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Tips to Successfully Negotiate Lower Rent

negotiating rent

Did you know that it is possible to negotiate for a rent reduction in your current place or even when moving to a new house?

The pandemic has left both landlords and tenants unsettled. We’ve seen several landlords drop their rental prices by 20%.

Even with the uncertainty, more people have bought houses in the hopes of securing their future. People are moving to cheaper locations like Ngong, Ruiru, Kitengela and Rongai to find affordable housing.

All these factors have left many vacant houses in different parts of the city. How can you use this to your advantage as a tenant and negotiate for a rent reduction?

Here is how you can be strategic and negotiate for lower rent.

1. Know Your Landlord

tenants speaking to landlord

Is your property managed directly by the landlord or a large company? It is much easier to negotiate for a rent reduction if the landlord owns one or a few rental properties in his name as opposed to the big firm. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ask.

Additionally, it would help if you took the time to know more about your landlord by forming a friendship if possible. As time goes by, you will be able to open up about your financial situation and explain to the landlord your financial position.

2. Contact the Landlord on Phone

Face to face interaction is way more personal than sending an email, to begin with. You get to assess your landlord’s reaction firsthand while asking for a rent decrease.

Think about it, if someone you didn’t know sent you an impersonal email talking about finances, how serious would you take them?

Most times, having important conversations require giving them a human touch to it to make it more personal. Pick up your phone and speak to your landlord.

Once they agree, you can always follow up with an email to get everything on paper and make it official.

And remember, being upfront and honest about why you’re asking for a decrease in rent will go a long way.

3. Sell Yourself as a Great Tenant

Have you been paying your rent on time each month? Have you stayed in your current house for a long duration? Are you a peaceful neighbour and don’t cause any trouble or noise to other tenants?

Having a good track record will make the landlord trust you. State your case and ensure you have your rent records with you.

4. Analyze Your Financial Situation

list of monthly expenses

A landlord has invested money to provide a place to stay. At the end of the day, they too have rights that need to be respected. He also could be servicing a loan and depends on the rental income to offset the loan.

Therefore, you need to be realistic when negotiating on how you’ll pay your rent. Sometimes, you might not necessarily want a rent reduction. You could be requesting an extension to pay later.

For instance, if you got a pay cut or lost your job, explain to your landlord your situation and devise a plan on how you want to proceed in terms of paying rent. Both of you can come up with a plan to benefit both parties.

5. Negotiate When Moving to a New House

tenants negotiating with landlord for lower rent

Not many people know this but you can negotiate how much rent you will pay outside of what the landlord has quoted.

Carry out research and find out what the rental prices are in the surrounding area. Look at the amenities that are offered in the place you want to move to and compare them to similar houses with the same amenities.

When you approach a landlord with such information, you look like you know what you are talking about and increase your chances of getting a lower rate.

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

You’ve invested in your current home and you’re not ready to move out to find a cheaper place. Your best bet would be to ask for a rent reduction.

The worst thing that could happen is the landlord saying no. You miss a lot of great opportunities simply because you were afraid of asking for what you want.

At the end of the day, the landlord is a human being just like you. They too face challenges like everyone else. Approaching them with that in mind will help you have a more relaxed conversation and help you to plead your case.

7. Know What You Want

Before you approach a landlord, you need to come with your facts and know what exactly it is you want – is it a rent reduction, extended time to pay later or negotiate on how to make payments?

Knowing the market rates and doing proper research will put you in a better position when negotiating.

Furthermore, have a backup plan in case the landlord refuses to budge. If moving houses is the next option think through these

  • Can you afford to move to another place?
  • Do you have money for moving expenses?
  • Will moving to another place raise your transport costs?
  • Will you be able to pay rent in the new place consistently?

No landlord wants to be left with vacant houses, so it would be in their best interest to find a way to retain you and the other tenants.

Maureen Mbithe
Content Writer at BuyRentKenya
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