min read
· Posted on
April 4, 2024

Can I negotiate my rent?

Did you know you can actually negotiate your rent with your landlord? Here's how to

What's the key learning?

  • Start by researching rental prices of comparable properties
  • Offer incentives to your landlord that might make them more inclined to reduce your rent.
  • Approach the conversation with politeness and professionalism.

Rent is a hot topic pretty much all the time in Australia, and with rental prices having risen 8.3% across 2023, that honestly makes sense.

In fact, according to CoreLogic, the average household now needs to spend 31% of its income to pay the median rent, which is up from 26% in March 2020.

These price jumps are more than enough to totally throw off someone's budget.

Me to every sitcom that made renting life look easy and fun

Ergh! But why is rent even so high?

In a nutshell, rent prices have shot up because of issues on both the supply and demand side of the market. 

Now, there’s not a lot we can do about these pesky supply and demand issues. 

But we can do certain things that are in our control to deal with these ballooning rental prices - and one underrated way is by negotiating down your rent.

Wait…I can negotiate my current rent?

Hell yes! You totally have the right to ask your landlord for a better deal. While there’s no guarantee, there are a few steps that you can take to improve your chances of a discount (or at least, not a raise).

  1. Do your research

If you’re asking for cheaper rent, you’ll need to put a strong case forward to the landlord.

And if you’re groaning at the idea of sitting behind a laptop to research, think of the reward at the end of the journey. Dolla dolla bills in your pocket!

Start by comparing the property to others in the area with similar features and pull together these comparable properties as evidence.

Look at factors like the number of bedrooms, land size, garage, and the age and quality of fittings within the property, 

For example, let’s say you’re looking to rent a two-bedroom apartment with no garage for $570 a week, and there’s a similar apartment in the same suburb for $540 but with a garage. 

You can use the no garage to justify a rent reduction.

And if you’ve noticed that the landlord’s property has been on the rental market for a while now, that can give you more negotiating power.

  1. Remind your landlord that you’re their dream tenant

So you’ve done your research and found some comparable properties, but you know you might need a bit more oomph to get your landlord onboard with lowering the rent.

There are some additional incentives you can put in front of them to sweeten the deal.

Here are a few of the most popular options that can really get a landlord’s juices flowing:

  • Offering a longer lease than what the landlord’s asking for (eg. 18 months instead of 12 months) 
  • Offering to pay 3 months rent upfront (cash is king baby!)
  • Offering a quid pro quo if you’ve got the skills (ie improve the garden if you’re a green thumb)

If you’re up for a lease renewal when you’re negotiating, that can be a great time to offer these options to your landlord.

And don’t forget to remind them of your rental history, payment history and the conditions you’ve kept the property in.

You want them to feel like they’d much rather keep you at a slightly lower price than go through the hassle of finding someone new who might not be as great of a tenant.

  1. Approach the conversation professionally

Negotiating your rent can be really nerve-wracking. The last thing you want is to end up souring your relationship with your landlord.

That’s why it’s so important to approach the conversation politely and professionally.

Schedule a conversation with either the property manager or landlord, depending on who you usually deal with, and have an open and honest chat.

Let them know how much of a rental discount you’re hoping for and the research you’ve got to justify that number.

Offer your incentives to hopefully lock in the deal.

But if it’s looking like the landlord’s still not ready to bite the bullet, you can subtly remind them of the costs of finding a new tenant.

As an example, here’s what those costs could look like for a landlord that charges $400 a week in rent:

  • No rental income during the campaign period (4 weeks of rent x $400) = $1,600
  • Paying an agent to find a tenant (1-2 weeks rent) = $400-$800
  • Advertising fees on Domain and RealEstate = ~$300

Added up, that could cost the landlord $2,500, and a major headache! Do they REALLY want to go through all that?

You want the landlord to feel like it would be much easier to give you a rent discount than go through any other hassle.

And with any luck, you’ll be strutting out of that conversation knowing you’re saving money on your rent every week!

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