Rent is one of the biggest expenses for Canadians right now. With housing prices skyrocketing, including the price of rent, it’s no wonder that tenants are looking for ways to save money any way they can.
Fortunately, you don't need to sacrifice quality accommodation to get a more affordable rental rate - you can negotiate rent with your landlord and potentially save hundreds of dollars throughout your leasing timeframe.
If you're looking to rent a new place or stay in an existing lease, you'd be surprised to learn that many landlords may be willing to negotiate your rent to keep you as a tenant. By researching the local market, knowing your rights, preparing documentation, and understanding what is negotiable and non-negotiable, you'll have the upper hand when asking for a rent reduction.
Let's look at the strategies in further detail so that you can start saving more of your hard-earned money.
Understanding the Rental Market
The most crucial factor to consider when negotiating rent is the market in your area. Location plays a major role in determining prices, as some areas are more desirable and therefore have higher demand than others. For example, if you're looking to rent in a busy city, you can expect it to be more expensive than renting in the rural countryside.
It pays to research the local rental market, so that you know what kind of prices landlords are expecting. You can compare rental prices using websites like Rentometer, which allows you to use a rental calculator to view the average market rates within your area. Once you understand what landlords are charging, it'll be easier to find a reasonable number to negotiate.
Knowing Your Rights
Before you start negotiating, know your rights as a tenant. Depending on where you live in Canada, there may be regulations and laws that limit the amount a landlord can charge for a property and how much they can raise the rent each year. Familiarize yourself with these laws, so that you can make sure your landlord is following them.
If you notice that your landlord increased the rent more than your province or territory's maximum allowable rate, you can discuss it with them and request an adjustment to a legal amount. You should never feel intimidated to speak out about unfair rent increases because it's your right to protect yourself from being overcharged.
In addition to gathering all rent price comparables in the area, there are a few more documents you should get. First, try to get a copy of your rental agreement. It contains the details you and your landlord agreed upon when signing the contract
This may include how often you pay rent, additional charges that may apply, and how much notice you must give before terminating the lease. Having this information will make it easier for both parties to refer back to if needed.
You can also collect all of your rental payments and any related documents that demonstrate your timely payment history. If you can prove that you are consistently paying the rent on time, it can be used as leverage in negotiations with your landlord that you're a responsible tenant who would be a better option than finding a new renter.
Finally, try to get references from previous landlords or employers who can speak for your reliability. You can use them to show that you have a history of being a responsible tenant and are worthy of consideration for a more reasonable rent price. You may even want to provide a copy of your credit report, as it can give your landlord an overview of your current financial situation.
Negotiate with Your Landlord
You may or may not be successful with your rent negotiations, but you won't know until you try. When it's time to talk with your landlord, make sure you are prepared and have all of the documents mentioned previously on hand.
If you’re ready to negotiate a lower rent payment, here’s what to do:
1. Emphasize your value as a tenant
Remind your landlord of your payment history, the fact that you maintain the property well, and any other positive qualities.
2. Explain why you need a lower rent
Explain to your landlord that due to current financial hardships or changing circumstances in your life, you cannot afford the same rent rate. Being honest about your financial situation is always better than paying your rent late or missing the payments altogether.
3. Offer to sign a longer lease agreement
Sometimes, a landlord may be willing to reduce your rent payment if you commit to a longer lease. Plus, a longer-term lease may offer more stability and protection for both you and your landlord.
4. Negotiate additional amenities
If your landlord or property manager isn't willing to budge on the rent rate, you can try negotiating additional amenities such as free laundry, cable and internet for the duration of your lease.
5. Offer to pay more rent upfront
If your budget allows for it, offer to pay a larger portion of the yearly rent upfront in exchange for a lower monthly rate. This could help your landlord with cash flow while providing some relief for you.
6. Discuss market trends
You've already done the research, so now is your time to put it to use. Explain the market trends in your area and how they may influence rent prices. This could help convince your landlord to lower your rent rate.
After following these steps, you should be on your way to successful rent negotiations. Remember, if negotiations don’t go as planned, don’t be afraid to walk away. You always have the option of looking for more affordable alternatives or negotiating with other landlords in the area.
Alternatives to Rent Reduction
If a rent reduction isn't an option, you can explore other ways to save money on living expenses. It's often easier to save money when you have all your expenses laid out in front of you and can make adjustments accordingly.
Here are some quick tips to get you started:
Look for all-inclusive rent plans that bundle in amenities and utilities.
Look into cheaper transportation alternatives like walking, biking or public transit.
Consider a roommate or subletting options to split the cost of rent and other expenses.
Ask your landlord to upgrade to more energy-efficient appliances or shop around for the best rates on gas, electricity, and other services.
When all else fails, you can look into government programs that provide
Can't Negotiate Your Rent? Consider iCash!
Although you should always try to negotiate rent with your landlord, there are times when it's simply not possible. If you're in a difficult situation and need help paying rent, an instant online loan from iCash is a simple solution. You can get funded via e-Transfer in minutes, regardless of what your credit looks like, so you don't have to worry about not making your next rent payment. When negotiation isn't an option, iCash is here to get you back on your feet.