Negotiating 101

Negotiating 101

“Is the rent negotiable?”

This is a great question and one you definitely should be asking. You want to make sure you’re getting the best deal on your future rental. Only you know what your budget is. You might find the most perfect rental out there but it’s just a tad bit over your budget. So you ask: “Will the landlord come down on the rent?” The answer can either be YES or NO. And when negotiating rent, there are two ways to go about it: the RIGHT way and the WRONG way. Follow our tips on how to correctly negotiate and make sure you get the rent reduction you want.

STEP 1: Read the listing and details carefully. Do the features and amenities meet your needs? Are pets allowed? Is there parking and how about appliances? You would be surprised how often renters invest time in getting a price reduction over a property that does not fit their needs. Here at The Rental Girl we recently started adding video tours of our listings to help you really see the property. The video tours will show you what the property looks like inside, so you can make sure you like the feel of it before setting up a showing.

STEP 2: View the property in person. Take the time to view and investigate the property in person. Once you have seen the unit and you know what it looks like, then you can consider the amenities and better judge how it compares to other units on the market. Once you have investigated it, seen it, want it, and would like to make a reasonable offer then you can take it to the next level.

STEP 3: Submit an application with a cover letter requesting a lower rent (ask that your credit not be run if the rent cannot be lowered). Before you start the negotiations, you want to make sure you have first seen the unit in person and submitted an application. This does two things: First, it sends a message to the landlord that you are a serious and qualified applicant. Second, it tells the owner a little bit about who they are negotiating with. They will want to know: who are you? What is your income, credit, rental history, ideal move-in date, if you have pets?

Landlords want to get their property rented to a qualified person fast. Submitting an application is like dangling a carrot in front of them. They can see that signed lease and they really, really want it… in this state of mind (knowing the deal is almost done), they are more likely to negotiate. If you are not going to submit an application they simply will not take your offer as serious and will not be as willing to negotiate.

STEP 4: Follow the Instructions
Most landlords will give you specific instructions on what they need from you to apply. If you are applying through us, our site details out exactly what we need from you to apply. Submit a complete application for each adult, with ID, your offer (the application has a section that asks for rent amount or you can include a cover letter). If you happen to know your credit status, mention it. It will not reflect well on you if you do not follow the instructions and do not submit a complete application package. The landlord will assume you are hiding undesirable information from him and he will not be as willing to negotiate.

STEP 5: What are you willing to give in exchange for a price reduction?

In negotiating, you want to offer one thing in exchange for another. Can you move in sooner? Are you an ideal tenant? What do you bring to the table? If you are not an “ideal” tenant, what can you offer to make yourself more desirable? If you are weak in an area such as income, credit or rental history and you want a price reduction, what do you think will make you a more desirable applicant? Can you get a strong co-signer? Or maybe pay a higher deposit?




a) Though it is perfectly acceptable to negotiate on rent and amenities, there are definitely times when you shouldn’t. For example, we would not recommend negotiating if the property is highly desirable and there are multiple applicants. If the landlord has three qualified applications in front of him and yours, which asks for a rent reduction, he is less likely to even consider your application. Before you have a chance to come back and say, “Ok, I’ll take it for the asking amount” the landlord will already have approved another applicant and you will have lost your opportunity.

b) If the landlord DOES accept your offer, he is not necessarily approving your application. Remember, the landlord has not run your credit or processed your application fully at this point. He is simply saying, “You look good so far, therefore I will consider renting to you at the rent you want.” He will have to run your credit and verify it is what you say it is, as well as finish processing your application. Remember, negotiating is giving something in exchange for something. All landlords are different, some are more flexible than others.

c) If you have applied through The Rental Girl and you and the owner do not reach an agreement on the rent, the good news is we can apply your application to another property. We always get new properties and you can use the same application to apply for another great property that perhaps has a landlord more open to negotiating.

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