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How to Negotiate a Rent Reduction with Your Landlord During a Recession

Recessions are hard. A tenant may have accepted a lease agreement in good faith with the expectation of continued income, but later discovers that circumstances change. Rent that was once easy to pay can suddenly become difficult, or even impossible, to pay. As a result, many tenants are considering applying for a rent reduction under such difficult conditions.

Considering asking for a rent reduction is not the same as asking for or getting a rent reduction. It takes a combination of honesty, planning, courage, and desperation to successfully negotiate a rent reduction. If you need to lower your rent, there are some essential tips on how to approach your landlord with your request.

Landlords often find it preferable to grant a rent reduction rather than force a current tenant to move and then incur the expense of finding a replacement tenant. Tenants who can negotiate a rent reduction also save themselves the time and expense of searching for other rentals.

While no landlord wants to hear a tenant say they can’t pay rent as pre-negotiated, during prolonged economic downturns landlords are often willing to be flexible with existing tenants. If you can’t pay your rent, it’s best to be honest with your landlord, so be prepared to approach him as soon as you learn of his situation.

When you meet with your landlord, explain why your income has decreased. Your employer may have reduced your hours, reduced your pay, or both. Avoid being emotional about the situation; discuss this logically with your landlord. Seasoned homeowners will have weathered economic downturns before. The chances are high that they will understand and maybe even appreciate that you come to them as soon as you realize your income is declining.

Particularly during prolonged recessions, it may be helpful to inquire about rental rates for similar units in your area. Providing current rental rate comparisons to your landlord can give you an additional bargaining chip.

If your research shows that other tenants in your area are paying lower rates for similar units, this may be helpful in negotiating a lower rent. Landlords will generally want to keep some income rather than lose all income from their rental unit.

Be sure to negotiate directly with your landlord. If the resort uses a management company, deal with the most senior person available to you. Have proof available as to why your income was reduced, and be sure to remind them that you have always paid your rent on time in the past.

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