Posted by: Prashant Gopal on April 20, 2009
I wrote a story recently about apartment landlords trying to keep tenants from moving out by agreeing to lower rents. Some tenants, especially in New York City, have been able to negotiate 20% rent reductions.
I’ve come up with a list of tips for negotiating with your landlord and I’m hoping you can help me build on it. Send your suggestions here. Also, I’d love to hear about your experiences with rent negotiation. I take it that not all landlords are as flexible as the ones in Manhattan.
here’s my list:
* Contact the landlord a month or two before your lease is due to renew.
* If your renewal is 6 or 8 months away, be a model tenant. Don’t be noisy. Pay your rent on time. This will help you when it comes time to negotiate.
* Do some research before contacting your landlord. Find out what other buildings are charging and what incentives they are offering. See what your landlord is charging new tenants for similar units.
* Have a backup plan. Start searching for a new apartment. Even if you don’t move out, it’ll give you a sense of the market and some good options if your landlord refuses to negotiate.
* Tell your landlord or property manager exactly what you want. A month of free rent? Lower annual rent in exchange for signing a two-year lease? Gym membership thrown in? How about moving upstairs to a larger apartment or an apartment with a balcony for the same rent?
* Be reasonable. If you ask for too much, or if you are too confrontational, your landlord might not be inclined to strike a deal.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.