How to Negotiate Real Estate Rent in NYC
Rental costs in NYC are notoriously high. Yet, most people will say they’ve only seen their monthly housing expenses rise as tenants, even during the pandemic months when more people were leaving than moving into the city.
The recipe for negotiating your rental costs in NYC has three ingredients.
- Ask for a steeper cut than what you want to get so that both parties have room to negotiate. For example, if you want a 10% decrease, you should ask for at least 20%.
- Talk to your landlord or property manager in good faith. If you don’t budge from your numbers, don’t expect them to give you anything.
- Understand the market conditions. That might mean your bluff about moving out will get called, so it helps to have a backup plan available.
Renters in NYC will have an advantage in 2022. Apartments that used to rent in days are now on the market for several weeks or months at a time. That means tenants have more options to consider and an opportunity to negotiate aggressively.
Every neighborhood is different, and you’ll even see some places where rents are negotiable in one building but not another. That’s why it helps to go into this process with the following tips if you’re trying to get a better price.
Know the Audience in the Negotiation
Landlords negotiate based on their bottom line. If you’re working with an institutional property manager, the decision might be to warehouse the apartments instead of renting them at a lower cost. More significant properties tend to hold firm more often on the rent, although you might get some action on paying the broker’s fee or getting a couple of months comped.
Don’t expect much action if you’re pursuing a rent-stabilized apartment in NYC. Even if the market conditions favor the tenant, when the rent price falls, that cost becomes the permanent rate. At that point, they can only raise the rates again based on what the city dictates.
Understand Your Role as a Tenant
Prospective tenants with a robust application have more leverage to ask for discounts than those who have a history of evictions or payment issues. Landlords are more willing to consider tenants that they’d typically screen out in a strong market, including those furloughed or unemployed, if a guarantor is involved.
Some landlords aren’t requiring proof of having 40 times the monthly rent as part of the application process.
Tenants in good standing are prime candidates for getting some extras. For example, you might ask for a rent reduction, upgrades to the apartment’s appliances, or even new paint and flooring.
Be Willing to Compromise
Some landlords are not able to give tenants a discount on the monthly rent. Many building owners have a mortgage to pay, which means they need a certain amount of income available to take care of those responsibilities. You can ask for different concessions to get more value from your living arrangement, and the possibilities here are almost infinite.
Try to compromise in places that make sense when negotiating, from gym memberships to having more of your daily living expenses covered. For example, you might not get a rental discount, but you could save some money in other areas.
Use Concrete Numbers
Whenever you give someone a range of numbers you find acceptable, you’ll get the highest cost that you mentioned was fair. For example, if you tell a landlord that you’d like to pay between $2,300 and $2,700 on an apartment you’re currently renting for $2,850, you can expect the first counteroffer to be at $2,700 – or a little higher. Always use a concrete figure instead of a price range, and don’t yield your upper hand too quickly.
You might know you’re willing to pay $2,700 per month, but you don’t need to let the landlord know that right away.
Harness the Power of Silence
People feel uncomfortable during silent moments. So when you’re negotiating rent in NYC, consider putting out an offer and then say nothing at all. It’s not unusual to have the other party start making concessions because they don’t like having someone quiet who makes eye contact. Just beware – landlords can use this tactic in their favor.
The best habit to get into when negotiating is to ask open-ended questions and listen to the answers. That information will let you know if you have an opportunity to get a better lease or if it might be time to look for a more affordable apartment elsewhere.