Like many Americans, I live in an apartment. I’ve been living in a great place for over a year now. The rent is reasonable, considering the location, amenities and the garage. When the date to renew my lease approached, I was concerned that the management would increase the rent. Sure enough, they did.

 I had the option of renewing my lease for 12 months and paying only $40 more a month. This was the best deal they had, but it didn’t work for me. I was considering changing jobs six months from the renewal date, so I did not want to be locked into a 12 month lease and pay the penalties for leaving early. The shortest renewal period available was 8 months. Even under the shorter lease term, I would be paying $100 more a month. I could just rent month to month, but that would have been even more. I was stuck.  I liked my digs, but I like my money too.

 Then it hit me. NEGOTIATE! A lease is a contract. A contract requires an offer, acceptance, and consideration. They offered a few options for me. All I had to do was accept their offer and give them my consideration by promising to pay. However, before entering into a contract both parties have the option of providing counter-offers.

 The same was true in this case. They offered. I thought their offer sucked, so I countered. I asked for reduction of $65 per month off my current rent for six months. After the six months, I would do a month to month lease and pay them $100 per month than their current month to month rent. I pointed out that I was a good tenant who had always paid his rent on time, didn’t bitch much, and didn’t throw wild ragers . It would make more sense for them to keep a good tenant and get their guaranteed rent every month instead of taking the chance with a random person.

 They agreed…kind of. They offered to keep my rent the same for 6 months and we could talk about a month to month rate at the end of the six months. Perfect. I wasn’t expecting them to lower my rent; I just didn’t want them to raise it. My rent is now the same, and my neighbors are likely paying more. It would never have happened had I not asked.

 So, next time your lease comes up for a renewal, give a counter offer. It can’t hurt if you do it right. Here are some tips that you can use to hopefully get the result you want:

  1. Don’t throw Project X ragers. Do that at your buddy’s place. If you are a good tenant, pay your rent on time, and your neighbors don’t complain about you, the more likely the management will want you around.
  2. Be polite. Before even mentioning your counter-offer, compliment the manager on what a good job they do and how much you like living there. (Hopefully, this is the case.)
  3. Suggest a lower montly payment, but don’t be ridiculous. You need some breathing room, but if you ask for a 50% reduction in your current rent, they will just laugh at you. Both parties need to get something out of the deal. That is why I offered to pay more than the current month to month rate at the end of the 6 month period.

Good luck!