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:
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.