On average, most renters will see a 5.74 percent increase in their rent when they renew a lease. Small increases like this are to be expected to align with market value.
For most renters, a small 5 percent increase isn’t that much if your rent is low. However, if you live in an area with an already high rent median, then 5 percent can turn into $200 extra.
The stakes are even higher if you live in a state or city without rent control, or live in a trendy neighborhood. Within the months leading to your lease renewal, be sure to prepare yourself so you can properly negotiate the terms with your landlord.
This article will show tenants how to prepare for a lease renewal, and how to negotiate terms with their landlord. There are 3 key steps in preparation.
Step One: Question Yourself Before You Renew Your Lease
Even if you have an attachment to your current home, it’s important to ask yourself whether or not it’s worth it for you to continue living where you are. Ask yourself:
- Why did you choose to live there in the first place?
- Are the reasons you chose your home still valid?
- How has the neighborhood changed since you’ve moved in?
- Are you experiencing personal changes in your life that fit your current space?
Whether your answers are positive, negative, or even neutral, it’s important to understand why you’re calling your space “home.”
You may want to consider getting a pet, a roommate, or even a bigger space. Ask yourself if what you want to do with your life fits your current space, or if it’s time to move on.
Step Two: Do Some Research on the Current Market
Before you negotiate terms with your landlord, it’s important to know your rights. Go over your current lease agreement and make sure it still follows your state and city’s tenancy laws.
If you have questions or need clarification on tenancy laws, you can call a lawyer in your area to fully understand what your landlord is legally responsible for. My Case Helper works with premium lawyers nationwide who offer free consultations.
Next, search for some current listings in your area. Look for ones similar to your current home, and access if their value went up, down, or stayed the same. It’s important to understand what the current market looks like.
After you understand your location’s laws and observe the current market, it’s time to go back to your lease agreement. Look for any changes and updates that would be made during the next renewal. What would change during your renewal? Are the changes positive or negative for what you want your lifestyle to look like?
For many long-term tenants, although their home still fits their current needs, the market will go up drastically. This is especially true for neighborhoods that have increasingly become trendy within recent years.
If you find that’s the case with your lease agreement, you might want to make an effort to reach out to your landlord first.
Step Three: Negotiating With Your Landlord
Start by writing an email or letter to your landlord. In this address, you want to first, take the time to acknowledge that you’ve been a good tenant. Ask yourself: what makes you a good tenant? There can be a number of reasons you can include in this section. Be sure to ask yourself:
- Do you consistently keep both indoor and outdoor spaces clean?
- Have you made repairs or updates to your home?
- Do you handle additional responsibilities which increase the property’s value such as landscaping or gardening?
- Are you a good tenant that follows your lease’s current terms and conditions?
- Do you always pay rent on time?
Mention everything that would make you an ideal tenant, and why your landlord wouldn’t want to lose you as a tenant. Landlords don’t want to lose tenants, especially good ones. Opening up this way will remind your landlord that they should also want to keep you as a tenant.
Next, ask your landlord if the new lease agreement has any additional fees included. This includes:
- Pet fees
- Amenity fees
- Parking fees
- Utility fees
- Storage fees
- Renewal fees
It’s also important to understand what other additional fees you’ll make to continue living where you are. When you compare these fees to similar properties in your area, are they more or less than what you normally pay?
Finally, it’s time to start asking your landlord about changes to the lease. Decide what you believe is most important for your lease renewal.
For instance, let’s say you can afford additional fees and rent, even with a dramatic increase in market value, but you want to get a pet. If there’s something important to you that would suit your needs in your current home, make that clear to your landlord.
When negotiating, ask your landlord these 7 questions:
- Are there any major changes to my lease terms?
- Is there a price increase?
- Can we change the length of the lease agreement?
- Is there any way I can lower the current renewal rate?
- Would you add any upgrades or updates if I were to leave?
- Will you still make the updates if I renew the lease?
- Is there anything you’re willing to negotiate further on?
Remember that even if there is an increase in market value, your landlord cannot match the market price unless your space is comparable to other properties.
If you’re unsure about the fairness of your new lease agreement, you can always call My Case Helper for a free consultation with a tenant lawyer in your area.