Im Belgian Commoncents, so sadly the advice doesn't apply here. The lease would renew in 2,5 years, at which point I wouldn't renew, but run before it gets locked in again. My landlord isn't exactly mister Charming, as in, there are some repairs that are still pending, that were mentioned upon getting in the appartment, half a year ago. I could register for the renters association though, and I think I might do that, not that I think it would help ditch the cost as it is in the contract. But it might help with the repairs to find out what exactly I need to do to force him to repair it.
I did make sure I qualified on my own, because, thats just me and a cheap rent helps your saving rate. I am so glad I did that though, I would really be in trouble if I didn't.