Easy ways to reduce your rent for the long term and keep your landlord happy.
They say rent money is dead money.
It amounts to thousands of dollars every year, yet many of us rarely think to negotiate on the price of rent.
Lowering your rental payments can be a tricky business, but these tips could help you secure a lower rental rate for the longer term all the while keeping your landlord happy.
1. Get organised
Whether you are presenting your initial application or simply paying rent, always ensure you are punctual and reliable. Also, gain your landlord’s trust by providing any documentation they need on time and in full – it will help expedite your application.
2. Keep up appearances
Landlords often like to drive or walk past their properties on a regular basis, so make sure you keep porches and windows clean, the front rooms tidy (in case they feel like peeking in!) and the front gardens trimmed, tidy and weeded. Do not leave any rubbish outside the front door including broken bicycles or ratty couches. To stop the build up of junk mail and messy papers you can put a "no junk mail" sticker on your mail box.
Related: Rent vs. Buy: Best strategy for 2015
3. Treat it like your own
Think of anything you would do to the house if it were your own, and offer to do it for the landlord for free. Maybe you could offer to repaint a room in the house, put up some curtains, fix a window, fix a leaky tap or mend a broken fence. These little gestures won’t go unnoticed, and it may help at the end of your lease when it comes time to renegotiate the rental price.
4. Make use of all spaces
If you have garage space that you don’t use, it may be possible to offer it to the landlord as a storage space in return for a rent reduction. Alternatively, the landlord may be willing to allow it to be used as an extra bedroom for another tenant, or if you live inner city you could rent out the garage space to someone who works nearby – thereby minimising your rental costs.
5. Sort it out yourself
It’s a great hassle for landlords or agents to call in electricians or plumbers if things go wrong. Offer to sort out problems yourself or contact tradesmen on your landlord’s behalf - perhaps you have a handy friend - to stay in their good books and reduce the chance of a rent increase.
6. Meet the neighbours
It’s always good to get on the right side of your neighbours, particularly if they are owners they'll no doubt report back any suspicious activity or general complaints directly back to the owner. Nobody likes loud neighbours, so keep noise levels to a minimum to avoid any complaints and restrain your dogs from barking. You could invite your neighbours over for dinner from time to time or at least say hi and have a chat when you see them, so you can get to know them. Keep any shared or communal areas tidy and don't park inconsiderately to avoid neighbourly disputes.
7. Respond quickly
If your landlord requires maintenance to be done on your property or is seeking an inspection, they will likely need you to be out of your home for a short period of time. Make sure you respond to requests for such maintenance promptly and ensure the property is clean and tidy when you're not there.
8. Pick up rubbish
Always keep your rubbish bins neatly tucked away. Recycle properly and don’t put smelly waste in the bins or around the front door until the day before pick up to avoid complaints. This will help keep the neighbours happy and avoid attracting animals or rodents.
9. Skill swap
If you have a skill, such as hairdressing or accounting, why not offer it out to your landlord in return for a reduction on your rent each month? They may well be happy to knock down the price in return for saving money elsewhere. If you don't have a skill you could ask if they need dog walking, baby sitting, help with grocery shopping, ironing, gardening or require a lift to the city each day.
10. Slash the bills
It’s more than likely that your landlord has always used the same supplier for things like gas and electricity. Offer to use sites such as Moneyhound to research cheaper options and present your landlord with comparison quotes.
Getting your rent lowered doesn’t have to mean packing up and moving to a less expensive area. With a bit of research and a few nifty tips, you can impress your landlord and (hopefully) lower the price of rent or at least keep your current rent rates for a longer term.
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