takes the form of comparable rentals in the area. Start by researching the going rent for other apartments in your neighborhood. It is likely hard to find an exact comparison. However, you should aim to locate other rentals with similar features and upgrades. For example, if another two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment down the street is renting for $200 less per month, this is reason for you to argue for a reduction. Similarly, if the apartment is renting at the exact same price as yours but has far more upgrades, such as an individual laundry unit or parking, you can point these factors out to your lender. Prepare a list of comparable apartments you could move into in the immediate future that would be a better deal for your money.

Step Two: Provide Incentive

Your landlord will not likely be persuaded to reduce your rent just because there are more affordable apartments in your area. You must provide the landlord with an incentive to act, and this typically means showing the landlord you will leave the space if the rent is not reduced. A landlord's primary concern is assuring all rentals are filled during the course of a year. If an apartment is vacant, even for one month, the landlord will lose money. Therefore, telling the landlord you have been considering moving because of the high rent is a good incentive. Threatening the landlord can backfire, but asking for a reduction to entice you to stay is typically a good offer. This is a particularly good idea if the market has clearly changed.

Step Three: Rewrite your Contract

If a landlord agrees to lower your rent, you need to get the agreement in writing as soon as possible. Have the landlord draw up an amendment to the contract. Assure the date of the rent change is clearly expressed. For example, you may ask to have the change effective immediately, which means your current rent could be prorated to reflect the lower rate. The contract should also include any language necessary to show this is a permanent change in rent and that any future change would have to be agreed upon by both parties. Without this contract, if you begin paying the lower rent, the landlord could evict you in the case of a disagreement or problem. You would be liable for the difference in rent owed and paid.

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