How to Negotiate Lease Terms

By Danielle Wirsansky on February 27, 2017

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When you are living on your own for the first time ever, you want it to be as positive an experience as possible. College is stressful enough as it is, and you want to live in a place that is stress-free and that has as many amenities as you can afford while staying within your budget.

Oftentimes, college towns have many properties that students can live at and rent that are privately owned. And when a property is privately owned, it is often possible to negotiate or convince your landlord to give you those things like free parking, an extra parking pass, or pool access for a guest that could make your stay a dream.

Read on to learn what sorts of things you can do to negotiate and convince your landlord to give you extra perks or help you renegotiate your lease terms!

Start the Conversation

Oftentimes, your landlord or property manager will be willing to work with you. If you have been a good tenant, they want you to stay and renew your lease. They already know that you pay your rent, do so on time, and cause very little fuss. You are showing interest in staying there for another lease term — this is better than some abstract tenant that may or may not show interest in the apartment in the future. For them, a bird in hand is better than one in the bush.

So be upfront and let them know: you are interested in renewing your lease, but either the rent is increasing too much or some other factor is causing you to hesitate. What can they offer you in order to make you reconsider? Many just need to know that there is an issue in order to address it.

Tit for Tat

If you do something for your landlord, then they might be willing to do something for you in regards to renegotiating your lease. Many times, a landlord cannot just decrease the price of rent because it takes away their property’s value. If they give you a lower price than they might have to give everyone a lower price and that simply will not do.

So give them tit for tat. Give your landlord a perk when signing your lease so that they give you one in return. They most likely want you to stay their tenant. You can offer to sign a longer lease as long as your rent stays the same if that will work with how long you plan to stay in school.

That way, they make the same bottom line and keep their property filled and their tenants happy. Your landlord will most likely even make more money that way. You can also offer to pay rent early every month. Landlords are very interested in stability, especially in the form of payment. If you can commit to paying your rent early every month, they might also be willing to give you some kind of perk when renegotiating your lease.

Pay Upfront

You can also offer your landlord financial stability by offering to pay the entire terms of your lease upfront. This can be an even better offer than paying each month early. Once again, a bird in hand is better than a bird in the bush. Why would they turn away the whole lump sum of your payment? That way, no matter what happens, they have the money already.

Can’t you see your landlord almost licking their chops at this offer? They should be all over your offer and counter offering you perks and amenities in return. If you can swing paying the whole term’s rent at once, this can be a great option to help you have a positive experience and get exactly what you want in regards to your lease from your landlord.

Make a Deal

Does your unit need any repairs or upgrades? If it does, your landlord is going to have to pay to have someone make those repairs in any case. Why not offer to take care of it yourself? If you are handy, you can offer to make the repairs and upgrades yourself. Or you can offer to pay to have those repairs made.

If the cost of the repairs is less than the overall rent increase your landlord wants to stick on you, it might be worth it to take it into your own hands. Offer to take charge of the repairs and pay for them in return for rent staying the same or even being decreased. Then, if you plan to live in the unit for a while, you will have a lot of control over what the upgrades will be like and can fit them more to your specifications.

After all, you are the one that has to live there. And it could end up saving you more money in the end!

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Danielle Wirsansky graduated from FSU with a BA in Theatre and a BA in Creative Writing with a minor in History. She is a second year graduate student in FSU's History department where she serves as the Communications Officer for the History Graduate Student Association and President of White Mouse Theatre Productions. She studied abroad in London, England for the Spring 2015 semester at FSU's study center for the Playwriting Program and interned for the English National Theatre of Israel in Summer of 2015. Her first musical, City of Light, opened as part of FSU's New Horizons Festival in Spring of 2016. She has also won the MRCE and URCAA Research grants from FSU. In the past, she served as the Marketing Director for the FSU Student Theatre Association, the intern for the Holocaust Education Resource Council, and the research assistant of Prof. Nathan Stoltzfus. She has previously written for Context Florida (Contributing Writer), USA Today College (Contributing Writer), Sheroes of History (Contributing Blogger), No(le)Reservations (Contributing Blogger), Female, Reloaded (Arts/Entertainment Editor) , I Want a Buzz Magazine (intern), Mandarin Newsline (youth arts update columnist), Distink Designs (Guest blogger), (associate editor), (associate editor), Spark TLH (Contributor), the Tallahassee Democrat (contributor), Elan Literary Magazine (Head of Marketing), and the Improviser Newspaper (Opinions Editor).

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