Not so long ago, if you asked for a rent reduction your landlord might have hung up on you. Now, with vacancy rates reaching 23-year highs (according to The Wall Street Journal) you, dear renter, have the negotiating equivalent of a circus strongman.
The numbers tell the story. We recently reported that nearly 70 percent of landlords would consider a cut in rent. The National Association of Independent Landlords reports in the Journal that two-thirds of smaller, independent landlords will reduce rents, and, in the last 18 months already, nearly one-third have done so. We aren't talking about "latte-factor" amounts, either.
The Journal reports that of those willing to negotiate:
As the market increasingly favors tenants, landlords are doing whatever it takes to keep tenants happy. Some are giving gifts and incentives. Others are more open to suggestions from tenants. For example, you may secure more favorable rent terms if you lock into a two-year commitment or agree to send your payments electronically."...61 percent would shave rent by up to 5 percent, while 29 percent would slash it by as much as 10 percent. A handful of those remaining would consider even steeper discounts, the survey of nearly 500 landlords last month found."
If your lease is coming due, now is the time to act. It is more difficult to negotiate mid-lease, but, if you're in a bind due to unemployment, it can't hurt. Remind your landlord of similar units on the market and your record of being a good tenant (paying on time, maintaining the property, etc.).
What have you got to lose? Here are some tips for renegotiating rent.