If you’re in the market to move into a new rental property, then money (and how you can save it) has probably been on your mind a lot lately. There are some tried and tested ways that you can save on rent, such as moving into a cheaper area and sharing the cost of rent with housemates. But many of us don’t think to tackle the cost of rent directly, by simply asking for a better deal.

Given that rent is an exxy and ongoing expense, your wallet will thank you for making the effort to shave a bit off this cost. If negotiating doesn’t come naturally to you (trust me, you’re not alone), the potential savings from asking to pay less rent could give you more incentive.

You could save over $3,000 per year!

New research from finder.com.au has found that Sydneysiders could save $3,120 per year by negotiating your house rent, and $2,132 per year for negotiating your apartment rent. These are big savings that you could be putting towards longer-term financial goals like saving for a house, which would mean you could get out of the rental market sooner and become a first home owner.

Rental prices have been falling and stagnating in Sydney and Melbourne recently, making now a great time to ask for a lower rent. For example, in Gordon, house rental prices have dropped by almost 20 per cent over the past year. Many rental properties are now being advertised with a rental range (e.g. $450 to $500 per week) rather than a set price, which leverages the negotiating power for renters. With this change in the market, landlords may be more willing to accept reduced rent.

Below are some practical tips to help you get your landlord to say ‘yes’ to lower rent.

Negotiating tips-

  • Know what you want. Tell your landlord how much you want to be paying for rent. This will show that you’re confident and you mean business. Make sure you’ve been over your budget and can justify the rent you’re asking for.

  • Do your research. Make sure you know what the average rental price in your area is, so you know what you’re talking about and don’t get turned down by your landlord.

  • Know your worth. If you’ve been a respectful, reliable, quiet and tidy tenant and you have a good reference from a previous landlord, don’t be afraid to ‘toot your own horn’. Most landlords would be more willing to keep a tenant like you happy, rather than risk letting a bad tenant move in.

  • Be willing to compromise. If your landlord won’t budge on the rent, use the opportunity to ask for an upgrade on your appliances or facilities, or offer to sign a longer-term lease at a fixed rental price (to avoid any rent increases).

  • Pick the right time. Rental vacancies are usually higher in the November through February holiday period, which makes this the perfect time for you to ask, as your landlord will want to make sure they keep their premises let.

  • Negotiate face-to-face. Sending an email or a text makes it too easy for your landlord to say no (and gives them time to think about why). When taking on your negotiations, make sure you do it in person.

Remember that the worst that can happen is your landlord says no. And even if this does happen, at least you’ll know where you stand and can focus on other ways to save on rent, some of which are outlined below.

Consider renting in a cheaper area

Most of us want to live as close to work as we can, to maximise our sleep-ins and minimise the time we spend travelling. However, this convenience usually comes at a high (rental) price. Generally, the further outside the city you live, the cheaper your rent will be, and this saving will probably outweigh the little bit extra you pay for transport.

10/6 Newman Avenue, Carnegie, VIC

Find a housemate

If you live near a major city, you should be able to jump online and easily find a housemate who’s looking to rent a room. Sharing your place with a housemate or two means you can also get them to pay for some of the rent and bills, which eases the pressure on your own finances. Just make sure they’re clean and tidy and can afford to pay the rent every month.

Whether you’re new to the rental market or have been renting your whole life, all renters can benefit from putting their negotiating hat on and asking for a better deal. With a little preparation, you could reduce your rent by a lot and kick your bigger financial goals sooner.

Author

Bessie Hassan is a Money Expert at finder.com.au, the site that compares virtually everything. She regularly appears on national radio, TV, and throughout online publications sharing her best money-saving tips and property advice. She's passionate about helping Australians make more informed decisions so they can improve their quality of life.

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