Then, if you're like us, you've likely grown accustomed to being politely told “No” that the asking rent is not negotiable. There’s a good reason for this, and it doesn’t mean that you can’t negotiate a better price. Even though landlords may be having a harder time filling vacancies, the amount of interest, and foot traffic for most properties remains high. This means that most landlords won’t entertain an offer or begin negotiating a discounted monthly rent until you’ve proven yourself to be a qualified candidate with serious intentions. Here are seven tips on what to do to ensure you have the best shot at negotiating a better deal.
The first thing a landlord wants to see is that you are a serious and qualified candidate. Why would he/she entertain any offers or begin negotiating prices with you before even knowing if you’d make a good tenant? Requests to discount or negotiate the rent are almost always dismissed unless accompanied by a completed rental application and supporting paperwork. Make sure you have your paperwork (PropertyClub's NYC apartment application checklist) in order before starting to see apartments. This way, you’ll be prepared to act quickly if something catches your eye. If you’re worried about paying application fees before an offer is accepted, ask to submit an offer along with some paperwork showing your employment status and income. This way, you’ll prove to the landlord that you are a serious candidate with a genuine intent to rent the apartment. If an offer is accepted, be prepared to leave a “Good Faith Deposit” with the landlord while your application is being considered and the lease being prepared.
Pay Your Rent Upfront
Offer to pay your rent up-front. If the building isn't rent-stabilized and the land can accept up-front payment, it can usually lead to a decent saving for you. Large landlords might only give you a small 2-3% discount for paying up-front, but smaller landlords may offer a more considerable discount as high as 5 or even 10% off the yearly rent.
Rent a condo
If you rent in a condo, you'll likely be renting directly from an individual unit owner, and you'll have more negotiating power. Remember that condos usually come with higher move-in, application, and brokerage fees, so the price is generally lower on a per month basis to take into account those costs.
Be reasonable/Aim small
There are some landlords out there that do not wish to budge on their asking price at all. To them, an offer that is $100 less than they want may not even be good enough to be considered. Or in the case of some larger landlords, the on-site agent or manager will be unable to approve such an offer. To get around this, request a small discount, say $50. It will be much harder for a landlord to pass up on a deal if you’re so close to their asking price, and you’ll still be saving some money.
Rent in a new development
New developments have hundreds of units to fill, and having them sit on the market means lost revenue for the landlord. This makes them prime targets for concessions. One or even two months of free rent are not uncommon when renting in a new development.
If the landlord doesn’t want to offer you a lower rent, ask for a concession (like a free month of rent). If that’s off the table, ask for a gym membership. You can also offer a term that is advantageous to the landlord, such as a 2-year lease or a lease ending in summer. Just beware that if your lease ends in summer, you’ll likely end up paying more for your next place. You can also offer to move in immediately as the landlord probably doesn’t want the apartment sitting vacant.
Rent during winter/low season
If you’re interested in the best selection available as well as pleasant apartment viewing weather, late spring and early summer are the best times for apartment hunting. But if what you want is the best possible price, winter is the season to score the best apartment deals in NYC. The market is slow, and inventory lingers, meaning that concessions and offers abound. Winter is when you'll find the best selection of no-fee apartments as well as free rent concessions.