Posted on: 16 March 2016
According to experts, nearly half of all renters are living in housing they cannot afford. We all want to live in the best possible neighborhood and have the best possible apartment, but with rents rising astronomically, you may need to use some tricks of the trade to get the apartment you want.
Look for Private Landlords
Big apartment complexes owned by corporations usually have strict rules concerning rents and deposits, with no wiggle room. A private landlord is more likely to work with someone they like and want as a tenant. They may be willing to work out a payment plan for the deposit, or give a lower rent in exchange for having you pay half twice a month instead of a lump sum once a month. You may also be able to get a non-refundable pet deposit turned into a refundable one after a certain amount of time with no damage to the apartment. Signing a long-term lease or putting more money up front may also get you a lower rent.
Simply asking "What do you need done that I can do for rent credit?" may get you a better deal. For example, if the landlord takes care of the yard, ask if you can do yard work in exchange for rent credit. If they have children, try bartering child care services, or for a pet, offer to walk the dog or care for their pets when they go out of town. If you have a talent, such as playing guitar or piano, offer to give them or their children lessons in barter. Find a need, and offer to fill it.
Offer to Do Your Own Minor Repairs
If you're handy with household repairs, ask about doing some of your own repairs and maintenance for a lower rent. Just make sure you specify that you won't cover anything prohibitively expensive or that requires a licensed professional. Minor repairs might include replacing a ceiling fan or light fixture that breaks, replacing a worn-out kitchen faucet or repairing a broken window pane. Always send a copy of receipts for purchases and the number of work hours along with your rent, and keep a copy for your records. If you start spending more than your discount covers, ask to renegotiate the arrangement.
If you find the perfect apartment, but can't really afford the rent, get creative in your negotiations. Often, private landlords are willing to bend in order to get a reliable tenant, so don't be afraid to ask for what you'd like, and you may find yourself getting most of it.
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