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Apartment Living 101: Negotiating Your Lease Terms

Dec 25, 2007
If you are getting ready to sign an apartment lease, you might want to make sure to read the lease agreement once more and determine if there are any points that you would like to negotiate. Remember, if there are any aspects of the lease that you do not agree with, you will be forced to accept them throughout the duration of the lease unless you successfully get those parts of the lease changed. Therefore, in order to successfully negotiate better terms for your apartment lease, you should try to implement these simple tips.

Know Your Landlord

Knowing your landlord will give you a better idea of what to expect when you get ready to negotiate your apartment lease. If the apartment is owned by a company that owns thousands of apartments, negotiating a lower rate may not be that big of a deal to them. On the other hand, if you are renting from someone that is renting out the upstairs of his or her home, a reduction may be out of the question. By understanding your landlord and what he or she is likely to be able to do for you, you will be able to better plan out your negotiations and to determine what you should ask for.

Choose the Right Time

Some people attempt to negotiate the apartment lease before they have actually been selected for the apartment. Although you might think it is a good idea to establish your needs beforehand, you will actually lose your bargaining chip by negotiating too early. Rather, the best time to negotiate is when it comes time to sign the lease. This way, you know you have something the landlord wants: your business.

Build Trust

You can begin to build trust with the landlord by asking plenty of questions about the landlord's rules and regulations. This will help to demonstrate that you are responsible and that you wish to abide by the rules that the landlord has established.

After asking questions and reading your lease, you can then ask for certain aspects to be changed. Be sure to let the landlord know that you are asking for these changes for your own safety. Furthermore, if the landlord seems resistant, remind him or her that you are a reliable tenant. Now is the time to bring up the fact that you have good credit, that you have a history of paying your rent on time, and that you will not cause damage or disturbances at the apartment. In addition, be certain to provide the landlord with reasons for your requests to change the lease.

Get it in Writing

Once you have agreed upon the changes to the lease agreement, make sure you get all of the changes in writing. If you are making changes to the lease, these changes need to be made to the actual document before you sign it. Or, you might need to create a rider to go along with the lease that overrides the previous lease. Similarly, if you have negotiated repairs, be certain these repairs are also put in writing and that a deadline for these repairs to be done is established and written as well.

By following these simple tips, you will greatly increase your chances of enjoying a great apartment lease that is fair to both you and to the landlord.
About the Author
Eric Bramlett is the broker & co-owner of One Source Realty in Austin, Texas. Eric currently manages his Austin apartment locator website, his Austin Apartments website, & his Austin apartment locator website.
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