The Golden Rule of Negotiating Rent

Moving properties is a stressful experience. From viewing endless unsuitable properties, handling snooty estate agents and keeping an eye on your approaching deadline to move out of your current property, tensions run high. Alongside this, tenants also have the stress of trying to find somewhere they can afford. Knowing how difficult negotiating rent can be, I’ve written a few handy tips based around The Golden Rule of Negotiating Rent, designing to help would-be tenants with their negotiating strategy when moving property.

The Golden Rule of Negotiating Rent

It’s easy to stumble into the mindset of ‘what you see is what you get’, but the Golden Rule of Negotiating Rent is that everything is open for negotiation. Your agent may attempt to state otherwise, but the truth is that if they want you to take the property on, they’ll have to be prepared to negotiate. If this is your starting point, you’re setting yourself up for a strong starting position. If you walk into the room with an open mind and this rule at the forefront of your strategy, you can only make a success of things.

  1. Understand who you’re talking to. Negotiation is always worth a try, but there are some individuals who will be more open to negotiating on rent than others. As a rule, younger agents or independent landlords are more likely to work with you than larger agencies. Having said this, don’t forget the Gold Rule; everything is open for negotiation. When you’re looking at an apartment that’s being managed by a larger company, they’re usually under instruction to dictate the terms and not move from them. You’re usually dealing with an individual who is away from their boss and their office. By working the person, not the terms, you can often gain small concessions as you work towards your intended goal.
  2. Understand your market. One of the most important weapons in your arsenal is knowledge; understand what prices similar properties are renting for. If the person showing you the property is asking more for your property than others in a similar condition and size, it’s a good point to start your negotiations on price. Likewise, try to get a feel for how the rental market is performing. If vacancy rates are high, or properties are suffering lengthy void periods, your potential landlord might be more willing to make a deal to get a new tenant in quickly.
  3. Be honest. I’m a big believer in honesty, despite having worked with negotiating partners who believe in duplicity. If you’re interested in the property, but don’t like the price; say so. Frame the negotiation as a win-win for both of you and you’re far more likely to get a successful outcome than with an aggressive and uncompromising style.
  4. Try to sweeten the deal. You’re much more likely to cut a deal for lower rent if you’re able to offer something in return. Offer to forfeit access to a parking space if you don’t need it, sign a longer agreement, remove the break clause or offer to pay a larger deposit up front. All of these add something to your basic rental income which can help to bring added value to the deal.
  5. Be willing to budge. Another key component of successful negotiation is being flexible. Maybe the landlord isn’t happy adjusting the rent but might consider including part of the bills in the rent instead. Negotiations have to work for both parties, so if you really like the property, be willing to adjust your original terms.
  6. Have other options. Noone respects desperation. It might seem like to most perfect property in the world, so when you walk through the door, you immediately throw all your energy into trying to make a deal. Keep in mind that rental negotiations are never a sure thing, and you’re likely to come across in a more positive was if you genuinely have other options you’re considering

Negotiating on rent might seem stressful, but it doesn’t need to be. I’ve followed these guidelines for many years and have cut successful deals every time. As with any negotiation, it’s about being friendly but firm, knowing your value and helping the other side to maximise theirs. If you can keep your cool, you’ll negotiate a good deal, so the next time you’re taking on a new tenancy, remember The Golden Rule of Negotiating Rent: