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How to Negotiate a Lower Rent and Save Big

If you’re one of the numerous tenants who believe rent in Australian capital cities only goes up, you’re not alone. But the numbers indicate that this long-held notion is actually inaccurate.

In Sydney the average rent for detached houses has decreased by over $50 per week since its peak in 2017. Additionally, apartments in central Melbourne and Brisbane have seen a small drop in average rent since that boom. In certain situations, tenants may also be entitled to a rent decrease, but most never ask – and as the old saying goes, if you don’t ask you won’t receive.

Here are some of our quick tips for negotiating a rental decrease with your landlord so you can save thousands of dollars and give yourself the option of transition from renting to owning.

Do your Homework

Most Aussie landlords are reasonable people, but very few of them will give you a rent decrease just because you want one. That’s why you’ve got to back your request up with convincing facts and hard numbers.

Have a look at similar properties near you on Homes.com.au and take note of the rent they’re charging. If most of them have lower rent that yours, gather a few of the listings and present them with your request as evidence that there is a precedent for lower rental outlays in your area. It may also be worth taking a look at market data and try to identify evidence that the average rent for similar properties in your area has decreased or is comparatively lower than what you are currently paying.

You should also find out about demand for rentals in the area by researching online or talking to a leasing agent. The longer it’s taking to rent out similar properties in the area, the better your chances are of successfully negotiating a rent decrease.

Know When to Play Your Cards

Even if rental amounts in your area are going up you may be legally entitled to a rent reduction in certain circumstances. Laws differ from state to state, but generally these circumstances may include:

  • If your landlord has breached the tenancy agreement.
  • When the property is severely damaged, destroyed or uninhabitable (usually as a result of weather or associated events).
  • If the property has to be sold and purchasers are interrupting your quiet enjoyment of your home.
  • If the property is illegal (e.g. If the area has been rezoned for commercial use only).

If any of these apply to you, it represents a good opportunity to make a request for a rent reduction in writing to your landlord and have photographic evidence if possible.

Understand Your Landlord

From a landlord’s perspective their property is an investment and its purpose is to make money. If you understand that and present your case in a way that makes financial sense for the landlord, you’re far more likely to get a rent reduction.

For example, let’s say you ask for a rent reduction of $15 a week – over the entire year that’s just under $800. If you were to leave and the landlord had to replace you, the lost income from the vacancy and the cost of marketing the property could be far more than that amount.

Be An Excellent Tenant and Keep Your Options Open

If you’ve got a solid track record as a tenant, a long list of references and a stable income your landlord will want to keep you.

This gives you more power in negotiations and it means that it should be relatively easy for you to find another place if your landlord denies your request for a rental decrease. As with most things in life, having options when it comes to properties is always a good thing.

Be Polite and Realistic

When you request a rent decrease always be polite and pleasant. Don’t bring up a laundry list of complaints and have a whinge – explain how giving you a rental decrease makes sense both for your landlord and for you as the tenant.

It’s also important to be realistic. If rents are skyrocketing in your area and there are dozens of people at nearby viewings, it’s unlikely you’ll get a rent reduction. With that said, it’s always worth a try and if you’re polite when you broach the topic there’ll be no harm done.

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