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Now's the time to negotiate: 4 ways to get yourself cheaper rent

Is it time to give your landlord a buzz? (Source: Getty)

If you thought your rent was set in stone, you’re in for a pleasant surprise; you have the right to ask for a better deal.

And the time to strike could well be now, with the latest quarterly rent review by CoreLogic finding that rent prices have fallen across Australia’s capital cities by 0.1 per cent in the last 12 months (as well as in the last month and the last quarter).

(Source: CoreLogic Rent Review – June Quarter 2019)

It’s especially a good time to negotiate if you live in Darwin or Sydney, with rental prices falling 4.7 per ent and 2.7 per cent respectively in the last 12 months.

Looking at the change in rents over the month across the capital cities, rents were lower in Sydney, Darwin and Canberra; they were unchanged in Perth and higher elsewhere,” said CoreLogic research analyst Cameron Kusher.

So now might be the best time to pick up the phone and call your landlord. Here’s what you can do to pay less on your rent:

1. Suss out the market

Rent price is determined by availability on the market, so do your research and find out what the rent is in nearby similar properties. Armed with that knowledge, you can make your case.

“The landlord generally holds the power but there are times and situations where you can absolutely ask for lower rent,” NSW Tenants’ Union Leo Patterson Ross told Domain.

“For example, if you can put forward a credible argument that there isn’t a lot of competition [for the property], you can show you’re the best option.”

If you can see that there’s quite a few properties on the market in your price bracket, you’re in a good position to negotiate, Real Estate Institute of Australia president Malcolm Gunning said.

Similarly, if the property is near great amenities and therefore more competitive, don’t expect for your request to be accepted; but if you’re asking when a peak holiday period is over, you might have better luck.

2. Know what to leverage

After finding out what’s available on the market, find reasons to justify your asking for a lower price, according to realestate.com.au.

For example, you might be paying $280 a week, but the asking price of a similar property down the road is $250 and comes with an added car park space. These details can help you leverage cheaper rent prices for yourself.

3. Your rental history counts

You’ve got a better shot at negotiating if you’ve got a spotless rental history and great references.

“If the applicant looks fabulous on paper and they’ve got great references, then the landlord might say, ‘Right, let’s do it at the $10 cheaper rate this year, but next year we’ll bring it back up to market rates’,” Hocking Stuart Richmond property manager Jo Leonardis told realestate.com.au.

“They’ll be out there actively justifying why they could potentially lease the property at a lower rate.”

4. Just ask

You never know – your area might be experiencing lots of vacancies or available properties and therefore landlords are prepared to be more flexible, so don’t be afraid to just ask.

“Lately what I’ve been seeing is that tenants are becoming a little bit cheeky in trying to get the rents down. Because they know there’s quite a bit of property out there, they think they can sway the landlord by putting an application in and being cheeky by making it a lower rent,” Leonardis said.

“Fifty per cent of the time it might work. I think they’re becoming a little bit more aware that that’s what you can do to get into a property if you really want it, if it’s been vacant for a little while.”

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