How to successfully negotiate a residential lease
Home sweet Home?
The most important step in renting a new home is understanding the residential lease. Before signing a rental agreement, tenants should review the contractual clauses and negotiate any aspects of the lease they wish to change. While negotiating with a property owner can be difficult, it’s not impossible.
Propose Alternative Options to the Residential Lease
When negotiating a residential lease, tenants should provide the landlord with appropriate alternatives to the clauses they wish to change. If the renter simply strikes out portions of the contract, the property owner may become frustrated or misunderstand the tenant’s intentions. For instance, if the tenant wishes to negotiate the duration of the lease, they should provide the owner with their desired revision, such as suggesting and writing in an eighteen-month lease in place of a twelve-month one. By clearly stating their desired outcome, tenants can ensure the owner will better understand the logic behind the revisions. Provided with reasonable alternatives, landlords may also be more likely to concede or negotiate with the tenant further.
Understand Local Tenant Laws
Landlord and tenant rights vary by state and country, and it is up to the tenant to know their rights before signing a rental contract. For instance, in New Jersey, landlords must provide reasonable notice to tenants before entering the rental property; therefore, a tenant in New Jersey would want to define “reasonable notice” within the residential lease before signing. On the other hand, tenants in Arizona must be given two days’ notice before a landlord may enter the property, limiting the need for tenants to define the notice period within their lease agreements. By understanding their legal rights, tenants can request proper updates to a lease or strike out illegal clauses without repercussion. If unsure of their rights, renters should consult a lawyer before signing a residential lease.
While negotiating can be nerve racking, it is important to remember that every landlord hopes to find a respectful and responsible tenant for their property. By remaining reasonable, informed and polite, a tenant may be able to successfully negotiate a lease agreement that both works for the renter and the landlord.