Author Topic: Lease/rental negotiation etiquette?  (Read 1340 times)

jeromedawg

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Lease/rental negotiation etiquette?
« on: July 13, 2020, 03:17:06 PM »
Hey all,

Curious to know, as prospective tenant, what the 'etiquette' is as far as lease and rental negotiation for those who seek to negotiate a lease. Do you typically apply to rent first, review the lease, and then negotiate the price down after reviewing the lease but before signing? Also, how much do you typically negotiate down? And based on what?

GrahamCracker

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Re: Lease/rental negotiation etiquette?
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2020, 03:26:26 PM »
Hey all,

Curious to know, as prospective tenant, what the 'etiquette' is as far as lease and rental negotiation for those who seek to negotiate a lease. Do you typically apply to rent first, review the lease, and then negotiate the price down after reviewing the lease but before signing? Also, how much do you typically negotiate down? And based on what?
Negotiations typically happen during the lease agreement process. First you apply, then pass the credit screening, then talk terms. When the market is tough, sometimes you can get a half or full month “free” with a year lease, but that hasn’t been the case in quite some time. Other options are to negotiate a multi-year lease for the same rent the whole term. It can be tempting to offer to pre-pay a chunk to get a better deal, but that isn’t always allowed, so check you state’s rules.

jeromedawg

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Re: Lease/rental negotiation etiquette?
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2020, 04:55:48 PM »
Hey all,

Curious to know, as prospective tenant, what the 'etiquette' is as far as lease and rental negotiation for those who seek to negotiate a lease. Do you typically apply to rent first, review the lease, and then negotiate the price down after reviewing the lease but before signing? Also, how much do you typically negotiate down? And based on what?
Negotiations typically happen during the lease agreement process. First you apply, then pass the credit screening, then talk terms. When the market is tough, sometimes you can get a half or full month “free” with a year lease, but that hasn’t been the case in quite some time. Other options are to negotiate a multi-year lease for the same rent the whole term. It can be tempting to offer to pre-pay a chunk to get a better deal, but that isn’t always allowed, so check you state’s rules.

Thanks!
Curious too with places that have appliances like a refrigerator, washer, dryer etc versus places that don't - are lack of appliances another point that can be leveraged to negotiate rent down?

Tyler durden

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Re: Lease/rental negotiation etiquette?
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2020, 05:13:30 PM »
When I rented from big apartment complexes in my 20s I never considered this but probably should have.

As a landlord - there is no negotiation. At least not in this market.

trollwithamustache

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Re: Lease/rental negotiation etiquette?
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2020, 05:20:39 PM »
I would think you want to start negotiating prior to the application... at least in my parts there is typically an application fee, so why pay it if the landlord own't negotiate? If the landlord has an income requirement that they verify during the application process, I'd think you want to know that and know that you meet it.

Also, for say specially requests, its best to ask up front so there is no unhappiness later. Ie, at the current house it has a big back yard, so we asked if the landlord was ok with a chicken coop. (they were only anti pets in the house it seems.) 

PoutineLover

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Re: Lease/rental negotiation etiquette?
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2020, 07:48:29 PM »
I've never negotiated rent and it would be a joke to try where I live. You either take the place at the price they're asking, or they'll find someone else. There aren't many vacancies on decent apartments and typically several people apply. Maybe your market is different.

jeromedawg

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Re: Lease/rental negotiation etiquette?
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2020, 08:22:01 PM »
I've never negotiated rent and it would be a joke to try where I live. You either take the place at the price they're asking, or they'll find someone else. There aren't many vacancies on decent apartments and typically several people apply. Maybe your market is different.

When I rented from big apartment complexes in my 20s I never considered this but probably should have.

As a landlord - there is no negotiation. At least not in this market.

