Wondering how to get a discount on apartment rent? Even after you've already signed the lease? Let me show you some excellent ways to negotiate plus work your rent bill down.
In my short lifespan (well, I guess I can no longer say short now that I’ve officially lived three decades), I have lived in nine different apartments across three different continents. That’s a decent amount of schlepping, lease-signing, and unpacking. Some were for very short stints—such as my three-month flat in London with five others, or my five-month lease with a roommate in Florida—while others were for 1-2 years. Some apartments were in a complex, while other leases were strictly through a private owner.
One thing that I have learned is that even though you may have to sign a lease for a set amount of time, there are ways for you to decrease your rent without having to move.
Psst: While you're here? You might want to learn my strategies for how to save money on electric bill in apartment.
How to Negotiate a Rent Increase
Here's the thing — your best negotiating tactic is locking in a rate for several years with your landlord.
I know, I know. Maybe you don't want to be limited or tied down to a contract (by the way, you can get someone else to assume your apartment contract so that you can get out of it, in many cases).
But, if you pay your rent consistently and are reliable renters, your landlord will love nothing more than to lock in income for 2-3 years instead of just 6 months to a year at a time.
SO, the next time they raise the rent, ask them to lock in the previous rate (or even lower), and in return, offer to lock into a 2-3 year contract.
This also works wonders when you're looking for how to negotiate lower rent before signing a lease. But a word of caution: you haven't lived in this apartment yet, so you might not want to lock it in for a few years without the experience on your side.
How to Negotiate Apartment Rent – Work Around the Apartment Complex or House
I recently watched a television show about a couple who was living on the streets. They eventually found an apartment to rent for free; what did they have to do to get it? The husband needed to work 20 hours per week for the landlord for free. The yoga facility I go to for their $5 community classes are currently advertising for someone to clean the studio one weekend night per week. Guess what the payoff is? Unlimited classes whenever you would like to attend. One of the apartment complexes I lived at offered a free apartment for its property managers. These examples carry various levels of commitment, and show that there are ways to arrange for a decrease in rent (or free rent all together) for offering your services. If you work in IT, perhaps you can offer your computer expertise to a common area. If you live in a house-apartment, perhaps you can take over the lawn care for a discount. You never know unless you ask.
Another way you can lower your rent bill, even after you sign the lease? Find renters for the apartment complex.
How Can I Reduce My Apartment Rent? Bring in New Renters
Some apartment complexes advertise an incentive to pay you for referring new renters. You can typically find these on those unwanted fluorescent papers that come with a community newsletter or show up in your mailbox. Even if your apartment complex does not offer this incentive, approach the property manager with the idea. It’s hard to believe that they would not give you something for bringing a new, signed renter (unless the place is already overcrowded).
Add a Roommate to the Rental Agreement
Is it possible for you to bring in a new roommate so that you can split the rent and expenses? I came into a $325-per-month rent situation when I was added to a lease on an apartment during the first year after college. In Florida, I was able to sign onto the last five months of someone’s lease to pay $625 a month in rent versus the $995 I ended up paying each month when I lived alone afterwards.
If you are interested in sharing an apartment with someone who is already on the lease (or the other way around), then first check the lease contract for the maximum occupancy limit and any possible clauses limiting this. Next, speak directly with your landlord. Note that the second person will likely need to go through an application process (including a credit check), and it’s possible that you will need to sign a new lease as well.
Wait Until the Lease Expires and Negotiate
There is always the option of renegotiation when your current lease is up in order to decrease your future rental payments. This does not mean that you have to move, but it does mean that you need to look at other market rents so that you can show the landlord why you should get a decrease in rents (instead of the increase in rent they probably want to offer you).
How many apartments have you lived in? Were you successful in lowering rent within your lease? Please share with the rest of us how you did it!