Whether you are a new renter to the area or a seasoned tenant thinking of resigning a lease, you may be wondering, “Can rent be negotiated?” While the answer is a simple “yes,” the process of negotiating your rent down requires a thoughtful approach.
Although the idea of asking for lower rent may feel uncomfortable at first, remember that it never hurts to ask. After all, saving just $50 a month on rent can save you $600 over the course of the entire year!
How to Ask for Lower Rent
The first step to knowing how to negotiate rent down is to be aware of what sets you apart from other tenants. What makes you more of a desirable tenant than the average renter? Taking some time to brainstorm what positives you bring to the table can really help your case when you approach your landlord to negotiate down your rent.
1. Bring Up Your Good Credit
In a landlord’s eyes, a good credit score means a reliable tenant who takes care of the property and pays their rent on time. An excellent credit score of 700 or higher can provide you leverage while negotiating your rent down.
Homeowner and AHRN member Lisa Klinkhammer values the consistently great military tenants she rents to in the Joint Base Lewis-McChord area. Although her home has consistently rented out quickly, often before the previous tenant has moved out, there is still some wiggle room for the all-important right tenant.
Check out what she had to say about negotiating with a tenant who had great credit:
“Our current tenant has excellent credit and was willing to sign a 3-year lease. In exchange for that, they wanted a $300 discount a month on the rent. We said we couldn’t do it. But we did lower it by $50 / mo.”
2. Use Your Military Allotment for Rent
Especially when renting directly from a homeowner, paying your rent via allotment adds an extra measure of security that the rent will be on time each month. This method can streamline the payment process, ensuring a timely and consistent transfer of funds.
If paying through your military allotment is an option for you, this can be a powerful offering during rent negotiation. Landlords will often provide a discount to renters who can provide this guarantee that payment will come on time, every time.
3. Suggest a Longer Lease for Lower Rent
Each time a landlord has to turn over a home in preparation for new tenants, it costs them money. A new tenant means additional cleaning and repair costs that could have been avoided if the former tenant had been willing to stay.
Are you in a position to stay in the same home for more than one year? If you are willing to sign a longer-term lease of 2+ or more years, the landlord may be willing to negotiate that stability for a small reduction in the monthly rent.
4. Point Out Your Good Rent History
For many military families, going through multiple permanent change of stations (PCS) means an extensive rental history. Don’t be afraid to ask a former landlord for a reference note that you can use to negotiate your current rent.
A great reference and a strong rental history will make you an ideal candidate. Landlords want to protect their investment, and tenants with a demonstrated history of respect are often hard to come by. A good track record as a renter can greatly help your negotiation efforts!
5. Know the Rental Market
Before you jump in and begin negotiating, make sure you understand the market. Having this knowledge can guide you on the dollar amount to aim for when negotiating. For example, a home that is already priced at the lower end of the local rental market is unlikely to have a ton of room to negotiate down.
No matter what, your offer should still be in an appropriate rental price range for that home in the current rental market. Knowing the comparable rental prices in the area will give you the upper hand as you will be equipped with valuable information to negotiate.
More Like This: When it is time to move out of your rental, it is possible to earn back some of your security deposit! Learn more about What Landlords Look For During an Inspection to increase your chances of getting some money back.
Find Military Housing on AHRN
Looking for military housing near your next PCS location? Sign up at AHRN for access to hundreds of rentals near military installations. Here, you can find a diverse selection of properties, including apartments, houses, and townhomes, listed by military landlords who are experienced when it comes to working with military members and Veterans.