How To Negotiate Your Apartment Lease
Did you know you can negotiate your apartment lease, even if it’s one of those big faceless corporate entities (Equity, Camden, Avalon, and more)?
You don’t need to swallow that 10-12% rent increase set by their ‘algorithm’. They count on you being too lazy to move or not being worth the hassle, or even not knowing the current increases in market prices in the area. In high cost of living areas (like San Francisco), an increase can be $200, $300, or more than you would pay if you moved into your own apartment that day!
Successfully negotiating your apartment lease requires year-round work, but this should be easy work. Your leasing office and your relationship with the local branch are important when renewal time comes up!
Steps to Negotiate Your Apartment Lease
- Pay all your bills on time. You want to demonstrate you are a good tenant and keeping you around is in their best interest. Be kind to the maintenance staff and the leasing staff – it’s not their fault that corporate set the rates. Follow the rules, don’t party too hard, and respect your neighbors. Easy!
- Get your leasing office to divulge information about vacancies. I noticed that my upstairs neighbors had changed 3 times, meaning they have a big problem keeping tenants in their apartments after moving in. My neighbor also told me someone was in our apartment for just a few weeks and was evicted. The cost of moving multiple people in and out is high for the corporate and the bottom line. If you’re a good tenant, that’s savings for you and them.
- Your leasing staff can also include a note in their request to corporate when you give them the price you are willing to pay. Knowing the statistics and showing that you have researched the rates (the rate I was offered was $250 above the same floor plan available on the website and $300 above the market rate in my area) shows the corporate branch that they can’t squeeze you.
Of course, in the end, these corporate giants may be greedy and refuse to come down to real market rates, even if their complex is standing empty. If that’s the case, calculate the cost/time of moving versus the savings. If you’re quibbling over $20 a month – the cost and time of a move (packing supplies, renting a moving truck, movers or friends to carry boxes) may not be worth the savings. Just keep an eye on market rates! Your local city council can provide you with information on current rates. In a high cost of living area, moving may be worth it since rates can rise by hundreds over the actual market rate, preying on laziness.