Landlords are making deals
These days, landlords are clearly open to making deals. So if you're looking for a new apartment, don't be shy to negotiate. In Los Angeles, for example, many landlords are offering one month's free rent to prospective tenants. If landlords are offering deals, they're willing to cut them.
Zumper, in fact, urges new renters to try to broker a deal.
"In our opinion,” Zumper writes, “it’s 100% worth it to negotiate and get the best price possible for your rental. Since rent prices make up a large portion of our expenses, shaving off even a small percentage of your rent can save you thousands of dollars a year."
But before you negotiate, you must be informed. Search apartment listing websites (such as apartments.com) and look for deals that landlords are offering as well as rent prices in the neighborhood you want to live in.
"Negotiating rent with a landlord might seem like a hard battle to win," Realtor notes, "but it’s entirely doable if you can prove two things: 1) the rent being charged is higher than similar units elsewhere, and 2) you’re a model tenant who pays rent on time."
Trulia adds, "During your apartment search, you probably found a few places you would be open to renting. During your discussion about negotiating rent, make sure it’s clear—in a respectful way—that their rental is one of a few you’re considering. If the landlord believes they’re your only option, they won’t feel the need to lower the rate."
Knowing rent prices is crucial for negotiating.
If you can't lower the rent, then request other money-saving concessions. Such as free parking, free amenities of some kind, a longer lease with a lower rent, or a lower-priced security deposit.
But always go into a negotiation with documentation and hard facts.
You want to show your strengths as a renter and that you know the rent prices and special deals in the neighborhood.
It's also helpful to quickly submit a strong application with all the required information, including a reference from a previous landlord that shows you paid rent on time.
Be polite, but confident, and try to hold the negotiation in person. It's harder for a landlord to say no when someone is sitting across from him or her.
With renters becoming more savvy, landlords expect a negotiation, as the Los Angeles Times points out. Don't hesitate to try to strike a deal. Get informed, and then go for it.
Read Housing Is A Human Right's article "Are You a Renter in California? Here are New Trends You'll Want to Know."