According to CNNMoney.com, average monthly rents in the United States have risen from $650 to $700 in the last decade, adjusted for inflation. While this equates to an average annual increase of below 1%, rents are expected to rise up to 10% in the next few years according to the article.
Among the factors pushing rents higher, the article cites the following:
- Decreased rental vacancy rates
- Increased demand for rental housing
- Families losing their homes to foreclosure suddenly looking for a rental
- People of all ages choosing to rent rather than buy a home
With prices likely headed higher, it’s more important than ever to lock in a good deal. Many people don’t realize that almost everything in the lease is negotiable, from the security deposit to the monthly rent itself.
When my wife and I first got married, we moved into an apartment that had a very favorable rent relative to other apartments in our area. After our original lease was over, we got a letter in the mail saying they were raising our rent almost $100 a month!
The key to successful negotiating is to do your homework. Know the prices for similar-sized units in your area. Find out what others are paying. Show your willingness to walk away if you don’t get a fair deal. Landlords don’t like empty apartments, and their cost to find your replacement can be substantial.
Be firm, but more importantly polite. Present the facts to your landlord (or lady) and let him earn your business.