How to Negotiate a Lower Rent

Just because you are not a real estate professional does not mean you cannot negotiate a lower rent. Anyone can identify a problem, develop a solution, and present it for consideration. Those are the basic steps when appealing to a landlord for rent relief.

Here's how to negotiate a lower rent in three easy steps.

Identify the Problem
You know you can't pay the rent. But do you know why? If you have had an unusual, unexpected expense that is a readily understandable. If you have a recurring cash flow problem or are habitually behind in your rent that is something else. Before talking with your landlord you will need to identify the cause of your cash shortage so you can explain your situation clearly and concisely.

Develop a Solution
Landlords need to understand your situation and know that you have a way to get back on track. This plan should include the reason for your cash flow problem. It should also show what you are doing on your own to cut expenses. Finally, put together a short budget that shows how much rent relief you need along with your cuts to make it through the problem.

If you have an emergency, then the plan can be simple. You need short term relief to cover an unexpected and non-recurring problem. You will want to prepare a schedule that show with the landlord's help and the things you are doing, provide specifics about your attempt to reduce expenses, you can get back on track in a set amount of time. Your request may be to reduce rent for 90 days and then repay the rent relief over 180 days to ease your cash flow.

If you have had a permanent set back in cash flow then your plan will be a little more aggressive. Be prepared to share with the landlord that you have lost a certain amount of income and while your personal cuts in expenses, again you will want to be specific, cover much of the shortfall you need help in the form of a permanent rent reduction.

Present Your Plan and Request
Ask to meet with the landlord then explain your situation. Don't start off simply asking for help. You want to draw them into the conversation about how times are hard, you have been hit with a problem and you are working on a solution. The approach to the landlord should be that you need him or her to be part of your plan to get back on track; you are looking for their help.

Once you have their attention, lay out your plan and how you want to get back on track. How you value their help and enjoy renting from them. Tell them specifically what you need and why. This is when having been a good tenant will pay dividends. If you have thrown too many parties or been a problem tenant you can expect a comparable reaction.

Likely Landlord Reaction
Landlords have needs of their own. They are in business to make money and have to service their own debts and pay their expenses. You are asking them to give up income, actually bottom line profit, that they are rightly due.

You can anticipate outright rejection, a counter-attack in the form of the story of their cash flow problems, or a willingness to work with you. Hopefully your landlord values your tenancy enough to try to work with you. If so, this is where the negotiation begins.