Aug 11 2016



Tags: rental agreement  lease agreement  pet policy  landlord  tenant 

6 Tips for Negotiating a Rental Agreement
Negotiate the best deal on your rental agreement with your landlord

When it comes to signing a rental agreement, it may come as a surprise that you have more negotiating power than you realize. Many people feel that a lease agreement is fairly cut and dried or they feel they do not have enough courage to negotiate a better deal. However, there may be certain aspects of the agreement which the landlord might be willing to overlook or make an exception.

If you have been a model tenant in the past, having a few references from past landlords may help sway the new landlord in your favor when negotiating certain aspects of the lease.

Here are some things that might be negotiable with your landlord in securing a better deal.

It is important to remember that each situation is different and that certain states or countries may have different laws regarding the rules of rental agreements. In many cases though, you might be surprised what the landlord will be willing to overlook. If you are willing to offer something in return, such as signing a longer lease, paying a few months rental in advance or by offering to do small repairs and fix-up jobs yourself.

1. Pet Rules & Policies - Negotiating Level: Medium

Usually the landlord is not directly responsible for this rule. The body corporate of a complex or an apartment would likely have certain rules and regulations as to what animals may be acceptable. Many may allow you to keep a small dog, while others may not allow cats.

You may have more leverage if the property you wish to lease is privately owned, such as a garden cottage or a townhouse, but it may not be that easy if it's an apartment building. If your pet is small and quiet, you may be able to persuade the landlord in your favor.

2. Parking Laws & Guest Policies - Negotiating Level: Medium

It is understandable that landlords have rules to maintain order for the benefit of everybody concerned, such as the number of guests allowed. This is particularly true for overnight guests. This law keeps all tenants in line with the maximum number of people allowed to occupy a unit and also prevents guests from occupying another tenant's parking space.

Keeping this in mind, you may be able to negotiate an extra parking space for a little extra every month. If you are planning to host a few more guests, you should be able to negotiate additional parking with the landlord, especially if those guests are close friends or relatives.

3. Security Deposit - Negotiating Level: Difficult

A security deposit (or double deposit) on the first month's rental is usually required by most landlords to protect themselves against any potential damage to the property during the duration of the tenants lease.

It may be difficult to get the landlord to budge on this, as it is common practice these days to pay a security deposit on signing of the rental agreement. You may however, be able to negotiate a slightly lower fee by signing a longer lease with the landlord or paying for a few months in advance. A reference or contact from a previous landlord may also hold you in good standing, if they are willing to testify that you were a good tenant and maintained their property.

4. Making Small Changes - Negotiating Level: Easy

Certain re-modelling, re-construction and even re-painting a building is definitely a no-no and it is not even worth trying to negotiate this with the landlord. However, the landlord may overlook small amendments or fixtures if you obtain permission beforehand and negotiate to return the building to its original state when you leave.

Some things which the landlord may be willing overlook would be the use of screws or nails to hang pictures and mirrors on bedroom or living room walls. The installation of a telephone jack, ceiling fans, lamp shades or curtain rails are also likely to be acceptable. In fact, any addition which could be considered an enhancement or added value to the property is likely to be acceptable by landlords by obtaining their permission first.

Be aware though, that a landlord may require that certain fixtures you add to a property are to remain intact once you leave, such as ceiling fans, bathroom mirrors or a telephone jack.

5. Accessing Amenities - Negotiating Level: Easy

Some apartments may have certain communal amenities for use by its tenants, such as a swimming pool, tennis court, gymnasium or laundry room. Use of these facilities you may be charged extra for. Thus it may be worth negotiating the inclusion of these facilities in your monthly rental, especially if you have been a long time renter.

6. The Rental Amount - Negotiating Level: Difficult

By doing your homework and knowing the average rentals in a certain area, you might be able to negotiate a slightly lower rental fee, if the asking price seems too high. Tell the landlord that you are interested, but compared to similar rentals in the area; you feel the price is too high and then make a reasonable counter offer , within the going price range.

If the landlord is not willing to lower the rental fee, you could try negotiating use of extra benefits, such as the inclusion of electricity in the rental fee, an extra parking space, or the use of the swimming pool or gymnasium.

Related article: 10 Questions Landlords Ask Tenants


Blog Comment

Excellent recommendations. Here are my thoughts concerning the rental amount. Yes, tenant needs to be sure that they have a clear understanding what price they’re willing to pay and for what accommodations. However, more often landlords are agree to get less money each month, when they have a harder time renting a place or if the tenant have high credit and get good references from former landlord. I personally, don’t have experience in price negotiation as a renter. However, friend of mine does it every time, when he renting new property. Recently he showed me this platform Tenants can negotiate rent without meeting landlord in person. Applicants, who you don’t feel confident during face-to-face communication, definitely should give it a try.

Posted By Nancy Hubert - United States

Blog Comment

Fantastic commentary ! I loved the insight , Does anyone know if I could get access to a fillable Residential Lease Agreement 2 example to use ?

Posted By Harry Ellis - USA

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