How Renters Attempt to Negotiate Lease Changes

Landlords in America often face difficult conversations with their applicants and existing renters. Many renters believe that everything is negotiable, including the lease agreement that you lay out in front of them after they have passed the tenant screening process.

  • Wednesday, July 5, 2017

  General   Tenant Screening   

Landlords in America often face difficult conversations with their applicants and existing renters. Many renters believe that everything is negotiable, including the lease agreement that you lay out in front of them after they have passed the tenant screening process. And it is negotiable – unless you specifically tell them that you won’t budget on the provisions in the lease. Here are some ways that a renter may attempt to negotiate the provisions of your lease agreement. You should prepare yourself to be faced with questions and attempts to negotiate the provisions in the lease agreement. As a landlord, you should also be prepared in how you intend to answer their questions – are you willing to bend? That is entirely up to you.

Negotiating Your Rent

With rent being a big problem for some people living in major cities, it's worth every effort to negotiate what you pay. All states give you this right. However, keep in mind negotiating works better with individual landlords rather than large complexes. If you’re a Small American Landlord building a rental property portfolio on your own, you should expect renters to negotiate the rent with you.

Renters will often negotiate creatively to bring a more affordable rent for themselves. Those living in New York City, for instance, frequently must negotiate with skill to pare down rising rent costs. As The New York Times points out, you may have to do things like agree to stay longer, or waive certain apartment perks (like parking).

Presenting local rent comparisons to your landlord also helps considerably since it shows you could move to a cheaper place not far away. Potential renters may show you comparable rent prices from online services such as RentoMeter.

Negotiating the Length of Your Lease

Renters may negotiate a longer lease than shorter term since it benefits both parties in the long run. Families may also feel more secure knowing that they have signed a multi-year lease agreement on a home. As Zillow points out, you have to respect your landlord's own rights. Negotiating always means balancing things so you both benefit from the agreement. Whatever length you agree to on your lease, be sure to get it in writing so you never have disputes.

Negotiating on Having Pets

Most rental units refuse pets, though once your lease is up, a renter may try to negotiate for a re-signign. Often, the best way to approach this is to offer a security deposit or extra fee to pay for any potential damages. In NYC, a "three-month law" exists which uses this legal language after three months pass:

"Any no-companion animal clause in a lease is considered waived and unenforceable."

Negotiating All Maintenance

Be sure to get it in writing who takes care of general maintenance in your rental unit. It's possible you may want to do some things (like yard work) yourself for a slight rent discount. The same goes with painting if your unit needs a new paint job. You may have to negotiate on the color you want, yet it's possible if you don't choose an outrageous color.

What Happens if You Break the Lease Early?

When this happens, you may have to go into negotiation mode again. To avoid a likely fee for breaking the lease, perhaps you can offer to move in another tenant you know. This way, the landlord won't lose money and can keep their own cash flow going without a rent interruption.


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