6 Things You Can Negotiate on Your Lease

Advertised rent rates aren’t necessarily written in stone. You can always try to wheel and deal with the landlord of an apartment you’ve got your eye on to see if you can shave a few bucks off the monthly rent price.

Whether or not the landlord is willing to budge is another thing, but at least you can try. Attempting to negotiate the rent price is always advised, as it can help you pay less per month than you have to. The worst the landlord can say is no.

But the rent price isn’t the only thing on your lease that can be negotiated. There are several other components of your lease that you can work with the landlord on to sweeten the deal.

1. Security Deposit

Landlords typically request a security deposit in order to cover costs associated with any damage you might cause while living there. Security deposits are usually one months’ worth of rent, but some landlords can ask for much more than that.

If you think that what the landlord is asking for is far more than what’s typical in the area, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to request a lower amount, especially if you’ve got a good track record of being a solid tenant.

2. Parking Spots

Depending on where the apartment that you want is located, parking spots may or may not be included in the lease. If parking spots are available, they may come with an extra fee. If the unit you’re looking at doesn’t come with a parking spot, try negotiating with the landlord to include one at no extra charge. If the landlord is willing to throw in a spot, it will make the unit more worth it.

3. Aesthetic Changes

Landlords will usually let renters paint the interior, but they might have restrictions on certain upgrades that you might want to make. For example, they might have a problem with you making a massive hole in the wall to accommodate a TV mount. You might have other ideas in mind about how you’d like to upgrade the place, but your lease might specify restrictions on what you can and can’t do.

But just because such regulations are in place doesn’t mean you can’t ask the landlord to strike them out to provide you with a little more freedom with what you can do to improve the place.

4. No Pet Policies

Property owners have the right to include a no-pet clause in their lease agreement. If they don’t want pets on their property, they can legally disallow pets with tenants. Some pet policies might allow pets but may restrict the type of animal and size.

For instance, a property owner might allow dogs, but only up to 40 pounds in size. And they have the right to kick tenants out for violating these clauses, too.

If you’ve got a furry friend, you’ll want to find a place that allows pets. But you might also want to try negotiating a no-pet policy for a place that you have your sights set on. If your pet is small, quiet, and has a history of being well-behaved in previous rental units, you may be able to sway the landlord in your direction. This won’t necessarily always work, but it’s worth a shot.

It should be mentioned that landlords who rent out units located in condominiums may not have a full say in whether or not pets are allowed. The HOA might have its own rules about pets. Even if the landlord is OK with you having a pet living in the unit, the HOA might not allow it if there is a no-pet policy in its bylaws.

5. Washer and Dryer

Many rental units come with washers and dryers right in the units themselves, while others only provide access to a common laundry facility. Others don’t have any laundry appliances on site at all and instead require renters to take their dirty clothes to a local laundromat.

If the apartment is missing these convenient amenities, ask the landlord if they’d be willing to add a washer and dryer to the unit in exchange for a slightly higher rent price.

6. Property Maintenance

If the rental property you’re looking at is a single-family home or townhome, your lease might stipulate that you’ll be responsible for cutting the grass. If you’re particularly busy or simply don’t want to have to tend to the landscaping, you may be able to negotiate with the landlord to have such services taken care of the landlord themselves. Just be prepared to be asked for a higher rent price in order to cover such services.

The Bottom Line

Your rent price can and should be negotiated when you’re looking for a new rental unit. But there are so many other things you can barter on to make the deal much more attractive for you and make your living arrangements more enjoyable and convenient.

Don’t be afraid to ask. If the landlord isn’t willing to meet you halfway, then you can ask yourself if the lease is still worthwhile or if you should keep looking.