If you’re experiencing financial hardship because of coronavirus, you may need to ask your property manager to reduce or defer rent.
You’re perfectly within your rights to ask your property manager for a rent reduction if you need it.
Most people don’t request a rent reduction because they don’t think they can. But with the right approach and the right information, it’s certainly a feasible way to lower your monthly spending.
Will your landlord agree to your terms? Maybe, maybe not. But you have nothing to lose by asking.
To help you negotiate for a lower rent price, we have a rent reduction letter template and additional information to consider when making this request.
Aside from wanting to cut down on your cost of living, there are a few situations that will cause you to ask for a rent decrease.
You may have fallen into financial hardship that you couldn’t have planned for. Whether this is losing your job due to the coronavirus outbreak or having unexpected medical bills from an accident, a decrease in rent could give you some relief. If this is the case, be sure to highlight that as responsible as you are, this situation could not have been planned for.
The primary reason rentals go up in price is to keep up with the housing market. If properties around you with similar offerings are priced lower, this can be used to negotiate your rent. Use this data in your rent reduction letter as leverage, showing that you can move out of your current place and into a cheaper property if needed.
Are you spending additional money on amenities that your apartment doesn’t offer? The cost of visiting the laundry mat or paying for a gym can add up. If your current apartment complex doesn’t have the amenities that comparably priced apartments in your area do, bring this to the attention of your property manager. The apartment manager might consider adding these amenities or reducing your rent price.
The amount of decrease you ask for will make or break your case. Be sure you’re asking for a realistic reduction based on the going rate in your neighborhood (both in your complex and others in the area).
It will be helpful to ask your friends who live in your area what they’re paying and if they’ve successfully been able to negotiate their rent. Don’t be afraid to canvas some neighbors to get an idea of what they are paying — it’s not impolite. In fact, if they are paying too much, they’ll be happy to know so that they can ask for a rent reduction themselves. This is your key piece of the negotiation and what will ultimately win over your property manager.
A rent reduction can be requested at any time, but it will be considered most seriously when you are renewing your lease.
If you’ve fallen under an unexpected financial hardship, as many have with the spread of coronavirus, you may want to ask for a rent reduction as soon as possible. If this is the case, be sure to ask before your rent for the next month is due. Showing that you are planning ahead for the next month will make you appear more reliable and display you’re working to fix your situation.
Another option is to ask for a temporary rent reduction. If your work has halted during the quarantines you may need a little rent relief during this time. Ask your property manager if they would be willing to reduce your rent for these couple of months until you can get back on your feet again.
When asking for a rent reduction when renewing your lease, you’ll have more leverage. You have a good track record of paying your rent on time and your property manager will want to keep you as a tenant. This rent reduction letter can be used during the negotiation process when renewing your lease. If you make a good case, the property manager will be more likely to lower the rent.
In addition to comparing rental prices in the area and pointing out lacking amenities, there are a few items that can be used to make a solid case for rent reduction.
If you have a good track record of paying rent on time, your property manager will be more willing to hear your case. If you haven’t made rent on time, the chances of them wanting you to stay will be slim.
Maintaining the property and keeping it in good condition will make all the difference. This makes less work for the property manager when you move out. Mention that you’ve kept the apartment in good condition and offer to take photos or have a walk-through to prove it.
Being a good neighbor can go a long way. If your apartment manager hasn’t had to remedy any situations with you and your neighbors in the past, they will likely want to keep you in the property.
When an apartment is vacant, the owner is losing money. Remind them of this cost and the additional time and fees that finding a new tenant will entail. If the property was on the market for a while before you applied, be sure to mention this.
Negotiating a rent decrease is all about give and take. Be sure to mention what you are willing to give in return for this rent relief. Offer to sign onto a longer lease term to ensure they will be paid rent consistently for a longer period of time. You can also offer to pay for the first few months upfront, if that fits into your budget.
Whether you are facing financial hardship in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic or just came on hard times, here’s a sample letter to ask your property manager to lower rent. Simply fill in your specific information and personalize it based on your situation. Then mail or email this letter to your property manager. Be sure to keep a version on file for yourself.
Current Address of Your Apartment with Unit Number
City, State, Zip Code
Landlord Or Apartment Company’s Name
Address as Printed on Your Lease
City, State, Zip Code
Re: Request to Lower Monthly Rent Payment
Dear (property manager’s name),
I wanted to contact you today to ask if we could discuss lowering my rent. I love living here but lately, finances have been difficult and a slight reduction in rent would go a long way in helping.
It’s important to me to be a good and responsible tenant. I have always paid my rent on time and in full. I've maintained the apartment in good condition, and I have been kind and respectful to both you and my neighbors. I don’t believe you could ask for a more conscientious resident.
I have done my research into rents in the area, and I believe a slight reduction is reasonable compared to what others are paying. After speaking with some of my neighbors and examining rates for similar units in the neighborhood, I have a good idea of what is realistic.
I would like to request a (dollar amount here) reduction of my monthly rent, which is in line with the neighborhood average. I believe this is a fair rate and would help me retain residence here, which is very important to me.
There are also many benefits to you if I stay, including avoiding the expense and hassle of listing the vacancy, readying the apartment for a new tenant, going through the application process and the possibility of loss of rental income while you search for a new tenant.
In exchange for your generosity, I would like to know if there is something I could do for you as well. If you wish, I could pre-pay the first month or two of the new rate, sign a longer lease commitment or extend the termination notice time an extra month or two. I am open to ideas.
I do enjoy living here, but I can save money by moving elsewhere. I am hoping it doesn’t come to that and we can agree on new terms. Please let me know your thoughts at your convenience. If you wish to discuss this further, do not hesitate to reach out.
Your Name and Signature
Your Apartment Address and Unit Number
Your Phone Number
Your Email Address
There’s always a chance that your property manager won’t want to lower the rent. If you’ve made your case and they still won’t lower your rent, you have a few options.
Despite the higher rent, you may decide to stay put. Moving costs can add up and finding a new place might be time-consuming. If you’re happy with your apartment you might decide to take a look at your budget and cut costs in other areas of your spending.
If you decide to stay, be sure to let your apartment manager know in the timeframe outlined in your lease. This is usually 30 days before the end of your lease.
If you are asking for a price decrease because other properties in your area have lower rent, you may consider moving to one of them. You’ve already done the research and found a comparable option that will cost you less money.
Housing is priced based on location. If you look for apartments in other neighborhoods, you can probably find housing that is in your price range.
Search your city on Apartment Guide’s website and narrow down the results based on your budget. Use the map feature and draw a circle around the area of the map that you would be comfortable living in. Add any additional filters such as the number of bedrooms and if you are looking for a pet-friendly property. This will narrow down your results and provide more affordable apartment options.
In the end, asking for a rent reduction can only work in your benefit. You don’t have much to lose. You’ve made a good case and you’ve highlighted your stellar track record with the property manager and important housing data. If you can, time your request to be within 30-60 days of when you would have to give the notice to move out or when your lease is up.
If your property manager says no, try asking for a temporary reduction for six months or during rental off-peak seasons. Your property manager is human and understands where you’re coming from. The worst he or she can do is say no.