Given the flooded rental market in the UK many of us assume that when it comes to the advertised rent you either pay what’s on offer or you won’t get the property. At TTV we have yet to work out whether this is a myth perpetuated by those who benefit from it or whether it’s actually the truth. However, we do think that the old saying is true – “if you don’t ask you don’t get” – and we know of plenty of people who have managed to knock a few essential pounds off their monthly rent with a bit of clever negotiation. If you’d like to try it next time you move then here are a few tips:
Don’t be vague. Because many of us feel like we’re taking a bit of a liberty asking for a discount on the rent we tend to be nervous about the negotiations. Often, rather than being specific, we’ll just say something along the lines of “it seems quite pricey” and then hope that the good natured landlord or agent will jump in, agree, and identify a lower figure for us. This will rarely work – unless the property has been empty for a long time. Instead, identify exactly how much you’re willing to pay and be bold about stating it.
Remember who you’re talking to. If you tell an agent the rent is too high and offer a £50 a week discount they’re normally confident enough to laugh in your face, whether you’re right about the price or not. However, if you’re dealing with a landlord, most won’t have the same perspective of the rental market and you’re more likely to be able to agree a reasonable discount.
Identify your strengths. You might think that one tenant is just like another these days but put yourself in the position of the landlord and try to get behind what they would want for their property and offer it to them before other tenants do. These are a few good ways to differentiate yourself:
– Can you commit to a longer contract? (remember to get a break clause if you do). If you can sign up for 24 months, for example, that gives the landlord more security of income than the average 12 month tenancy.
– Can you move straight away? Landlords hate empty properties so if you can move in a matter of days then that’s one good reason a landlord might consider dropping the rent.
– Can you pay some of your rent up front? Not normally a requirement for most tenancies but could be useful in negotiations, especially if there are any doubts about your credit record etc.
– Do you have your own furniture? Only applies to unfurnished properties but if you’re up against another tenant who is demanding the landlord furnish the place, your offer of a rent discount and nothing else will seem much more attractive.
It’s not all about the rent. If you’ve tried but the rent seems non-negotiable then remember there are other ways to get yourself a discount too. For example, ask that the rent covers the water bills – that could be £50 a month saved – or that the landlord buys a singular item that would save you money, such as a bed. Ask the landlord to cover the cost of the inventory or to drop an expensive end of tenancy professional clean for leaving the property in the same condition it was in when you arrived instead. Be a bit creative and you could save yourself a bundle.
Disclaimer: This article is provided as a guide. Any information should be used for research purposes and not as the base for taking legal action. The Tenants' Voice does not provide legal advice and our content does not constitute a client-solicitor relationship.
We advise all tenants to act respectfully with their landlords and letting agents and seek a peaceful resolution to problems with their rented property. For more information, explore the articles in our category.
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