7 Effective Strategies for Tenants to Negotiate Cheaper Rent

Did you know that negotiating for lower rent is as simple as asking your landlord? Here’s how to negotiate in your current house or moving to a new place.

rent negotiation

In a world where rental prices seem to keep rising, imagine the relief of paying less for the roof over your head. What if we told you that it’s not only possible but also within your reach? Whether you’re a current tenant seeking to reduce your rent or a prospective renter looking to secure a new home at a lower price, negotiating for a rent reduction can be a game-changer.

Is Rent Negotiable in Kenya?

Yes, rent is negotiable in Kenya. While rental prices in Kenya are often advertised at a fixed rate, there is usually room for negotiation between landlords and tenants. The negotiation process can vary depending on several factors. Some of the factors include, location, demand for housing, and the specific circumstances of the tenant.

In recent years, the rental market in Kenya has experienced fluctuations, especially during economic downturns or periods of high vacancy rates. These conditions may create opportunities for tenants to negotiate lower rents or favorable rental terms.

In this article, we will delve into the art of negotiating cheaper rent, providing you with practical tips and expert advice to help you navigate the process successfully. From establishing trust with your landlord to presenting a strong case for a lower rent, we’ll guide you through the steps that can potentially save you money and provide greater financial stability.

Benefits of Negotiating Cheaper Rent

Negotiating for a lower rent can bring a multitude of benefits that extend beyond immediate financial relief. By advocating for yourself and engaging in a respectful dialogue with your landlord, you can potentially secure a more affordable living arrangement. Here are some key advantages of negotiating cheaper rent:

  1. Financial Relief: One of the most obvious benefits is the immediate impact on your finances. A reduced rent means more money in your pocket each month, providing a valuable opportunity to allocate funds towards other essential expenses, savings, or long-term goals. It can alleviate financial stress and improve your overall financial well-being.
  2. Enhanced Budgeting and Savings: Lowering your rent enables you to create a more realistic and manageable budget. With reduced housing costs, you can allocate funds to savings, investments, or paying off debts. It empowers you to build an emergency fund, invest in your future, or achieve other financial milestones.
  3. Improved Quality of Life: Lowering your rent can enhance your overall quality of life. With a reduced financial burden, you may have the freedom to pursue other enriching experiences or hobbies, engage in personal development, or take part in activities that contribute to your well-being. Negotiating cheaper rent can provide a sense of relief and contribute to a higher level of happiness and contentment.
  4. Enhanced Negotiation Skills: Engaging in a rent negotiation process provides an opportunity to develop and refine valuable negotiation skills. As you advocate for yourself, present your case, and collaborate with your landlord, you cultivate effective communication, assertiveness, and problem-solving abilities. These skills can be applied in various areas of life and prove beneficial in future negotiations or interactions.
  5. Positive Landlord Relationship: While negotiations may involve differing interests, approaching the process respectfully and professionally can foster a positive relationship with your landlord. By demonstrating your commitment, transparency, and understanding of their concerns, you have the potential to build trust and strengthen the landlord-tenant relationship. This positive rapport can lead to a more cooperative and mutually beneficial living arrangement.

How to Negotiate Cheaper Rent

1. Be Open About Your Intentions

Renters are often faced with the dilemma of either paying higher rent or finding a new place to live. The former is preferable, but not for landlords who want to maximize their profit.

If you have your eye on a particular property and know that there are other renters interested in it, be open about your intentions when negotiating with the landlord.

Doing so will allow you to get close to what you want without scaring off the competition.

2. Have Proof of Previous Payments

The same way you need the landlord is the same way they need you.

With housing prices constantly changing, landlords need their properties occupied otherwise they will be left with vacant houses.

That being said, landlords have the right to pick who they rent their properties to. They can afford to be picky because there is such a high demand for affordable units, which means you will need all the help you can get to negotiate for a lower rent price. 

One way of doing this is by having proof of making payments on time. If you have proof that you haven’t defaulted on your payments, then your bargaining power will go up significantly.

3. Have a Reason for the Ask

tenants negotiating with landlord for lower rent

When negotiating for a lower rent price, it’s important to have a specific, well-reasoned reason. Don’t expect your landlord will give in just because they like you; instead, make a strong case for why you need a rent reduction.

