In June 2022, average Manhattan rents crossed $5000 a month, while rents in other boroughs also reached all-time highs. Vacancy rates are also low, leaving many renters scrambling to secure an apartment. But just because the market is competitive doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to negotiate.
If you’re planning to renew or sign a new lease, here are six tips for scoring the best deals.
1. It’s a tough market for renters. So tread carefully.
If you are looking to move into a new apartment, you don’t have as much leverage as someone looking to renew. Are there a lot of applications? Is this a very desired apartment in a popular neighborhood? If the answer is yes to these questions, then negotiating is probably not in the cards for you.
If you want to renew your current lease, you have a little more leverage because landlords should prefer to keep good-standing tenants rather than clean, paint, repair, and advertise an empty unit. If you received a big discount due to the pandemic, expect a steep increase. Read more below to help negotiate that renewal.
2. Be clear about what you want and why you want it.
Before entering a negotiation, look at prices in your desired neighborhood and come prepared to defend the number you are offering to pay. Walk your landlord through your thinking process of how you arrived at that price. Mention nearby apartments, as well as any accompanying amenities, when explaining why you want a reduction.
3. Think about anything else you might be able to offer.
Proposing a lease longer than 12 months may also make landlords more willing to accept a lower offer. Many landlords would prefer to guarantee rent for longer. If you’re at a point in your life where you can commit to an apartment for two years, definitely use that as a negotiation tool.
4. Once you secure a concession from your landlord, get it on paper.
Every landlord has a different preferred method of communication. Some like phone calls, while others are partial to email and text. Regardless of the platform, you use to negotiate, it’s important to get a written record of any deal you agreed on.
If you do have conversations by phone, make sure you summarize that phone call in a follow-up email after. Get those details confirmed and signed in a document.
5. Rent isn’t the only thing you can negotiate.
While some landlords might be unwilling to negotiate on rent, that doesn’t mean they won’t make concessions. You can ask your landlord to cover a utility you normally pay for each month or if they will replace old appliances with newer versions.
Even if you are happy with the rent you pay and don’t have any issues with your apartment, that doesn’t mean you can’t ask for something. You could ask your landlord for a rent credit in exchange for a referral. In many cases, landlords might be happy to throw a $500 credit your way if you bring them a new lease. Don’t be afraid to ask or get creative!
6. Be ready to walk away.
If you think a landlord’s asking price for an apartment is too high, don’t overpay. Do your research and do your due diligence on prices and availability in the area.
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