For many renters, pandemic time is quite critical: thousands of people lost their jobs, and those who were lucky enough not to be laid off, are still concerned about their economic security. Either way, if you want to stay in your flat long-term, but your financial situation makes it difficult due to Covid 19 events, you don’t have to start looking for new apartment and moving companies right away. You can try to negotiate your rent costs with your landlord first.
Know your rights
If you and your landlord can’t agree on a renewal lease during a pandemic, the landlord has no support from the court until they open. If the owner plans on increasing your rent price or chooses not to renew, you need to be notified in advance. The longer you are a tenant, the more notice you must be given, which also helps you buy some time.
Use a more convenient communication method with your landlord
If your apartment is owned by a large company that rents dozens or hundreds of other flats, email communication might be the most convenient method to start the talk about negotiating the prices. This way you know that the information is passed along to the right person and everything is in writing. You can also schedule a phone call or a FaceTime through email to discuss the leasing agreement.
Some landlords do prefer face-to-face communication, while others over the phone. However, this doesn’t mean that doing it in any other way that your landlord prefers puts you at a disadvantage. Choose the one that makes you most comfortable with to negotiate effectively.
It’s essential to remember that your landlord or an apartment manager may also be worried about the economic effects of the pandemic. This mutual concern creates the opportunity for both of you to be flexible and willing to adapt to the new world.
Be polite in addressing your contract renewal and negotiating rent freeze, reduction, or against the raise. Once you state that you’d like to renew at the same price or lower given the current financial situation during the pandemic, see how the landlord reacts and responds.
Your negotiation should start by providing your best case scenario and proceed from there. Be honest about your situation and approach them in a way that they can see you are not looking to benefit off the back of your landlord.
Have all your documents on hand to make a case
Just like in a job interview, you need to convince the owner you’re a responsible and trustworthy tenant worthy of a reduced-price rental agreement during these difficult times. Having all the information in front of you will make you look prepared and responsible. Make sure you have your credit score, past rental history, or other significant financial information that may come in handy during the negotiations.
Explain why you are asking for a lowered rental price
Be ready to provide your financial situation and several reasons why you are unable to move forward with your current rental agreement. If you’ve been furloughed or laid off from work, tell the landlord. They might not ask for any paperwork to prove your point, but it’s necessary to communicate clearly about your job situation.
Do the price research of similar buildings and amenities
Knowing how other apartment buildings are adapting to the current economic climate will come in handy when negotiating with your landlord. Talking with a large company that rents thousands of flats can be intimidating, so arm yourself with as much information as you can get your hands on. Search the average rent price in your neighborhood or the city at large and ask the landlord to come closer to that number.
Consider switching to a month-to-month payment
As the financial landscape stays uncertain for the time being, some tenants are asking landlords to consider replacing the lease with a month-to-month agreement. However, this does not necessarily mean a lower rent price, but it surely gives you, as a tenant, more flexibility.
Some landlords may offer a payment plan
If you can’t pay for one or two months’ rent and you can’t agree on lowering the price with the landlord, offer a payment plan to make up for missing payments in the upcoming few months. Some landlords may even take that amount that you can’t pay from the initial security deposit. While the latter is surely is not ideal for you, this may provide some relief to your financial situation.
Ask to let you out of the lease altogether in case of disagreement
If you and your landlord can’t agree on new terms or lease, ask them to let you out of lease altogether. Currently, the demand for apartments is low, but, surprisingly, the supply is quite high. Therefore, you might find an affordable apartment with a better lease agreement than your previous owner gives you.
If every attempt to renegotiate the rent cost fails, and you have to move to another apartment, you can always use the most reliable moving company to help you with the move.