No one likes a rent increase, but landlords often increase rent to keep up with maintenance costs, cover repairs, and cope with inflation. While the reasons for the increase may be fair, it doesn’t make it easier on you, the tenant. Especially when juggling budgeting, debt, and other expenses, it can be tough to figure out the steps you need to take next. Luckily, the four moves you need to make are easy to do and will save you big in the long run.
Make Sure You’ve Read Your Agreement
If the words “rent increase” are setting off alarm bells in your head, then listen to your gut and review the rental agreement you signed prior to moving in. Nine times out of ten, that contract will mention your landlord’s ability to raise the rent. In some agreements, it will specify that rent can only be increased with a 30 or 60 days written notice, while others will stipulate that your rent can only be increased when your original lease is up.
Regardless of what’s in your lease, make sure that your landlord is sticking to the agreed-upon terms and fulfilling their responsibility to protect you and your budget. If, for example, your contract states that your rent can only go up by 5% and your landlord tries to raise it by 7%, you should schedule a meeting and remind them of the terms of your initial lease. A quick glance at your agreement and a 10-minute phone call could save you time and money down the road!
Flex Your Negotiation Skills
Once you’ve read your lease and confirmed that this rent increase is valid (and a total bummer), it’s time to channel your inner lawyer and begin negotiating everything. While you can try to negotiate a smaller increase directly, you may be able to barter a better deal in more creative ways. If you’ve been a model tenant, offering to sign an extended lease agreement in exchange for a lower rent can save you money and save your landlord the headache of finding a new renter. As a rule of thumb, the longer the lease, the lower your landlord should be willing to go.
If you’re on a roll, don’t stop at your landlord! Give your mobile provider, your cable provider, and even your insurance provider a call to see if they can offer you a special offer or a loyalty discount. Especially if you let it slip that you’re shopping around, you’d be surprised what kind of deals you might be offered! Negotiating some of these monthly expenses down can make budgeting for an increase in rent a bit easier.
Consider Other Options
If you can’t negotiate down your rent increase, it’s time to lay all the cards out on the table and begin considering other options – beginning with finding other rental properties. Start by looking at similar properties with similar amenities in your area with lower rent prices. Think of it as a win-win: If you discover the place of your dreams and decide to relocate, that’s great; But if you can use this lower rent to entice a discount out of your landlord, that’s just as good.
Let’s say your landlord is more stubborn than a stuck zipper and you can’t find a property that meets all your criteria. At this point, it might be time to consider recruiting a roommate. While we all like our privacy, having an extra person around means having someone to share living expenses with, including rent and utilities. In fact, you may be able to save around 29% of your income according to some experts. The best part? Finding a roommate is easier than ever with roommate matchmaking websites like SpareRoom.com or Roommates.com and Facebook or Reddit groups for your city.
However, if you’ve crunched the numbers and would prefer not to share your space with a roommate, it may be time to re-evaluate your city. After all, your location and the high rents that come with it shouldn’t be the thing you organize your life around forever! While you may currently live in a place that has an abundance of professional or personal opportunities for you, it may be time to take stock of whether these things will serve your financial goals in the long run. If the answer is no, it may be time for a fresh start in a less expensive location.
Slash Your Debt & Free Up Room In Your Budget
If you’re struggling with debt, a rent increase can add a tremendous weight to your shoulders. While you may not be able to negotiate your rent down, there are ways to decrease your debt and free up room in your budget!
One way is to take out a lower-rate personal loan to consolidate your debt and save on interest. Not only will all of your debt payments get rolled into one affordable monthly amount, but it also means that budgeting becomes easier and less tedious!
Don’t Let Rent Get In the Way of Your Goals
A rent increase doesn’t have to get in the way of your financial goals, whether they be saving money, making a big purchase, or paying down debt!
There are many strategies you can use to compensate for a rent increase, including using a personal loan from Credit Direct to consolidate your debt. Check offers in minutes with no effect to credit score!