By Dave Fleming, published June 24, 2023. Updated July 20, 2023.
1. Do your research This one applies to all my tips here. Some examples: - If you want to negotiate rent, check out some comparable rentals to support your case. - When searching rentals, read all the details. One rental may have a cheaper list price but its competition may include heat, trash, or other utilities. A savvy searching can often yield the best values beyond the cheapest rentals. - You can also, and should, research your landlord. It's better to find out before you apply what sort of reputation your future landlord has than after you've been waiting two months for that leak repair.
2. Don't be afraid to ask Did you find the perfect rental, but it's just out of your budget? Ask if they'd be willing to consider a discount. Love your rental but wish there was laundry? See if the landlord will consider an upgrade or splitting the cost with you. Many landlords are willing to take reasonable steps to upkeep and upgrade their investments.
3. Negotiate Rentals aren't all that different than buying. If a place has been out there for a while, see if they'll take a discount. If you're renewing your lease, and you've been a long term tenant in good standing, see if your landlord will cut you a break. Many times, it's worth some lost income for landlords to retain great tenants!
5. Take photos at move-in and move-out It can't be overstated how important this tip is to help protect yourself and your security deposit. You may be doing your initial and final inspections with totally different people, so if you have documentation of everything at move-in, there can be no question at move-out.
6. Always communicate in writing. This is not only helpful for tracking purposes, but can be essential to avoid crossed signals, missed maintenance requests, and other lost in translation issues. I can't count the number of times a tenant says "I told the maintenance guy, and nothing ever got done."