Reasons to ask for Lower Rent

  • You’ve been a good tenant and have never missed a payment
  • The property has needed significant repairs or updates that the landlord has not addressed
  • The surrounding area has seen declining property values or increased competition from new developments
  • Your property taxes have gone up significantly
  • You are considering going back home
  • You can’t find cheaper properties in the area you are renting

When giving your reason, stress the positive aspects of your tenancy. Also, how a proposed price reduction will benefit the landlord. Link your rent reduction to something you know they want, such as increased tenancy and better property value.

A smart approach with a well-reasoned argument will be more effective. You can’t ask without explaining why you believe this is a good decision for both you and the landlord.

Do not:

  • Demand a rent reduction
  • Forcefully argue that you pay rent on time
  • Offer cash or set up an alternate payment plan that is not under the discretion of your landlord.
  • Make false promises; if you can’t deliver, don’t offer
  • Use guilt to receive the reduction; the landlord is not responsible for your financial burdens
  • Use your personal life (children, marriage, divorce) as an excuse

It can be awkward and embarrassing asking someone why you want something. But if there’s no good reason, then it makes sense not to ask at all.

4. Do Your Research

This means looking up comparable rental properties in the area and what kinds of prices they are being rented for. Then, work with your landlord to determine if you can move to a different floor or unit with lower rent.

If you have lived at your current property for a long time, have always paid on time, in full, and it’s in good condition, then your landlord may be happy to accommodate.

We have all heard of the stories about landlords just kicking people out because they want higher rent or offer more to move in.

Make sure that this will not happen by looking up comparable rental properties in the area, what kinds of prices they are being rented for, and speaking to these tenants.

5. Take Someone Else With You

You are more likely to get a rent reduction from the landlord if you go with someone who stays in the same block as you do.

Of course, many landlords are willing to lower the rent regardless of whether or not you have someone with you.

You should also note that bringing somebody else doesn’t necessarily mean that the person will need to talk on your behalf or argue against your landlord.

Instead, it can simply be a friend who is there as moral support and provides an extra set of ears for potential negotiation tactics.

6. Establish Trust

tenants speaking to landlord

When you’re going to negotiate for a rent reduction, one of the most important things they need to keep in mind is trust.

Renting can be a tricky business, and it’s important that both the renter and the landlord are able to trust each other.

Establishing trust with your landlord will make negotiations much easier and more likely to succeed.

Establishing trust can happen on both sides, and it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give more rights during negotiations.

How to Establish Trust With Your Landlord

  • Get to know your landlord. The more you understand the person’s motivations and goals, the better you will be able to negotiate with them in a way that doesn’t make them resentful.
  • Protect your reputation with your landlord. If word gets around that you’re someone who is hard to get along with, your landlord will be less likely to negotiate with you. Some ways to build trust that will help you in the future include being a good neighbour, paying your rent on time, and repairing any damage you cause.
  • Try not to ask for too much. There’s nothing wrong with stating how much you can afford. But if you’re only looking out for yourself when doing this, you’re much more likely to damage your relationship with your landlord.

Building trust with your landlord is important when negotiating a lower rent. You go into the negotiations knowing a landlord can trust you too.

Does your landlord or a company manage the property where you stay? 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.

7. Look Professional and Confident

The best way to negotiate a rent reduction is not to be afraid of asking for it.

This means never being ashamed or embarrassed about the current state of your finances. Instead, go in with an air of competence and confidence.

The more you seem like you have your life together, the more likely people are going to want to help you.

Being a confident person or more of a natural-born leader will also give you a greater chance of being able to negotiate your way out of paying higher rent.

If you have an assertive personality and can speak with conviction. People are going to be much more likely to take the things that you say as fact.

This is good because then you’re able to give them factual evidence that you really do need a rent reduction and why.

Rather than coming off as someone who is desperate for any sort of help, try and become the sort of person who would be seen as worthy of receiving the help they are asking for.

Make sure you come prepared for the negotiation. Know your rights as a tenant and what is in your rental agreement.

Know about the rental market and where to get other places to rent. This will show that you know what you are talking about and you have a plan.


Negotiating for lower rent is a skill that can have a significant impact on your financial well-being and overall quality of life. By following the tips and strategies outlined in this article, you can become a confident and effective advocate for yourself as a tenant.

Remember, the rental market is ever-evolving, and opportunities for negotiation can arise in various circumstances. Whether you’re a current tenant seeking to reduce your rent or a prospective renter searching for an affordable home, approaching the negotiation process with professionalism, preparation, and a clear understanding of your rights and market conditions is key.

Avatar photo
Notification Bell
Get expert advice and popular properties in your inbox weekly.
Check your inbox for your welcome email.
Notification Bell