Bargain for a better rental deal

Tough economic conditions are putting tenants in a stronger position to approach their landlords for better rentals or perks when the time comes to renew their lease.

So says Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group, who notes that landlords don't want to lose good tenants now, and that declining interest rates may make it possible for them to lower rents.

"But even if they won't agree to that, it's worth asking if your landlord is willing to maintain your rent at the current level and forego an increase."

Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, he says, though, that before opening negotiations you should arm yourself with relevant information about the current rental levels in your area. And if you rent in an apartment block, it may be useful to find out what the vacancy rate in the block is. Low occupancy rates may encourage the landlord to make a deal.

"And don't limit discussions to hard cash. Even if the landlord is unable to grant rent relief, you may be able to negotiate better perks. For instance, you might be able to secure an upgrade from an open-air parking bay to a garage, at no extra charge. Your car will then be better protected and you may be able to negotiate a lower premium on car insurance."

Everitt says tenants who rent from individual landlords should also consider bartering services in return for favourable lease terms. "If your current contract includes a gardening service, for instance, you could offer to keep the garden shipshape in return for a discount equal to the monthly cost of the service.

"It is also useful to remember that you may be able to negotiate very attractive terms if you show good faith by making it clear that you are interested in a long lease, say for 24 months."


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