Imagine this: You come home excited to check the mail––and BAM!— you find a letter from your landlord. UGH. Who wants mail from their landlord? No one, but your lease is up for renewal in a couple months and your worst fears have been confirmed: Rent hike!
First, don’t panic. Oftentimes landlords send those notices early, especially if they want you to renew your lease early. They might offer you a slight discount for committing to another year.
Whatever you do, don’t wait to respond because you have your work cut out for you. You’ll receive another notice a few weeks later.
Know the market. Research how much other landlords are charging their tenants for comparable places in the same neighbourhood. Make sure the size and quality of the home–kitchen appliances, number of bathrooms, etc.–are similar to each other. It’s even better to do a pricing breakdown per square foot.
When you do the comparative analysis, don’t stress about the homes being exactly the same. But the more similar your examples are, the more convincing your argument will be when you talk to your landlord.
Check websites like www.rentometer.com, www.apartments.com, www.rent.com and Craig’s List for possible prices. And use a site that specialises in rentals in the area where you want to move, if possible.
It’s also smart to find out how much your landlord is charging his other tenants and see whether s/he plans to raise their rent as well.
Once you’ve finished your research, write a letter. Include all your research and make sure your landlord knows you have a backup plan (moving elsewhere). It will give you more leverage in negotiations.
It’s best to make an offer that is reasonable, but on the lowest price point possible so you can work your way up by increments if you have to. You might tell the landlord you will give him/her what you would have to pay towards moving to the rent increase.
You can also include other goodies that might interest your landlord, especially if it won’t cost you much, like agreeing to take care of the yard, for example.