Further Tips on Negotiating With Your Landlord

Right now it is a very real option to negotiate with landlords to get a lower rent and as lease renewal season is upon us, I’m sure any tips are welcome. Successful negotiation with a minimum of anxiety and bad feeling is something of an art form, and THIS factsheet from tenant.net offers some great tips and tricks that can help you to arm yourself better for what could prove to be a difficult or stressful discussion.

As a broker, negotiation is a big part of my job and I would also like to offer some negotiation advice for those of you who are moving and looking at new apartments as well as those of you looking to change the terms of your current lease.

1) If you see an apartment that you like and want to negotiate on the price, be prepared to submit your offer along with an application that includes a credit check and supporting documentation. This is not a trick to get you to apply for an apartment–the broker and landlord are not trying to force you to take it. The fact is that people make crazy offers all the time and most of them never follow through. If you are serious then prove it and submit an application! The stronger a candidate you are, the more favorably a potential landlord will view your offer.

2) Be realistic–not every apartment is going to offer an immediate 25% discount just because the “market is bad”. Some landlords are already cognizant of current market conditions and have made concessions such as lowering their asking rent, paying the broker’s fee or offering free rent. Without these concessions, it is my belief that you can reasonably ask for more of a discount on the rent.

3) Realize that there are two sides to a successful negotiation. The whole point of negotiating is that they give a little and you give a little and hopefully you reach some kind of compromise.

4) Know who is on the other side–is it a small time landlord with two buildings who is likely feeling the pinch as much as you are? Is it a multi-national conglomerate who can afford to have vacancies on the books?

5) Get to know the market. Do not get to know the market by running a broker around for two days with no intention of actually renting an apartment through them. I hesitated before adding this one because I don’t want you to think I am not helpful or that I will only take you to look at apartments if you will eventually rent one through me because this is absolutely not the case! However, if you have no intention of renting a new apartment and are just contacting brokers because you want to become more informed about the market then it is much better for you to go to some open houses on your own (there are plenty of them), call me up for a chat and some free advice, use the market report I have posted on this blog. But please do not let me pay for taxis, buy you coffee and spend a lot of my time to help you stay in your current place.

6) Right now, very few landlords are letting people out of their leases early. Do not just assume that you will be able to get out of your lease if you find an apartment that you like more. Your current lease is likely much more favorable to the landlord than those of most apartments that are currently renting. Thanks to a recent court ruling leases are in fact legally binding contracts.

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About Me

Michelle Erfer is a licensed Real Estate Salesperson in New York City.
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