Rent reduced for new tenants-should we ask for reduction?

PinkfireDecember 11, 2004

We live in a 2-bedroom/2-bath apartment which costs $655 per month (water and electricity not included). For me, coming from California, this is a great bargain. I moved in a year ago, and my fiance has been renting this apartment since August 2003.

After looking around the area, we seem to be living in a renter's market. Great deals abound, but we'd prefer not to move as my fiance is a graduate student and is very busy. I have learned that new tenants in our complex are being offered 2-bedroom apartments for only $540 per month--more than $100 less than what we're paying, and we've been here awhile! $525-$600 seems to be the average going rent for comparable units in the area.

Would it be appropriate to ask the management for a rent reduction? Would any of you do this? I've never seen anything like this before; seniority usually means you pay less rent than newcomers.

Thanks for any comments/advice.

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Usually the reduced rent is offered to intice new renters. You can try, but if I had to say, I would guess you would probably not get the rent reduction. You signed a lease stating how much you were to pay monthly and you are bound by that.
Let us know how it goes and good luck!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2004 at 10:50AM
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when your lease is up, just say you will move out if you can't also get a reduced rate. About a year ago, I went to look at apts, I found a studio I liked. Before I signed the lease, I heard that another person was getting a studio for about $100 cheaper per month than what I was told. So I went back and said, "I want to look at one bedrooms" (now that I knew it was negotiable). I was able to talk them down from what they asked so I ended up getting a one bedroom for about $20 more per month than I would have been paying for the studio. I didn't realize until then how negotiable all rent is. Especially if they really need tenants, they will almost always barter. I don't think there is anything you can do until your lease is up since you agreed to pay what you are currently paying. good luck!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2004 at 5:36PM
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Thanks for the comments! I should clarify that only a six month lease was signed initially, and we've been on a month-to-month basis for 10 months now.

We could save $100 per month by moving out, but as I said, this would be inconvenient. I realize we should be prepared to do so if saving money is that important, but it would be nice to get a break here. We are indeed good tenants; we get along well with all our neighbors and the maintenence crew, we have never made a complaint and (to our knowledge) have never had any complaints made against us.

I'm in the process of composing a letter to the management. I'd like to "hint" that we could do better by moving out, but I don't want to sound like I'm making threats. Even a $50 reduction would be great. Anyways, I'll keep y'all posted, and if anyone has any further comments/suggestions, all is appreciated.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2004 at 5:55PM
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Quite frankly I wouldn't bother with the begging letter asking to pay less rent. You started off by saying that compared to where you come from your current rent is a 'great bargain'. But now you hear about new tenants being enticed with lower rents you are jealous.

If your landlord gives you a reduction in rent, then surely every tenant will want a decrease as well. I doubt that the reason the new tenants are being offered apartments for less is because the landlord doesn't want or need the additional funds.

I guess your reasoning is that it is only fair that you should also pay less. However, conversely, when it is not a renters market would you be quite happy for the landlord to increase your rent as well as those of new tenants. If you really want to be fair you have to look at both sides, not just what suits you.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2004 at 6:29PM
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We also pay California rates which are very high...Actually well over three times our previous monthly mortgage in B.C. This makes most other rental units in other areas look like a bargain. This does not mean it is a bargain rate.

Rates do vary according to occupany. Look for the current rental rate they are offering. You have a great advantage with month to month as you are not locked into a current long term lease. Watch for the best rate and then ask (don't hint) for their best rate for a one year lease. Ask every month if necessary.

We were locked into a lease, but our daughter moved out into an identical apartment and with the above, her rent is $225.00 less with a one year lease. It really seems to be timing and occupany.

Hope this helps and good luck.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2004 at 12:28AM
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Try this:

go to your landlord, and say, "we have realized we could save $100 a month if we moved out and rented the same size apartment from someone else. We'd like to save that money. However, it's a pain to move, and we've liked being in this complex. We hope you consider us good tenants--we pay our rent promptly, keep the place in good repair, don't give you trouble, etc. We think it might be inconvenient for you to try to replace us. Would you meet us partway? Could you drop our rent by $75 per month? We wouldn't save as much money, but it would be worth it to us not to have to find a new place. You wouldn't get as much as you had before, of course, but if we moved, you'd have to rent at $100 less, and you'd have to go to the expense of finding a new tenant. If you can meet us somewhere in the middle, we'd be willing to sign a six-month (or one-year) lease."

Then, you can negotiate to $50 off, perhaps.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2004 at 10:57AM
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Don't threaten to move, because they KNOW you can move, and it is just annoying. Take a friendly, positive approach. Tell them you would like to stay, with a lease, but at a rent level closer to what other tenants are paying. I would not write a letter, the two of you could approach management together. Or the "better talker" should call them if that's the way to contact mgmt.

See, if you move, they have the expense of fixing up your place to re-rent, plus then they may only be able to rent it at the lower rent anyway. So they might as well give you the lower rate, and save themselves the trouble of re-renting. A lease is an advantage to them because they know you'll be there another year or 6 months or whatever.

Be open to compromise.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2004 at 11:05AM
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Garden2Ca: Thanks for the comments. I especially find "Watch for the best rate and then ask (don't hint) for their best rate for a one year lease." useful.

TalleySue: Thank you, that's perfect, it sounds friendly without sounding threatening. I appreciate it.

Socks: you're right, I do want to emphasize to the landlord the benefits of working with us without stating something that might annoy them.

Thanks again for the helpful advice. We'll give them the letter tomorrow and see what happens!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2004 at 6:46PM
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