7 Tips for Negotiating Your Apartment Lease

Female Tenant Renter Shows Apartment Keys Whether you’re a long-time renter looking for a new living space, a first-time renter unsure of where to start, or a current renter considering extending your stay, negotiating your apartment lease can feel daunting. But the fact of the matter is that you’ll never know if and where the landlord or property manager is willing to budge if you don’t bother to ask. Today, we’ll share seven lease negotiation tips with you. 

Keep These in Mind When Negotiating Your Apartment Lease 

Before you commit to anything—be it a new lease or a renewal—make sure to read it thoroughly and consider these tips if you’re interested in saving some money 

1. Do Your Research  

Spend some time looking around at other rentals in the neighborhood to get an idea of what the going rate is. If similar units in the area are listed for less, you may be getting overcharged. If so, it might be worth mentioning to the owner before signing a lease; saying something like: “An apartment of the same size with more amenities three blocks away is listed for $100 less,” can signal that you’ve done your homework and know the market.  

2. Offer to Sign a Longer Lease 

It can be a bit of a hassle for a property owner to find new, reliable, responsible tenants every 12 months. It’s often a headache they’d rather not deal with. So, if you’re planning to stay in the area for more than a year and can commit to a longer lease, they might be open to a lower rent since they won’t have to worry about advertising the unit and prepping it for a showing. 

3. Volunteer Your Handy DIY Skills 

Are you relatively handy around the house? Perhaps you can volunteer your skills in exchange for a reduced rate. For example, if snow removal and lawn maintenance are included in the rent, you could agree to take over the shoveling and mowing if the landlord is willing to knock some money off the monthly rent. After all, it saves them the time and trouble of having to do it themselves! Likewise, if the unit could use some improvements—like a fresh coat of paint or a new backsplash—you could agree to do those projects for a deal; you’d be adding value to the space while saving the owner time and/or money they might have spent on hiring a professional. 

4. Remember Rent Isn’t the Only Thing Up for Negotiation 

Don’t forget that ultimately everything is negotiable. Rent isn’t the only thing you spend money on. If the landlord won’t budge on rent payments, they might be able to offer other benefits, like a larger storage space, a reduced security deposit, free carpet cleanings, or a new appliance.  

5. Provide Proof of Renters Insurance 

Although renters insurance isn’t required here in Massachusetts, most landlords prefer tenants carry it since it adds a layer of protection to their property and offers peace of mind. Some landlords will offer a small discount if the renter provides proof of their insurance. 

6. Be Open to Compromise 

Negotiations are two-sided. If you’re going to be unflinchingly rigid in your negotiations, you’ll be unsuccessful. Be prepared to meet the landlord somewhere in the middle to settle on a deal you’re both satisfied with.  

7. Get Everything in Writing 

Once both sides have agreed to the terms, get all the details in writing. This protects both of you in case someone goes back on their word or doesn’t uphold their end of the deal.  

We hope these seven tips have given you the confidence needed to start negotiating your apartment lease with your current or prospective landlord. And if you’re looking to save money on other living expenses, you may reconsider your options for renters insurance. Contact TJ Woods today to discuss finding affordable coverage.