Negotiating with Landlords in Winter

Winter time usually becomes a renters market. As the temperature drops, so does your competition for available units. Few people are going to leave their lease to go look for a new one during the winter months, making this a renters market.

If you are looking to rent this month, you should try to negotiate the best deal you can for yourself. Here are six strategies to improve your living situation.

Use the cold to get a good deal

Because it is a renter’s market, this means you have more leverage while bargaining with your landlord. Landlords usually lower their prices after their property has been empty for three months. Keep an eye out for the units that sit empty, and reach out to the landlord once it’s evident they’ve been empty.

Grab a temporary discount

This is a national fact: renters want to pay as little as possible, and landlords always want the highest margins they can get. Whatever you do, don’t ask them to negotiate rent, because they won’t go for it. They will see you as trying to devalue their investment. Other terms like early payments could be negotiated.

Get a longer lease period

If you know you will be in this spot for longer than the normal 12 month lease, it’s well within the possibility to lock in a payment without having to worry about if it will ever increase.

If your lease ends at the end of the year, and you know what you want to renew, ask them for a 16, or 18 month lease. The odds of this being granted to you depends if your payment is on time. This way their place becomes free again in the middle of the summer, and new tenants are likely to move in as opposed to winter.

Let your perfect record do the talking

If your renting track record is in great shape, and your landlord wants you to stay, you have the power to negotiate a new lease agreement.

Offer to pay the entire lease upfront

Or else a couple months up front – take whatever ready cash you have and put it towards your rent, and usually you’ll get a discount. Not every landlord will offer this, but some believe in the bird-in-the-hand method.

Go to your landlord and ask if you pay six months now, if they’ll give you a discount. Offering a lump sum from the get-go allows you to stand out from the rest of the possible renters. Truly, landlords don’t know if they will ever see their money from tenants.  

Offer to upgrade their unit

If you’ve got an eye on a place that happens to need a little work, offer your handyman services for a rent decrease. If it needs some major improvements, someone’s got to do it. Unless the landlord is the handiest of handymen themselves, they will have to hire someone, which could be quite costly. You can offer to do minor repairs such as carpet cleaning, painting, or whatever other little jobs it might need. The only thing you will need to do is get this agreement in writing so you are protected, and don’t end up losing your security deposit.

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