If there's one thing tenants should know before renting, it's that rental costs are not fixed. Negotiation margins (the difference between your asking price and the price the landlord is prepared to accept) can be quite high, so it's worth your time to negotiate before signing an agreement.
For some tenants out there, the idea of negotiating on housing rent may seem intimidating, but it is worth it in the long run. So how does the negotiation work? When should you negotiate your rent? Why is it necessary to negotiate the rent? How does one get down to asking the landlord to lower the rent? Here’s what you need to know to negotiate your rent the right way.
Can you actually negotiate rent?
Yes. The willingness of a landlord to negotiate rent will vary, but it does happen frequently. Landlords typically include risk in their rental fees so that they can cover the costs if a tenant is late on their payment or breaches their contract. If your rental application is exceptional, you may have some negotiating opportunities as landlords normally want tenants who are dependable and financially secure.
When Should You Negotiate Your Rent?
Knowing when to negotiate is one of the most critical components of negotiating the rent. In general, the following scenarios yield the best results when it comes to it:
Rental has remained on the market for a long time
The reality for some landlords is, even in a strong market, a home may not be rented. Perhaps it is missing certain features or has drawbacks that make it unappealing to many potential tenants. If you can work with what the area or the home has to offer, you can capitalize on its unpopularity and ask for a lower rent.
Falling rental market
It only makes sense to offer a lower price if local rental market prices are falling. This was especially true in 2020-2021 when the economic effects of the pandemic were weighing on rental prices. Due to the decline in demand, many landlords had no choice but to lower the rental prices in order to attract tenants and ensure occupancy of their property. As many businesses closed down, employees who got laid off may have been forced to move out of their homes, creating vacancies. Apart from that, many expats who lived in Malaysia had to return to their countries due to uncertainty and the locals who were still working, were allowed to do so remotely, thus eliminating any reason to rent near the office or in the city, which are often located in a high-demand area.
You're not in a hurry
If you truly need a new place right now, there probably won’t be many options for you other than to pay the asking price. However, if you're just starting to consider moving, you can afford to take a chance and see what happens.
Your contract is about to expire
During the course of your tenancy, a lot of things may happen. If the rental market has altered since you signed your last contract, you're unsure whether to renew or move on, or you've lost income during the tenancy, you can try to renegotiate the rental price. If you've been proven to be a good tenant, you may have some luck as replacing you would cost the landlord time and money.
Why should you negotiate the rent price?
Should you try to haggle if you can pay the asking price? Why shouldn’t you! Consider the benefits you get from negotiating when it comes to:
If you're worried that you're not receiving enough value for your money, negotiating can help you relax by allowing you to explore your choices and come up with a win-win solution. Some rental homes are just overpriced. It only makes sense to strive to obtain the most value for your money unless you're independently wealthy. So make sure you’re paying for the best value and negotiating can help you with that.
Even if you only save RM100 per month, over the course of a year, you'll have saved RM1,200. Some people who managed to get up to RM200 reduction may save up a lot more every month, which equates to RM2,400 within a year! Other than the monthly rent, you’re also deducting a lot on the deposits.
For example, if you manage to reduce RM200 from an RM2,000 monthly rent, then your deposits would be:
Security deposit (2 months) = RM3,600
Utility deposit (½ month) = 900
So instead of RM5,000, you will only be paying RM4,500!
It makes a huge difference that enables you to have more financial freedom. Why not save as much money on rent as possible, so you can spend the amount that you have saved up on other matters, whether to pay off debt or put it towards a vacation fund?
More established landlord-tenant relationship
Many individuals are afraid of upsetting their landlord by negotiating rent. However, if you negotiate honestly and fairly, the landlord may regard you from a different perspective. You may be perceived as a responsible, communicative and valued tenant rather than a faceless renter. It’s equally important to them to know about you and what you have in mind regarding the rent, and especially if they are keen on you, they may want to keep you by tolerating the offer.
How to Negotiate Rent
Be clear on what you want
You're at the mercy of the landlord if you go into a rental agreement without a figure in mind - the rent you desire. Your landlord's duty is to figure out how much money to charge you each month so that they may maximize their profit margins.
That's why you'll need to know the specific figure you're looking for in your rent discussions. This figure will differ from person to person and will be heavily influenced by where you reside. For example, someone living in Cyberjaya would expect different rent than someone in Mont Kiara, or someone living in a unit with no access to free parking would want a cheaper rent than the units that come with free parking.
You can go to Instahome page to view all the homes available, along with its content. Using the page, you can compare your dream home to the average price for a, for example, similar-sized condo in your city and neighborhood. This will assist you in determining an appropriate rent decrease amount.
Negotiating rent doesn't have to be limited to the amount you pay your landlord. Other items that you can include are:
- Free Parking
- Guest parking passes
Even if you can't acquire the precise rent you desire, you can still save money by negotiating for these additional characteristics. Whatever it is, just remember to be specific when negotiating. Saying "the rent is too pricey" isn't enough as it is too ambiguous, and it also implies that you want to pay less yet have no idea how much the home is worth. You would think that the landlord will just drop the price, but this is unlikely. So yes, make sure you know what you want!
