There’s Room for Negotiation Between Landlords and Tenants

It’s been a decade since the housing bust of 2008, and according to the Pew Research Center, more households in the United States are headed by renters than at any time since 1965. In 2016, 36.6% of households rented their home, compared to 31.6% in 2006. Meanwhile, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, gross rents have continued to rise in many metropolitan areas.

The current rental climate – rising demand along with rising rent costs – may lead some renters to ask how much room there is for negotiation with a landlord. The answer is: More than you might think. A poll by the real estate website Zillow showed that 61 percent of landlords were willing to negotiate with a tenant if competition for a property was slim.

“Negotiating rent may seem like an intimidating process, but it can be worth the effort,” Douglas Pope, co-founder of rental website HotPads, told the Washington Post. Below are some tips from rental and negotiation experts to help landlords and tenants come to a deal that will benefit both parties.

Do the research

Knowledge is power, and knowing the real estate market in a new area can benefit renters. Zillow offers local market reports that can provide an overview of property values in a given area. Another website, Rentometer, shows average and median rents in specific areas. Other landlords in the area may also be able to provide rental rates on comparable properties and information on the frequency of rent hikes.

Open the negotiations

Potential tenants should first ask the landlord if the rental price is open to discussion. Bear in mind that an independent landlord may be more flexible and willing to negotiate than a larger property company, according to Nationwide.com.

Show your strengths

Home seekers should create a “renter’s resume,” says the Washington Post. Highlight your strengths as a tenant – income, stability, cleanliness, and quietness. Landlords who see documentation such as a letter of reference from a former landlord, a credit report, or pay stubs may find a certain potential tenant more attractive.

Think beyond the price of the rent

Landlords know that the overall rental package involves more than just the numbers on the monthly rent check. If the landlord feels that he needs to stay firm on the rent price, there may be room to negotiate elsewhere. Think about upgrading appliances, waiving additional fees, or other amenities, suggests the Huffington Post.

Know what to keep off the table

There are some things that should not be negotiable in a rental agreement, warns Zillow. Landlords must adhere to local, state, and federal laws, as well as occupancy limits and fire codes. Landlords must also follow fair housing laws, and cannot negotiate anything that would be discriminating in nature.

No matter how well the negotiations go, there’s always the chance that a landlord or a tenant may need legal advice. Lusk Law, LLC, represents landlords and property owners as well as tenants. Get the legal advice you need to successfully handle any landlord/tenant conflicts. Contact Lusk Law, LLC, to set up a consultation.

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