I guess I'm trying to figure out what a "hot market" looks like - is this based on how many days (or hours) a place stays listed? The range for most of these places seems to be within a matter of $500 give or take. Some units are taken right off the market within hours - I don't know if those units are under-priced because the landlords just want a "quick sale" while other units that are closer to fair market value stay up longer (a matter of anywhere from a week to two). There are several that have been on a market for a while but those are either overpriced or there's a catch (non-working appliances and or difficult landlords).

PoutineLover

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Re: Lease/rental negotiation etiquette?
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2020, 09:29:54 PM »
I've never negotiated rent and it would be a joke to try where I live. You either take the place at the price they're asking, or they'll find someone else. There aren't many vacancies on decent apartments and typically several people apply. Maybe your market is different.

When I rented from big apartment complexes in my 20s I never considered this but probably should have.

As a landlord - there is no negotiation. At least not in this market.

I guess I'm trying to figure out what a "hot market" looks like - is this based on how many days (or hours) a place stays listed? The range for most of these places seems to be within a matter of $500 give or take. Some units are taken right off the market within hours - I don't know if those units are under-priced because the landlords just want a "quick sale" while other units that are closer to fair market value stay up longer (a matter of anywhere from a week to two). There are several that have been on a market for a while but those are either overpriced or there's a catch (non-working appliances and or difficult landlords).
The vacancy rate in my city is very low (around 1.5%) and rents have been increasing faster than inflation so there's a lot of competition for affordable, well located apartments. We also have a weird custom of a specific moving date for the whole city. This results in most apartments being available for the same date, but everyone is trying to move at the same time, and landlords can be very picky and not entertain negotiations.

SndcxxJ

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Re: Lease/rental negotiation etiquette?
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2020, 09:45:18 PM »
I've never negotiated rent and it would be a joke to try where I live. You either take the place at the price they're asking, or they'll find someone else. There aren't many vacancies on decent apartments and typically several people apply. Maybe your market is different.

When I rented from big apartment complexes in my 20s I never considered this but probably should have.

As a landlord - there is no negotiation. At least not in this market.

I guess I'm trying to figure out what a "hot market" looks like - is this based on how many days (or hours) a place stays listed? The range for most of these places seems to be within a matter of $500 give or take. Some units are taken right off the market within hours - I don't know if those units are under-priced because the landlords just want a "quick sale" while other units that are closer to fair market value stay up longer (a matter of anywhere from a week to two). There are several that have been on a market for a while but those are either overpriced or there's a catch (non-working appliances and or difficult landlords).
The vacancy rate in my city is very low (around 1.5%) and rents have been increasing faster than inflation so there's a lot of competition for affordable, well located apartments. We also have a weird custom of a specific moving date for the whole city. This results in most apartments being available for the same date, but everyone is trying to move at the same time, and landlords can be very picky and not entertain negotiations.

Whaaaaa?
The same date of the month?  Or is this a college town where year leases run a similar timeframe?

PoutineLover

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Re: Lease/rental negotiation etiquette?
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2020, 10:23:49 PM »
I've never negotiated rent and it would be a joke to try where I live. You either take the place at the price they're asking, or they'll find someone else. There aren't many vacancies on decent apartments and typically several people apply. Maybe your market is different.

When I rented from big apartment complexes in my 20s I never considered this but probably should have.

As a landlord - there is no negotiation. At least not in this market.

I guess I'm trying to figure out what a "hot market" looks like - is this based on how many days (or hours) a place stays listed? The range for most of these places seems to be within a matter of $500 give or take. Some units are taken right off the market within hours - I don't know if those units are under-priced because the landlords just want a "quick sale" while other units that are closer to fair market value stay up longer (a matter of anywhere from a week to two). There are several that have been on a market for a while but those are either overpriced or there's a catch (non-working appliances and or difficult landlords).
The vacancy rate in my city is very low (around 1.5%) and rents have been increasing faster than inflation so there's a lot of competition for affordable, well located apartments. We also have a weird custom of a specific moving date for the whole city. This results in most apartments being available for the same date, but everyone is trying to move at the same time, and landlords can be very picky and not entertain negotiations.