Timing the negotiation properly
Like any other commodity, home rentals have their boom and bust. There are periods when landlords would have several vacant units to fill. Then there are times when tenants are scrambling to rent a home. When you negotiate your terms at the right time, you have a greater chance of achieving the rental price that you want.
But how do you know when it's time to renegotiate the rent? To learn more about the property you're interested in, you'll need to use some detective abilities to dig some information on it from the internet.
For example, if the property has been unrented for a long time, or there’s a known issue with the home or anything else regarding the house's past that would normally repel tenants, take note of this useful information. You can use it to your advantage when negotiating. Explain to the landlord that they've had a vacant property for a long time and that you're interested in alleviating their concerns, but with a little trade-off in the form of a discount on your monthly rent.
Another perfect moment to start bargaining on reduced rental pricing is when the market is not performing well. As mentioned previously, economic downturns and pandemics, for example, might make landlords more receptive to your demands. ‘Desperate times call for desperate measures’ applies to every sector and the best thing you can make out of this is to make the most out of it.
Understand the rental market
The first step in negotiating rent is to conduct preliminary research. Take a look around to see what the rental rates are in the area. To put it another way, compare apples to apples. Look at other new projects if you're interested in a new development.
Make sure you understand the available amenities and how they compare to the apartment you're considering. For example, if one nearby apartment has covered parking, a gym, and a pool, you should compare it to another with similar amenities. After all, those extras raise the rental cost. You can highlight this issue when negotiating rent with the landlord. You can find out the rent for each apartment on Instahome’s listing page here.
Although rental fees are not hidden, they might fluctuate from day to day. So before you talk to your landlord about making a bargain, make sure to jot down the competing rent that is lower than the one offered for your unit. A lower rate in a comparable apartment might help you negotiate a lower price for your own.
Price for value exchange
Making the other person feel like they are also gaining something too is the best way to get down to negotiation. Consider what you can offer to the landlord in exchange for a lower rent by asking yourself these questions:
Are you willing to sign a longer contract?
If you plan on staying for an extended period of time, this might be a significant negotiation point. If the contract is just for 12 months, see if they are willing to lower the monthly payment in exchange for signing a 2-year contract. It's an excellent argument to give someone a reduced monthly rent price if you don't have to locate new renters every 12 months as they can save time and money.
They save the time that it takes to settle disputes, screen tenants and secure the suitable one, conduct viewings, preparing the unit for the next tenant, among other things. As for money, getting new tenants means that they have to market their home, either by paying for a listing platform or hiring an agent. Other than that, they also have to bear the vacancy cost if the unit is not rented out after a few months, on top of the additional furnishing and maintenance costs to attract other new tenants to replace you.
Is it possible to pay for several months in advance?
Many landlords would be overjoyed if they didn't have to worry about chasing down late rent payments (which is a tremendous nuisance that no one enjoys). Your landlord may be ready to give you a monthly discount if you pay for a few months in advance.
Are you willing to give up a parking spot?
This may be something to give your landlord if you don't have a car or don't anticipate having many guests with cars. They may be able to rent the excess space to another tenant in exchange for a discount.
Is the rental pet-friendly, but you don't have one?
Cleaning a unit after a pet-owning renter leaves may take up a lot of time and money for your landlord. So it doesn’t hurt to check with the landlord to see if you may use your lack of a pet as a negotiating point.
Can you recommend the landlord’s other inhabited unit or room to others?
If the landlord has several other empty units or rooms that need to be rented out, you can try to request cheaper rent in exchange for free marketing. We are well aware of the power of word-of-mouth marketing so you may have some luck in this.
Everything has a monetary worth, and almost anything is fair game for bargaining or trading. Don't be scared to inquire about your landlord’s requirements. You could aid each other if it turns out the landlord does have price flexibility. After all, a win-win situation is the best way to seal the deal.
Get a Professional to negotiate on your behalf
All these suggestions may come in handy if you do have some basic negotiating skills. However, you can seek assistance if you're uncomfortable with bargaining or don't know how would your unique circumstances enable you to leverage. After all, this is the market where having a professional negotiate on your behalf would be beneficial.
Where do you find help? Well, you are looking directly at it - Instahome! At Instahome, we work with our preferred agents to find you not only the best home but also the best deal for you. We can help negotiate the rent on your behalf by advising you on what price similar units are renting for, whether a building has plenty of vacant homes and whether a home has been on the market for a long time.
Our website is also complete with all the information you need on a home, from the rental price to the facilities to the free VR tour of the home, so that when you’re doing your homework, you can rely on Instahome page to assist you with what you need. What do you have to do first? Well, just sign up with us, for free!
In the end, asking for a rent reduction can only work in your benefit and you have nothing to lose from it. The worst thing that can come out of it is the landlord saying “no”; and the best thing is - if they say “yes” - then you’re looking at savings of RM1000 a year or more!
Therefore, it’s essential to understand what you want, portray yourself as a responsible tenant, understand the rental market, incentivize the landlord with added values and most importantly, get Instahome to do the negotiation for you!
Do your homework today and check all the homes we have on our website.