Many people living in apartments are content where they are.
They enjoy the amenities, have friendly neighbors and are in a good location.
If this is the case for you, you won’t want to wait until the last minute to renew your apartment lease.
If you take initiative and act early, you will reduce the stress of negotiating a lease and be sure the agreement meets your needs. To help, we have a list of eight steps you need to take for a successful lease renewal.
Mark your calendar with important dates that you’ll need to remember. It can be helpful to add a reminder on your phone as well. The most important date to know is when your lease is up. This termination date can be found in the lease.
As mentioned above, you’ll be able to find the lease termination date in your lease. By reading your lease carefully, you’ll also be able to find other important details. When do you need to notify your apartment manager of your decision to renew your lease or move out? Do you need to notify them 30 or 60 days in advance? Mark that date on your calendar, as well.
A month or two before the deadline for lease renewal or termination, talk to your landlord or property manager about your options. Will there be a rent increase? Can you move to another unit in the same community? Do you need to add or remove a roommate? Do you require some reasonable upgrades to be made to the apartment? These can all be negotiated. Make sure to ask for any agreements made to be made in writing.
It’s decision time. Once you have all the details of what would be included in your new lease, you can make an informed decision. Give yourself time to really think about if a lease renewal is right for you, but remain aware of the dates you found at the beginning of this process.
Write a letter. Once your decision is made, submit a letter to your apartment management team, informing them of your decision. If you negotiated any special arrangements with your apartment manager, include this information and any supporting documents. Be sure to keep a copy for your personal files.
If you’ve decided to renew, you’ll be asked to sign a new lease. This will reflect any change in terms and designate the period of the new agreement. Read the new lease carefully, making sure you understand what the technical language means and that all the new arrangements are reflected in the lease. If something isn’t written down in the lease, it’s not going to be legally binding, so you want to make sure everything is included before signing.
Once you have thoroughly read the new apartment lease and are comfortable with the terms, sign it to make things official. An apartment community representative will sign it, as well.
Once the lease is signed, be sure to keep a copy in your files. If you have any future problems or questions, the answers are likely outlined in your lease. Before you file, be sure to put the new lease renewal date in your calendar!
When considering a lease renewal, be sure to consider your property manager’s point of view when bargaining.
There are pros and cons that your property manager will consider when reviewing your lease renewal request. Make sure to keep this in mind as you’re negotiating your new lease terms.
It’s cheaper to have a tenant stay in a property than finding a new one. If a tenant leaves, the property manager has to pay their deposit back, make any home improvements, list the property, show the property and vet potential tenants. Use this to your advantage when negotiating a rent reduction or other lease details.
When renting to a new tenant, there is always the chance they are not going to follow the rules or pay rent on time. If you’ve been a good tenant during your stay, be sure to use that to your advantage when negotiating a lease renewal.
Keeping a tenant in the property will reduce the amount of time spent with the place vacant. If the property manager has to show the apartment for a month before filling it, that’s a month of rent they lost out on in addition to having to pay the mortgage on the property. Be sure to highlight this vacancy issue if you’re getting pushback from the property manager.
A downside to staying in place is that there may be rent increases. While many states have rent control, there is the chance that your property manager will raise the rent if you stay. They may take your ability to pay on time and desire to stay as an opportunity to get more money out of you.
Another option the property manager may be considering is a renovation. If the apartment is older and needs some work, they may renovate so they can increase their asking price. This may inhibit you from renewing your lease.
Another consideration is whether you’ll have a long term lease renewal or continue month-to-month.
Month-to-month leases can be ended upon 30-days notice by either you or the property manager. This option provides more flexibility if you are in the process of looking for a new home or considering moving cities. The con is that there is usually a large rent increase because tenants don’t typically stay for very long.
A long term lease renewal is where the tenant and property manager agree on a new lease with a new end date. The new lease is typically for a year or two. This provides stability to both people. The owner can still raise the rent, but the amount isn’t usually as much because they know they have a reliable amount of income.
If you take the time and steps necessary, apartment lease renewal can be a breeze. At the end of the process, you can rest easy knowing you have a familiar and comfortable place to call home.
Looking for more information on leasing an apartment? Check out resources like how to ask your landlord to lower rent and tips for requesting permission to have a pet on our renter resource page.