5 Tips to Negotiate Rent Increases With Your Landlord

Real Estate - March 23, 2022
Alarmed and worried woman looking at a laptop computer screen

A Las Vegas tenant got hit with a costly rent spike

A renter in Las Vegas woke up one day to quite an unfriendly notice—his rent would increase by a laughable amount: over six thousand dollars. This must be a joke, right?

When he reached out to the landlord to ask for some grace, the landlord told him that he could make the rent price whatever he wanted, and no one was forcing the renter to live there.

Like thousands of other Nevada residents, the problem this renter faced is there is low inventory, steep prices, and no legal limits on application fees. So, he quickly fell behind on rent, and the landlord ordered an eviction notice.

While this tenant was fortunate enough to receive help from someone who heard about his story, millions of other Americans are facing drastic rent increases.

Rent increases sweep across America

Extreme rent hikes are occurring all across the nation—averaging 40% in some cities.

On top of that, there is less inventory available for rent or sale now than any time in the past 30 years. Why? Blame it on supply shortages, causing spiking rents, gas prices, inflation, and making homeownership less attainable.

What are your tenant rights in this scenario? Read below to learn what you need to do if you receive word that your rent will increase by an unreasonable amount.

5 tips for tenants facing an excessive rent increase

As a tenant, you have the right to ask to work with your landlord on rent prices. While it’s ultimately up to them what the rent is, you can do your due diligence in negotiation. Here are 5 tips to prepare you:

1. Research

Let’s start with a question: is the rent increase fair? Are other landlords in the area raising rent, and if so, by how much?

To answer this question, look up apartments in your area and compare the current rent price to its previous rent prices. Is the percent of increase similar to what you’re facing?

If your landlord is asking for much more than market value, you have a better opportunity to give them evidence that this increase may be excessive. Make sure you document your research to present your case to your landlord.

2. Bring your research to your landlord

Be prepared to bring facts and examples to the table whenever you start any negotiation. In a calm and respectful manner, spotlight the data showing this increase is above market value.

3. Use negotiation skills

If you have a healthy tenant history, meaning you pay bills on time, don’t cause disruption, and keep your place in solid condition, make sure you bring this up to your landlord. Make it clear that you’re a tenant worth keeping.

Since finding a new tenant might be a headache, they’ll be much more likely to work with a current, desirable tenant.

Again, remain courteous and straightforward as you explain your case, you’ll have a much greater chance of getting a positive response.

4. Write a hardship letter

Another route you can take is writing a hardship letter, which outlines your current financial situation and the burden that a rent increase will put on you.

Highlight in the letter that you’re a good tenant, have a strong renter history, and are worth keeping.

A letter can benefit you by allowing you to outline every piece of your argument, giving them time to think about it, and it also creates a tangible paper trail of the conversation.

5. Discuss a compromise

It can be incredibly beneficial to offer the landlord something they find valuable, in exchange for your rent staying the same price.

For example, you can offer to sign a new, longer-term lease. This can help them out by ensuring they’ll have a good tenant for a longer period, which gives them reliability and peace of mind.

Whatever works for you and your financial situation, consider bringing something that would benefit them, and you’ll have a greater chance of resolving your landlord/tenant issues.

Navigate rent spikes with the help of a lawyer

While Americans face inflation, rises in rent are prominent. Get dedicated help from a tenants’ rights lawyer to navigate any tenant-related legal issues you face during these nationwide circumstances.

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