Ever wondered if it’s possible to negotiate your monthly rent down? I’m here to tell you that it is indeed a thing, and it can happen in different ways! Let me tell you my story.

A few months ago, I received my lease renewal paperwork. Even with the pandemic, I expected my rent price would go up at least a small amount. When I opened the envelope and saw that my rent hadn’t increased at all, my dismay turned into disbelief.

It was the first time in my apartment life that I wouldn’t be ponying up more money for the next 12 months. I started to sign right away, but decided to sit on it since I had a couple months to respond. Moving wasn’t on my radar, but it was a good time to reflect on where I’m at in life and if my place is still the right place.

A month after receiving the paperwork, I got a note from the property management company offering a credit if I signed the lease agreement in the next five days. Sounds like a good deal, right? No rent increase plus a credit to stay? SOLD…or so you would think.

I noticed a lot of folks had been moving out on my floor and new tenants weren’t replacing them. I also researched the rental market and surrounding properties and noticed rent in general had stayed pretty flat or, in some cases, gone down. Many properties were offering aggressive move-in specials and lower rental rates for longer leases, which signaled a renter’s market. After a couple more days of thought and wondering if I could really negotiate my rent down, I decided to ask for more. I wrote the company an email that went something like this:

“Hi there,

Is it possible to increase the credit to [insert amount]? I’ve enjoyed my two years here and would love to stay, but with all the rent specials I’m seeing, my job being WFH for the foreseeable future, a significant increase in at-home costs, and the prospect of not having to hear ongoing construction across the street, it’s becoming harder to justify.

The extra relief would make my life better. I’ll re-sign ASAP if we can get there. Thanks to the team for all the hard work to keep the community informed and satisfied during this odd time.”

We had a few exchanges and within a day, I’d gotten the high end of what I wanted and signed the new lease. The impact? I essentially decreased my rent by over $100/month. It wasn’t worth the property manager and owner losing a good tenant, having to pay costs to repaint and clean, search for a new tenant, and have the unit vacant for the foreseeable future. I didn’t wanna move during the pandemic without good reason. Both sides got what they wanted.

While this example is specific to negotiating your rent down, it also applies to salary negotiation, subscription services, and more. And the best part? It doesn’t have to be super stressful. All you have to do is ask. Because chances are if you don’t, you’ll always wonder if you could’ve done better. Where’s the peace of mind in that?

R

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