Times are tough, and landlords know it. For many of us, that rent payment on our flat is the single largest expense each month — so why not try to reduce that payment to have the greatest benefit to our budget? While you might feel like the landlord has all the power in the relationship, consider how your landlord relies on and appreciate good, stable tenants. You need a living space just as a landlord needs a tenant to fill it; you are in a mutually beneficial relationship — are you leveraging it the way you should be?
You can use some of the following tactics below to your advantage and seek to reduce your rent, which will pay off for years to come:
Check Out the Competition
One thing landlords fear is competition, so use information to your advantage. Go on to Craigslist UK or any other number of rental comparison sites and arm yourself with information on lower priced flats that seem similar to what you have now. Consider things like available amenities and the actual size of your flat compared to others (in square metres). With that information in hand, ask for a reduction in your rent based on what you could get in the market elsewhere.
Negotiate for More Than Just Monthly Payments
Suppose the landlord was unwilling to budge on the monthly payment. Perhaps he has reasons for this, like using those funds for a mortgage; or perhaps his bank note is tied to the monthly price he committed to in a contract. That doesn’t mean you can’t still save money. Propose instead that he lower the rate on something else or throw something in for free like one of the utilities, cable service, internet or something that you’re paying for out of pocket. At least one of those inclusions would save you a few hundred pounds per year or more.
Give the Landlord Something in Return
As mentioned earlier, landlords love the idea of a stable, long-term paying tenant. An easy way to negotiate a lower rent, or at least lock in the same price for a longer period, is to agree to extend your term. If your lease is coming up for renewal soon, and you already like the place, you could negotiate a lower rent by agreeing to stay for another year, or negotiate harder and agree to even 2 years. Depending on your employment situation, you may feel comfortable committing to a longer lease. The longer the lease, the more security the landlord has — that can be quite valuable to them, so negotiate accordingly.
Suggest a Longer Courtesy Period
Typically, landlords require 30-day notice when you plan to vacate your living arrangement. Just as your landlord may be open to a longer lease to take away some of their stress, consider extending your notice window to a 60- or 90-day term. This is just another way of showing that you are considerate of their needs and are able to provide them with a more convenient arrangement.
Establish a Referral Bonus
Many landlords own more than just one flat and need to find others to fill it. They could do a search on their own, which takes time and effort. Additionally, the landlord can only judge a potential new tenant off of their first meeting and any references on their application. That doesn’t leave them much hope to truly know them before they sign a lease. Alternatively, your landlord could provide you with a referral bonus for any leaser you recommend. Referrals mean less work on the part of the landlord, and it gives them the opportunity to know the potential tenant a little more personally.
Surrender Your Unused Benefits
Are there any amenities that you don’t use but that are included as part of your rent? For example, you may have a fitness centre in your building that you never take advantage of or a delegated parking spot that you don’t park in. Talk to your landlord about abstaining from those perks and remove that cost from your monthly rent.
Offer Your Services
Another headache for landlords is going to their flats and doing repairs or paying a property manager for upkeep and maintenance. You could offer to do things like paint, maintain the utility units, landscape or other duties he’d have to pay for otherwise. You’d get the dual benefit of a lower price and also get to enjoy a nicer place.
Now that you’ve negotiated a lower rent for the year, consider how to best account for your savings. Perhaps develop an emergency fund or save for something special!