Let’s just throw this idea out there; have you ever thought about negotiating your rent? And before you stop reading this article, because negotiating rent sounds as impossible as getting discounted broadway tickets, hear us out.
You would bring down the price of a bag at a street shop in Bali, you also wouldn’t hesitate to ask your real estate agent to negotiate the purchase of an apartment. So why not try and lower your rent a little bit? We’ve talked to our agents here at Triplemint to get their best tips on how to negotiate your rent.
As with many things in life, having the courage to ask for something can get you what you want. After all, the worst thing that can happen is that they say no. ‘The best way to negotiate your rent is to simply ask the landlord”, says Allen Brewington, experienced broker at Triplemint. But before you do so, do your homework. “It helps to provide your landlord with a few comps of similar apartments in the immediate vicinity that support your claim.” When Allen says ‘comps’, he is referring to a list of comparable apartments, meaning that they have a similar size, location, and amenities.
Study the Market
Just because you’re ‘only’ renting an apartment, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know the market inside and out. Your agent will help you navigate the current market situation and run an analysis, before you go into negotiation. Alexandra van Buren, a Triplemint agent who works with renters and buyers alike, encourages you to do some serious research.
“Look online to see what has recently rented in the same building or comparable apartments in your direct neighborhood. Once you have that information, you will know if the recently rented apartments rented at the same, higher or for a lower rate than yours. Also, check inventory. If multiple apartments are available at the time that have a similar layout or finishes as yours in the building or neighborhood, point that out to the owner as well.” Well said, Alex.
Ask for no increase
Another way to save money on rent without lowering the actual amount is to ask not to have it increased. If you’ve been renting in New York City for a few years, you’re probably used to an annual rent increase of $50 to $100. Rent-controlled apartments, therefore, are rare gems that most of us don’t get to enjoy.
Allen Brewington gives us the ultimate reality check: “Most landlords don’t actually know the state of the market as it pertains to your exact apartment, they simply are raising rent $50 or $100 each year because that is ‘typical’ and most tenants accept it.” It’s time to stop accepting. Allen concludes, “even the slightest pushback from a tenant can result in lower rent increases.”
The more you buy, the more money you can normally save per piece. That’s why many of us love bulk-shopping. A standard lease in New York City is for 12 months, so committing to a longer period of time can help negotiating your rent. “Offer to sign for a lease between 1 to 2 years”, says Alexandra. Therefore, the owner will know that they have a steady flow of rent over a longer period of time and won’t have to worry if you’re going to renew or lease, she explains.
Sell yourself. “Highlight your positive qualities as a tenant over the time you have lived there. Paying your rent on time and keeping complaints to a minimum are all things owners want in a renter”, Alexandra lets us know.
Going the extra mile also helps. Jacob de Leon, real estate agent who works with lots of renters, likes to think in a more unconventional way. He suggests to help your landlord shovel snow in the winter. Just like the owner at the bodega around the corner might give you a free coffee once in a while, your landlord will appreciate the help and might be more willing to negotiate.
We’ll let Alexandra van Buren have the last word: “If you don’t ask, you won’t get it, so it’s always worth a try!”