The Home Category The Home: family money matters

How to negotiate rent

Wondering how to negotiate rent? To successfully negotiate, you must have what the other party wants.

Every landlord wants good tenants.

It is even more accurate to say that every landlord wants to make money. Good tenants are just the surest way to make money in the rental business.

To successfully negotiate rent, you must be -- and convince your landlord or prospective landlord that your are -- an ideal tenant.

An ideal tenant:

1. Pays the rent. On time. Always.


Stays forever (or at least a long while). Losing a good tenant costs the landlord a lot.


Doesn't cause any problems. Good tenants don't annoy the neighbours or break the law.


Improves the property. A good tenant is clean and cares for the property as if it were his own.


Doesn't make the landlord sweat the small stuff. A good tenant takes care of minor problems himself.

Here's how to negotiate rent.

Offer to prepay several months or even a year. Ask for a free month's rent in return for prepaying a year's rent, or ask for several weeks' free for making two semi- annual rent payments. Many landlords would find this an attractive offer, and would be willing to give you a few weeks free even if not a full month. Obviously, you want to have a good credit history, and good prior rent payment history. If this is the case, you want to stress that in your negotiations. Statements such as: "I have paid my rent on time every single months for the past four years," or "I am never late with a payment," are music to a landlord's ears. If you don't have enough cash in advance, ask that a clause be added to the contract giving you a two per cent discount for paying the monthly rent early.

Ask for a reduction in monthly rent for a longer lease if you are planning to stay for more than a year. Ask for £32 less per month for a two year contract (be prepared for the landlord to counter by adding an additional deposit to serve as a contract termination fee should you not stay the full two years). A two year lease at a lower rate not only saves you money immediately but also protects you from a rent increase after the first year. If you are an excellent tenant throughout the two years, you will be in a good position to negotiate a new contract at the same -- or lower --rent.

Emphasise whatever characteristics you have that indicate you will be a hassle-free tenant when negotiating your first lease. If true, be sure to tell the landlord that you are "quiet" and an "immaculate house keeper."

Paint, plant, and make other improvements to the property. You will generally need the owner's permission. Drop the landlord a note stating what you want to do. If you are painting, state the colour (nothing out of the ordinary) and make of paint (medium to high grade). Ask for a rent credit from the next month's rent to cover the materials and labour of the improvements.

Mention you are handy and can take care of small repairs when negotiating your first year's rent. Promise to take care of minor stuff. Keep track of the small repairs that you handle. Mention these repairs when negotiating the next year's rent.


Don't ask for a direct rent reduction for little things (Don't say, "I repaired the handle on the screen door, can I have £3.7 off next month's rent?") That would just annoy the landlord and would be almost as much bother as having to repair it himself.