Whaaaaa?
The same date of the month?  Or is this a college town where year leases run a similar timeframe?
Same day of the year. It's madness. More history explained here if you're interested.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moving_Day_(Quebec)

jeromedawg

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Re: Lease/rental negotiation etiquette?
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2020, 10:58:50 AM »
Side question: for those of you who rent/prefer to rent, is it a 'non-negotiable' for you to have all appliances in specifically the refrigerator and w/d? It seems like it's a mixed bag getting places with or without these appliances. I can understand, from the landlord's perspective, why they wouldn't want to include those (don't want to deal with the headache of it breaking down etc). From the tenant's perspective, I can see why they'd want it there (out of convenience obviously). I understand I can probably look for a used cheap fridge and w/d set off CL, etc but also don't want to deal with the trouble of picking them up and having to lug and haul them up stairs, around corners, etc. 

For those of you who often rent places without these appliances, what do you do as far as provisioning them? Do you find that deal off CL and then hire movers to help pick it up, transport and then move it in the rental? The other thing I worry about is moving a fridge up a flight of stairs and around corners without damaging walls and anything else. I helped friends move a fridge upstairs once a long time ago and it was NOT fun - that's all I think of when I see a potential rental unit without a fridge, especially an upstairs unit with stairs.

And as far as what's "fair" in terms of rental pricing, we can't assume that all landlords are going to price their units (with or without appliances) fairly out of the gates. Using comps might be helpful but what about the situation where a neighboring unit in comparable condition but with all those appliances recently rented for less than what the current unit is asking and there are multiple bids? It seems like the market isn't always dictated by comps, so trying to navigate and understand that aspect.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2020, 11:04:01 AM by jeromedawg »

trollwithamustache

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Re: Lease/rental negotiation etiquette?
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2020, 01:04:17 PM »
Side question: for those of you who rent/prefer to rent, is it a 'non-negotiable' for you to have all appliances in specifically the refrigerator and w/d? It seems like it's a mixed bag getting places with or without these appliances.




non negotiable that they are all there. you can rent appliances and thats an expense, plus sometimes the connections can be old.  If you buy appliances you need to move them along with you unless you want to give them to your ex landlord. 

Also I don't know if this is really statistically valid, but it seems like the landlords who are serious about doing their maintenance aren't renting out partially complete apartments/houses. 

jeromedawg

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Re: Lease/rental negotiation etiquette?
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2020, 01:09:22 PM »
Side question: for those of you who rent/prefer to rent, is it a 'non-negotiable' for you to have all appliances in specifically the refrigerator and w/d? It seems like it's a mixed bag getting places with or without these appliances.




non negotiable that they are all there. you can rent appliances and thats an expense, plus sometimes the connections can be old.  If you buy appliances you need to move them along with you unless you want to give them to your ex landlord. 

Also I don't know if this is really statistically valid, but it seems like the landlords who are serious about doing their maintenance aren't renting out partially complete apartments/houses.

When you say "landlords who are serious about doing their maintenance aren't renting out partially complete apartments/houses" in what context are you referring? Are you saying that there might be a correlation between landlord who do/don't provide appliances and their 'initiative' to be on top of repairs and maintenance? (e.g. a landlord who doesn't include all appliances would be indicative of a landlord who doesn't want deal with additional problems with those items and could mean a landlord who generally isn't very good about being on top of repairs/maintenance as a whole regarding the entire property?)

cchrissyy

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Re: Lease/rental negotiation etiquette?
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2020, 01:28:28 PM »
i don't think of rent as negotiable, period. you must be in a very different market than mine.

as a renter, I see prices as mostly being appropriate but sometimes when one is unreasonably high, what i think is that's not a landlord i want to deal with. they're unrealistic. or inexperienced. even if i saw the house listed for less later on i'd avoid it.

