How to save money on your rent by following these simple tips and guidelines; including a sample letter you can send to your landlord.
Begin with some research
Obviously if you haven't yet moved into an apartment or rental home already, your in a better position than if you already renting. However, in either case, the fist step is to do some research. The best research you can do is with your prospective or current neighbors-Ask them what they are paying and if that is not possible check out Craigslist or sites like MYNewPLace.com that have extensive listings of apartments and homes for rent.
Act Like a Business
Do what companies do when they experience hard times-talk to your landlord about reducing your rent. Just like a business, your rent is probably one of your highest monthly expenses. When a company encounters a downturn in business, they will normally approach their landlord about reducing their rent. Armed with your research you should do the same thing. If your landlord is a large company or someone you can't talk to directly, then send them a letter. See the sample letter below from an article in the Wall Street Journal.
Consider Renting a House
Because of the miserable state of the housing market there are many more homes for rent now than ever before. Many investors have snapped up bargain homes, only to find they can't resell them. Every market is different, but look around at the rental price of homes in your area and if you find a steal, try to get as long a lease as possible.
If you are renting a new place, find out how long the property has been vacant. The longer it has been vacant, the greater leverage you will have in negotiating a price lower than is advertised. No matter what, always ask for a lower price than advertised, the worst that can happen is they say no. You could counter with a reduced or no security deposit.
Below is a sample letter you can send to your landlord if you are already renting. It is reproduced from an article titled How to Reduce Your Rent from the WSJ.
To Whom It May Concern:
We're writing in regards to the renewal of our lease at [insert your address here].
On [date you moved in], we [names of tenants] moved into a unit in the aforementioned property. Since then, property values in Manhattan [replace with your city or neighborhood] have declined by 5.6% for two-bedrooms units, much more steeply than the nationwide drop of 0.4%. Further, apartment vacancies overall rose to 6.6% in the quarter from 5.7% a year earlier. [I used footnotes here to cite the WSJ story. I suggest also putting in data about your local market from local papers, etc..] Economists and real estate experts predict the decline to continue through 2009-2010.
In our building, that has meant facing an empty unit for several months. Units similar to ours have been rented in recent months to tenants with credit scores and incomes lower than ours at even cheaper rates than what we've paid. A rent hike seems inconsistent with recent market conditions and unfair to paying tenants like us with flawless records.
We've confirmed that a unit nearly identical to ours is renting at $2,350 a month for a one-year lease. We ask that our lease, at the least, should match that. This would satisfy your interest in keeping our unit occupied and our interest in staying in our apartment at a reasonable rate. Ideally, a discount would be lowering our rent to $2,100 a month for a one-year lease. [At first, I thought this was too bold, but I'm glad I started low.]
As one property manager recently told The Wall Street Journal: "If they're good payers, we will give them a discount." Here we are, good payers, asking for a reasonable discount. The $50 off our current rate [original manager] and Ms. Pilon spoke about is inconsistent with other rates in our building and current market activity and projections.
We look forward to continuing the conversation and hearing from you shortly.
[Names and contact information of tenants here]
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