The price of rent and goods have slowly crept upward — but you may have found your salary isn’t increasing in kind. If you’re facing a rent increase, need a short-term lease, or have found that your apartment lacks in-unit accommodations, you’re probably wondering if you have options. Yes, you could downsize or move to a less-than-convenient location… but first, why not try to negotiate your lease? Read on to learn how to renew a lease and how to negotiate your upcoming lease renewal (the smart way).
When to Consider Negotiating a Lease Renewal?
You’re Facing Rent Increases
Right now rent prices are trending upward, leaving many Americans wondering how to negotiate rent increases so that they can afford to remain in their current unit. Rent increases happen for various reasons, including inflation, high demand, and sometimes because your landlord just feels like hiking up prices a bit. If you’ve been given notice that a rent increase is coming, you don’t just have to sit back and accept it — if you’re a consistent, reliable tenant, your landlord may consider providing preferential rent or a rent concession. Consider negotiating first.
You’re Looking for a Longer (or Shorter) Term Rental Agreement
Maybe you’re looking to stay put in your unit for a year or more and are comfortable signing up for a two-year lease. Or, perhaps you’re planning on finally buying your own place soon and want to ask for a short-term or month-to-month lease. In either case, it’s worth having a conversation with your landlord before your lease renewal.
If you’re looking for a long-term lease agreement, your landlord may be open to decreasing (or at the least not increasing) your rent if you’re willing to sign on for a longer rental period. Longer rental agreement periods can benefit both you and your landlord: they know they have a steady renter (and source of rental income) moving forward, and you’re assured that your rental price will remain consistent for the duration of the lease.
If you’re considering asking for a shorter rental period, keep in mind that shorter-term agreements carry more risk for your landlord or rental company. For that reason, your landlord may try to raise your monthly rent price. Short-term leases may also be prone to more frequent rent increases. Your landlord will have the option to up the rental price at every renewal, provided they provide you with the proper notice. In these cases, you may also want to ask your landlord about the potential to sublet.
You’re Wanting a Specific Change in In-Unit Accommodations
Maybe your freezer isn’t working, the drier takes 4 cycles to half-dry your towels, your cabinets need touch-ups, or parking is costing you an arm and a leg. In these instances, at the time of lease renewal, you should consider asking your landlord for a specific change in accommodations or a rental concession. Rental concessions can take many forms, ranging from one month off of rent or eliminating renewal fees to providing that parking space or a new drier for no additional cost.
8 Tips for How to Negotiate a Lease Renewal
Do Your Research
What do you need to renew your apartment lease? Well, once you’ve determined whether you’re looking to negotiate your rent cost, rental period, or amenities, it’s time to gather some intel. Tap into your local rental market by searching for comparable apartments in your area. See how they compare to your current place in terms of specific offerings (space, amenities, in-unit accommodations) and price. Take screenshots and collect links to justify your ask. Need help finding resources? Consider using Rentometer to compare fair pricing and ApartmentSearch’s advanced filters to look into accommodations, pricing, and more.
Draw on Your Strengths as a Tenant
You’ll need to act as both your own advocate and cheerleader in this situation — which means outlining your strengths as a good tenant. Landlords and rental companies know that not all tenants are created equal — and ultimately they want to rent to someone who pays their rent on time and won’t damage their property. Use your past good behavior (paying rent on time, keeping your unit clean and damage-free) as a leveraging tool.
Clearly Outline Your Ask
Now that you’ve got data and proof that you’re an exemplary tenant in hand, it’s time to begin outlining your ask. Be specific about your requirements and provide a concrete justification for why you’re making this ask. Consider your landlord or rental company’s perspective and appeal to them, too! For example, redoing the carpeting provides an improvement for the property, while swapping out your failing HVAC unit can reduce energy and maintenance costs.
Much like in math class, there’s an added benefit in showing your work. Demonstrate your thinking process of how you got here and why.
Timing is Everything
When you’re making an ask, you’ll need to consider timing — both for yourself and your landlord. For example, you’ll want to ensure that you’re starting the negotiation process early enough that if you needed to find a new apartment you won’t be put in a bind (or stuck renewing with the same lease terms you’re hoping to negotiate). Whenever possible, do your best to start the negotiation process as early as possible.
Keep in mind that certain times of year may mean your landlord is more (or less) open to negotiation, too. Typically, many choose to apartment hunt in the summer or early fall, meaning that your landlord may feel that they can easily replace you as a tenant during those times. During winter months, your landlord may be more inclined to negotiate with you as it’s generally not considered a popular time to move, and they don’t want their unit to sit empty for weeks (or months) on end.
Be Professional and Kind
A lease is a contract between you and your landlord and should be treated as if it were a business deal. Conduct and present yourself professionally, much like if you were interviewing for a job. Be clear, thoughtful, and concise with all of your communication surrounding your lease negotiation, whether written or spoken. Refrain from getting emotionally heated if you face resistance from your landlord.
The key to a successful lease negotiation? Remember that it is a negotiation above all else. That means that you may have to demonstrate some flexibility and be open to compromises. It’s possible that your landlord may choose to (or may be unable to) accommodate all of your requests, but could make a counteroffer or come up with another suggestion. If that’s the case, take time to consider their offer before signing on the dotted line.
Put it On Paper
This piece is crucial: you’ll need to have any changes to your lease in writing. Should you and your landlord come up with a written or verbal agreement, you’ll want to request that a new lease is drawn up containing your new lease terms. This way, you can feel confident that your landlord will uphold their end of the agreement and vice versa.
Be Prepared to Find a New Apartment
It’s always a good idea to keep your options open when negotiating your lease. After all, it’s possible that your landlord won’t be willing to budge on the terms of your new lease renewal agreement. Continue to search for apartments throughout your lease negotiation and be prepared to make the choice not to renew at your current place. While you search, avoid surprises and come prepared with questions.
Make Your Move With CORT Furniture Rental
If your landlord won’t budge on your lease renewal, it may be time to find a new place that better suits your needs — whether in terms of budget, lease terms, or space. Need help finding your next place? Look to ApartmentSearch’s advanced filters.
Once you find a new place, CORT Furniture Rental can help you with furnishing it. With CORT’s easy and quality furniture subscription packages, you can rent the furniture you need for as long as you need it. Renting furniture can be especially helpful for a quick or short-term move. Start browsing packages online today or visit a local CORT showroom near you to talk to a design specialist.