as a landlord, if somebody asked for lower rent, I wouldn't entertain the idea whatsoever. I'd be thinking either "you can't afford this place" or "you are going to be a pain in my neck asking for favors the entire time". I would rather have it vacant than have either type of tenant.

jeromedawg

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Re: Lease/rental negotiation etiquette?
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2020, 01:38:51 PM »
i don't think of rent as negotiable, period. you must be in a very different market than mine.

as a renter, I see prices as mostly being appropriate but sometimes when one is unreasonably high, what i think is that's not a landlord i want to deal with. they're unrealistic. or inexperienced. even if i saw the house listed for less later on i'd avoid it.

as a landlord, if somebody asked for lower rent, I wouldn't entertain the idea whatsoever. I'd be thinking either "you can't afford this place" or "you are going to be a pain in my neck asking for favors the entire time". I would rather have it vacant than have either type of tenant.

It seems like there are two camps of thought as far as negotiation is concerned. And maybe much of it does have to do with the market or area of rental. I can see how in a highly desirable area to live it's going to be a landlord's market. Whereas in a lesser desirable area to live or if units are flooding onto the market due to current tenants having to back out or get evicted due to the aftermath of COVID, it seems like it could be a renter's market too.
I understand the perspective of landlords not wanting to deal with prospective tenants who are asking to negotiate but I also think there's a difference between reasonable and unreasonable requests and YMMV depending on the area and time. I've heard multiple anecdotes of tenants successfully negotiating their rent. As well as input from property managers and landlords who have both said it's possible. It sounds like in general and largely though, not everyone is in a position to negotiate.

EDIT: just spoke with my realtor again and he reminded me another factor with the landlord's potential willingness to negotiate is # of other applicants. So I think ultimately it's a supply & demand issue and YMMV depending on the market.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2020, 02:00:24 PM by jeromedawg »

trollwithamustache

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Re: Lease/rental negotiation etiquette?
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2020, 02:31:08 PM »
Side question: for those of you who rent/prefer to rent, is it a 'non-negotiable' for you to have all appliances in specifically the refrigerator and w/d? It seems like it's a mixed bag getting places with or without these appliances.




non negotiable that they are all there. you can rent appliances and thats an expense, plus sometimes the connections can be old.  If you buy appliances you need to move them along with you unless you want to give them to your ex landlord. 

Also I don't know if this is really statistically valid, but it seems like the landlords who are serious about doing their maintenance aren't renting out partially complete apartments/houses.

When you say "landlords who are serious about doing their maintenance aren't renting out partially complete apartments/houses" in what context are you referring? Are you saying that there might be a correlation between landlord who do/don't provide appliances and their 'initiative' to be on top of repairs and maintenance? (e.g. a landlord who doesn't include all appliances would be indicative of a landlord who doesn't want deal with additional problems with those items and could mean a landlord who generally isn't very good about being on top of repairs/maintenance as a whole regarding the entire property?)

That has always been my concern. Landlords with all the appliances seem to be organized and can tell you up front how they want the ship to run. ie, call this number first, then this number 2nd. Some houses come with a gardening service. some landlords can't tell you when the Gardner comes. If the Gardner has been coming every Thursday for a couple years, its not a new thing and easy for them to tell you that.

Some landlords cannot explain how the ship should run other than you pay them on time. There are certainly awesome private landlords out there, but in general I prefer to rent houses from the large rental management companies for consistent baseline of organization.

jeromedawg

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Re: Lease/rental negotiation etiquette?
« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2020, 02:03:56 PM »
Well, we visited a unit yesterday and put an application in. My agent spoke with the prop mgmt agent who implied that the landlord seems to be favoring the other tenant for some reason. I ended up giving my agent the go-ahead to bump our offer up $50 lol, so as far as negotiation it seems like I've figured something out but in the opposite direction :P

