UrbanTurf Reader Asks: What Are the Chances That My Landlord Will Reduce My Rent?

by Mark Wellborn


In this week’s installment of UrbanTurf Reader Asks, a reader wonders what the chances are that she can get her landlord to reduce her rent for the coming year.

I live in a one-bedroom apartment in Dupont Circle and pay $1,725 a month in rent. I love the apartment and the location, but I know that I am paying a slightly higher monthly rate than other tenants in my building. I am thinking about writing a letter to my landlord asking for a $100 decrease per month before I sign the new lease. Has anyone been successful in getting their rent reduced? If so, how did you go about doing it?

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This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/urbanturf_reader_asks_what_are_the_chances_that_my_landlord_will_reduce_my_/1633


  1. Lauren said at 6:20 pm on Monday December 28, 2009:

    Well, my rent actually went up this year, but only by a little bit, around 1%. I felt it was already fair and since it was such a tiny increase I didn’t bother haggling with my landlord. But if I were already over-paying I definitely would have negotiated - vacancy rates are high right now and they should realize that reducing your rent will cost them less money than having to find another tenant.

  1. JohnBerry said at 7:41 pm on Monday December 28, 2009:

    I would love some guidance on this as well, as I am in a similar situation. Does the economic downturn play into whether or not a landlord will be sympathetic?

  1. Fred said at 11:02 am on Tuesday December 29, 2009:

    If I were you I would find an apartment you like before you try to negotiate.  If I was your landlord I would try to get a new tenant before before I decreased the rent to you. Rents in established areas of DC have not decreased year over year and I would bet he will have it rented before you find a new place.

  1. Sarah Romer said at 11:47 am on Tuesday December 29, 2009:

    As a landlord myself, I wouldn’t be sympathetic to a plea to reduce the rent based on the other rental rates in the neighborhood.  That is the kind of research you should have done before you actually moved into the apartment.  The rental amount is based market value and a number of personal factors including the sale price of the property, mortgage terms and the taxes paid on the unit.  Just because your neighbor has a lower rent does not mean your landlord could even afford to rent to you at that same price.

    That said, my husband and I did negotiate a new payment plan with our tenant because her paychecks started coming on a different schedule.  She essentially pays her rent 10 days late now every month, but we did want to help her out and didn’t want to risk losing her.

    If you are able to make a compelling case - i.e. pay cut - why you couldn’t actually pay your rent and that you were prepared to move out if the rent was not lowered - you might have a chance.  Good luck!

  1. jj said at 11:56 am on Tuesday December 29, 2009:

    many a landlord will offer a rate reduction (or maintain it at the current rate) if you sign a multi-year lease, with a penalty of the difference if you leave prior to the end of the lease term. friends have negotiated this very well and have minimal increases even after the two year lease has expired and they negotiate for 2 more years. all this is of course predicated on paying on time, zero damage to the property, abiding by “condo” rules, etc. the more issues, the higher the rate increase.

  1. SM said at 12:18 pm on Tuesday December 29, 2009:

    As a landlord myself, I think it’s unlikely your landlord would reduce your rent—even though there are new buildings that are having trouble being filled, Dupont Circle is such a choice location that your landlord could likely find a new tenant easily. Also, the likelihood of getting a reduction may depend on the finances of your landlord - if you rent a privately owned condo that was purchased in the last 5 years, chances are the mortgage payments are high and your landlord wouldn’t have much leeway to reduce the price. If the building is owned by a large management company I think they would just say no. I agree though with the suggestion to try to sign a longer lease and use that as leverage to negotiate for lower rent, as I think the security of having the apartment rented for 2 years would be very appealing.

  1. CB said at 1:50 am on Wednesday December 30, 2009:

    Wow $1,725 in Dupont doesn’t sound too bad.  I’m looking for a nice 1 bed near Thomas Circle and I’m only coming up with studios.

  1. mona said at 1:51 pm on Sunday February 14, 2010:

    As a landlord myself the only time I would consider a reduction in rent would be for a multi-year commitment, and that would depend on which rental unit I was renting. I also would take into consideration what type of tenant you have been. I have some tenants who are whinners about everything and don’t have basic knowledge about how to maintain a house (like open the flue on the fireplace before starting fire, don’t overload the washer..etc). I have other tenants that I won’t even consider raising their rent because they have been so great…tell me when things break so I can fix them promptly, pay rent on time, no calls/emails about every little noise, click or problem they have. If these tenants as for a reduction I would gladly do it. For me it is about good tenants.

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