Landlord If you’re experiencing financial hardship because of coronavirus, you may need to ask your property manager to reduce or defer rent. You’re perfectly within your rights to ask your property manager for a rent reduction if you need it.
Most people don’t request a rent reduction because they don’t think they can. But with the right approach and the right information, it’s certainly a feasible way to lower your monthly spending. Will your landlord agree to your terms? Maybe, maybe not. But you have nothing to lose by asking.
To help you negotiate for a lower rent price, we have a rent reduction letter template and additional information to consider when making this request.
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Reasons to ask for a rent reduction
Aside from wanting to cut down on your cost of living, there are a few situations that will cause you to ask for a rent decrease.
1. Financial trouble
You may have fallen into financial hardship that you couldn’t have planned for. Whether this is losing your job due to the coronavirus outbreak or having unexpected medical bills from an accident, a decrease in rent could give you some relief. If this is the case, be sure to highlight that as responsible as you are, this situation could not have been planned for.
2. Competing properties have lower prices
The primary reason rentals go up in price is to keep up with the housing market. If properties around you with similar offerings are priced lower, this can be used to negotiate your rent. Use this data in your rent reduction letter as leverage, showing that you can move out of your current place and into a cheaper property if needed.
3. Lacking amenities
Are you spending additional money on amenities that your apartment doesn’t offer? The cost of visiting the laundry mat or paying for a gym can add up. If your current apartment complex doesn’t have the amenities that comparably priced apartments in your area do, bring this to the attention of your property manager. The apartment manager might consider adding these amenities or reducing your rent price.
How much of a reduction should you ask for?
The amount of decrease you ask for will make or break your case. Be sure you’re asking for a realistic reduction based on the going rate in your neighborhood (both in your complex and others in the area).
It will be helpful to ask your friends who live in your area what they’re paying and if they’ve successfully been able to negotiate their rent. Don’t be afraid to canvas some neighbors to get an idea of what they are paying — it’s not impolite. In fact, if they are paying too much, they’ll be happy to know so that they can ask for a rent reduction themselves. This is your key piece of the negotiation and what will ultimately win over your property manager.
When to ask for a rent reduction
A rent reduction can be requested at any time, but it will be considered most seriously when you are renewing your lease.
If you’ve fallen under an unexpected financial hardship, as many have with the spread of coronavirus, you may want to ask for a rent reduction as soon as possible. If this is the case, be sure to ask before your rent for the next month is due. Showing that you are planning ahead for the next month will make you appear more reliable and display you’re working to fix your situation.
Another option is to ask for a temporary rent reduction. If your work has halted during the quarantines you may need a little rent relief during this time. Ask your property manager if they would be willing to reduce your rent for these couple of months until you can get back on your feet again.
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Additional leverage for your case
In addition to comparing rental prices in the area and pointing out lacking amenities, there are a few items that can be used to make a solid case for rent reduction.
You’ve always paid rent on time
If you have a good track record of paying rent on time, your property manager will be more willing to hear your case. If you haven’t made rent on time, the chances of them wanting you to stay will be slim.
The apartment is in good condition
Maintaining the property and keeping it in good condition will make all the difference. This makes less work for the property manager when you move out. Mention that you’ve kept the apartment in good condition and offer to take photos or have a walk-through to prove it.
You haven’t had any complaints from neighbors
Being a good neighbor can go a long way. If your apartment manager hasn’t had to remedy any situations with you and your neighbors in the past, they will likely want to keep you in the property.
Empty apartments will cost the property owner
When an apartment is vacant, the owner is losing money. Remind them of this cost and the additional time and fees that finding a new tenant will entail. If the property was on the market for a while before you applied, be sure to mention this.
A longer lease term could help
Negotiating a rent decrease is all about give and take. Be sure to mention what you are willing to give in return for this rent relief. Offer to sign onto a longer lease term to ensure they will be paid rent consistently for a longer period of time. You can also offer to pay for the first few months upfront, if that fits into your budget.
Rent reduction letter
Whether you are facing financial hardship in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic or just came on hard times, here’s a sample letter to ask your property manager to lower rent. Simply fill in your specific information and personalize it based on your situation. Then mail or email this letter to your property manager. Be sure to keep a version on file for yourself.