We do have another place (a bit smaller but costs less) in our back-pocket in case this one doesn't work out. I'd just be worried about fitting all our stuff in it as our current place is slightly bigger. It likely just means more purging which shouldn't be a bad thing lol.

therethere

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Re: Lease/rental negotiation etiquette?
« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2020, 02:22:23 PM »
The one time I successfully negotiated rent, my landlord put up the condo for short sale the next month. It came out later that she had become an accidental landlord because she couldn't afford to live in the place herself. Apparently I negotiated the rent to below mortgage + HOA. Which meant that anytime there was required maintenance she took it out of my security deposit (which she did end up stealing).

I'm more saying this as a cautionary tale. They must have been running behind on payments prior to us moving in, so the two events are not entirely related. But it would make sense that the only people who would lower their proposed rent are those who are desperate for that payment (and therefore likely don't have the cash reserves to be a good landlord) or those who initially had it way overpriced. The overpriced ones are usually easy to weed out. And you'll just see them the next month still waiting. I've since changed my tune on negotiating rent. And I also google and social media search the landlord.

jeromedawg

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Re: Lease/rental negotiation etiquette?
« Reply #18 on: July 16, 2020, 12:11:56 AM »
Okay... so real life scenario here in terms of figuring out whether a current asking rental price has the correct valuation or not.

The unit we're looking at is a 2 bed/1 den (could have been a full room but it's not fully sealed off from the living room as there is an open section of wall)/2 bath upper condo unit was originally listed at $2850 less than a week ago. Just today they lowered it to $2800. According to Zillow, the previous renters rented for $2900.

Checked comps for several other identical floor plan/sq ft units that rented within the past couple years (the most recent rented in Sept 2019) and the major differences are that most of them are true 3 bed/2 bath units (they closed off walls to the den and loft rooms to create full bedrooms). The one that rented in Sept 2019 closed for $2750 after 78 days on the market and originally listed for $2850 (this unit is just as upgraded, if not more, than the current on market unit).  None of the other units rented for more than $2750, regardless of the den/loft/room configuration.

That said, I understand this is now 2020, however we are also in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Personally, $2800 feels high. Based on comps, is it justified to negotiate starting at $2700 as an offer along with application? What do you all say?
« Last Edit: July 16, 2020, 12:15:43 AM by jeromedawg »

Model96

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Re: Lease/rental negotiation etiquette?
« Reply #19 on: July 16, 2020, 12:31:13 AM »
Just make your offer to them, the worst they can do is say no!

jeromedawg

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Re: Lease/rental negotiation etiquette?
« Reply #20 on: July 16, 2020, 01:57:37 AM »
Just make your offer to them, the worst they can do is say no!

Part of the deal with this, which of course we wouldn't disclose to them, is that we're feeling slightly on the clock to try to vacate the current place ASAP so we can prep/stage/sell it. So that's a factor too. Compounded with the fact that we're desiring to move into a pretty specific neighborhood for the kids' schooling. We actually don't need to move until February but the reason why I feel so on the clock about vacating is to try to sell the current condo we're living in while the market is still on a hot streak in our area. So time and rental availability/inventory are against us. Conceding to paying $2800 for something that'll be a 'tight squeeze' is not something I'm fond of but it would be the compromise and ticket in. I'm bummed that the former place passed us up - we were very much looking forward to it. I guess the other applicant was either on par or looked better on paper...
« Last Edit: July 16, 2020, 01:59:37 AM by jeromedawg »

Villanelle

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Re: Lease/rental negotiation etiquette?
« Reply #21 on: July 16, 2020, 11:48:05 AM »
When we did it, it was at the very beginning. After the showing, we called back to say that yes, we were very interested, but we were hoping to keep the rent at $xxxx, which seemed in line with the current market.  Would they be open to that?   (It was shown by an agent, not the owner.)  A few hours later he called back and said that amount would be fine, and we then submitted our app. (It ended up falling through because the house had been listed for both rent and sale, and they got a purchase offer before we signed the lease, but that seemed entirely unrelated.)

