Tips on how to negotiate with your landlord

There's slim picking out there. If you're staying in your current lease, try to negotiate the best deal possible.

So far, 2011 hasn’t exactly been kind to New York renters. Though the overall real estate market has started to recover, people are still shying away from buying a home and instead choosing to stay in their less risky rentals. As a result, the rental inventory is low, and prices have skyrocketed. Since landlords don’t really offer free months anymore and no-fee apartments are rare, it’s a terrible time to move — and a great time to stay in your current deal. Here are some expert tips to follow when negotiating your lease with your landlord.

Do your homework

Before you begin discussions with your landlord, do as much research as possible to see what a fair price is for your apartment. “In order to get the most leverage in your negotiation, make sure to come prepared with a list of comparable units that have rented in your buildings or similar ones in the past 30 days,” advises Jeff Schleider, the owner of Miron Properties. “A few minutes of research on [websites such as] Streeteasy.com should give you more than enough data.”

Have a bargaining chip

“It always helps to go in with a bargaining chip, a concession you’re willing to make,” suggests Karen Maio, the founder of Nestio.com, an online tool for organizing your apartment hunt. “For instance, maybe you’re willing to re-sign a lease far in advance or commit to an additional year upfront. If you can give a bit on the terms of your lease, you’ll be in a much stronger position to negotiate on price.”
 
Be your own publicist

The greatest asset you provide to your landlord is your position as a tenant in good standing. And remember: Keeping you around means they don’t need to find a new — and equally responsible —tenant. So make sure to remind them how you “pay your rent in time, and aren’t a nuisance,” advises Steve Maschi, vice president of leasing at Glenwood Management.
 
Be prepared to pay up

Sometimes you just can’t bring your rent down past a certain point. “Everyone thinks they’re paying too high on rent. You need to have perspective going into negotiating,” says Maschi. If you can’t stretch your budget to the terms on the table, make sure you’ve given yourself enough time to start searching for your next place.



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