My buddy Mike from Jersey has been a landlord for over 15 years. When I talked to him the other day I mentioned a study that I read regarding the rental market. It said that rents were going through the roof and landlords were making a killing. He said, “I know” and laughed.
The study was by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies and it states that renters pay more than 30 percent of their income on rent. And to make matters worse, as my buddy can attest, landlords know they hold all the cards because more people are renting now — an estimated 35 percent of households are renters.
This may not be news to those of you already renting or hitting the bricks looking for a place to rent. But what about this — Mike says…
Generally, I am much more willing to cut a person a break or bring someone in for less than the market rate if they demonstrate that they are good renters. If they are good to me, I’m very good to them.
Cool, right? And he gave me a few other tips that may convince your landlord to lower the rent…
1. Improve the property
Plant a beautiful garden, paint a few rooms in the house or apartment, generally spruce things up — don’t put holes in the walls. Ask your landlord what you can do and negotiate from there.
2. Do your own general maintenance
As Mike told me, “I’d put a provision in the lease where the tenant agrees not to call me if the toilet is broken.” Maybe your landlord would be happy to save you a few bucks if you save him a few trips to the rental for basic maintenance.
3. Pay early
Mike says, “If a person was willing to pay the monthly rent early, I might give a discount (e.g. the rent is $1,000, but if you pay a week early it’s $950.” That’s $50 more a month for food, savings or other bills.
4. Check market value
Scan the local market and evaluate the prices for similar rental units. Mike’s says, “Show me that the fair market value for other local comparable units is lower, and I might meet their price, especially if the renter seems genuinely passionate about living in my place.”
5. Pay more up front
It’s all about the money. Mike told me he gave a renter one month free when he paid a year in advance. A year in advance is not possible for most renters, but even three or four months in advance may work. Make your landlord an offer.
It may be a landlord’s market, but there’s always room for negotiation — especially if you offer the right incentives.