After that fell through, we looked at our current place.  Price on this one seemed fair-ish and we were getting desperate, but when we called back (talking to the owner) to say that we were definitely interested, we asked about a 3 year lease (instead of 1).  I was anticipating him saying that he'd do it was an increase of $50 or $100 per year, which is what we'd heard from other places, but he did it with no increase at all. (crazy, IMO, in this market).  But again, that was done before we submitted the application. 

So I guess I'd call back and say that we are extremely interested but that based on comps, $2700 seems more in line with the market and would be the willing to sign a lease at that amount?  They either say yes, or no.  If they say no, you likely haven't lost the place.  You can always go up to asking at that point. It's unlikely they would hold the negotiating against you so much that they would reject an otherwise attractive offer (assuming everything else about your offer is strong).  I wouldn't mention that you just want to get into the neighborhood, because that sounds like, "I will move when my lease is up, so this is a one year thing," which would make me less than enthused as a landlord. 

srad

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Re: Lease/rental negotiation etiquette?
« Reply #22 on: July 16, 2020, 04:49:26 PM »
The time to negotiate would be before the application and there is nothing wrong with asking.  I've had several tenants ask, and i almost always say no.  I will say, one of my best transactions was the tenant wanted me to supply a WD, i said sure but i'm going to charge you and extra 15 a month.  I was able to source a very lightly used wd on CL for $150.  These tenants are on their 3rd year with me.

The other yes's i agree to are come lease renewal time, if i like them and its reasonable, i'll do it.

trollwithamustache

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Re: Lease/rental negotiation etiquette?
« Reply #23 on: July 17, 2020, 11:42:58 AM »

That said, I understand this is now 2020, however we are also in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Personally, $2800 feels high. Based on comps, is it justified to negotiate starting at $2700 as an offer along with application? What do you all say?

make the offer, it is definitely a reasonable offer.

Remember, when negotiating,  silence is a good thing or "I need to talk to so and so" is a good thing.  They didn't flat say no because its not unreasonable, its just not what they were hoping for.

jeromedawg

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Re: Lease/rental negotiation etiquette?
« Reply #24 on: July 17, 2020, 12:43:44 PM »

That said, I understand this is now 2020, however we are also in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Personally, $2800 feels high. Based on comps, is it justified to negotiate starting at $2700 as an offer along with application? What do you all say?

make the offer, it is definitely a reasonable offer.

Remember, when negotiating,  silence is a good thing or "I need to talk to so and so" is a good thing.  They didn't flat say no because its not unreasonable, its just not what they were hoping for.

So we made the offer but their agent came back saying that they'll pretty much only be OK with $2800 AND that it has to be an 18mo lease... smh I think they had changed their mind about the lease length term even prior to us making the offer based on a 1 year lease agreement. Initially when it was $2850 the agent was saying it would be for a 1yr minimum term but now he's saying the landlords don't want to hassle with a 1yr turnover and prefer longer.

Model96

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Re: Lease/rental negotiation etiquette?
« Reply #25 on: July 17, 2020, 03:22:44 PM »
So the ball is in your court now, you need to decide to either take it, or find a better value property......or try the waiting game.

clarkfan1979

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Re: Lease/rental negotiation etiquette?
« Reply #26 on: July 23, 2020, 04:28:17 PM »
When I rented from big apartment complexes in my 20s I never considered this but probably should have.

As a landlord - there is no negotiation. At least not in this market.

I offer slightly lower than market rent and get many prospective tenants. Because I usually have multiple groups interested, I typically do not negotiate. I have had prospective tenants ask at first point of contact if I would take less rent. I appreciate them asking at the very beginning because they didn't waste any of my time. If they ask for a rent reduction at the signing of the lease and end up not signing, that would not be appreciated because it would be wasting my time.