In a time when rent is actively increasing across the nation, it might be difficult to negotiate a rent decrease.

Rather than looking at how to lower your monthly rent, you will probably have better luck learning how to avoid a rent increase. This will translate to lower housing expenses in the long run.

To help you discover the best way to save on housing costs, we’ve put together the following tips on how to avoid a rent increase.

Always pay rent on time, even early

The better you are as a tenant, the more likely your landlord will avoid increasing your rent. He or she doesn’t want to lose a good renter, just like you don’t want to have to find a new apartment if the rent becomes too high.

The National Association of Realtors recommends landlords determine rent increases solely based on how much their tenants are willing to pay. If they use anything other than this criteria, they run the risk of losing great tenants and may be faced with higher vacancy rates.

Ask to sign a year or two-year lease

Your landlord cannot raise the rent during a fixed term lease. The longer your lease term, the more security you will have in knowing your rent will not go up.

Finding renters and refreshing an apartment after a renter leaves is costly and time-consuming for landlords. If you’re willing to sign a two-year lease, you may be able to negotiate with the landlord for a lower monthly rent.

Stay pet free while renting

Renting with pets often translates into extra fees or security deposits to help cover the costs of any damages caused by your pet.

Monthly pet fees and increased security deposits go hand-in-hand with pet-friendly rental housing. Pet fees can average between $15 to $50 per month and can vary greatly depending on your location, the number of animals and type of pet.

If you want to keep your rental expenses down, wait to get a pet until you own a home or can afford to pay the extra monthly pet rent.

Don’t move

According to a 2017 study by the U.S. Census Bureau, the rate at which renters moved hit a historic low of only 21.7 percent. Why aren’t renters moving as often as they used to? It probably has something to do with the cost of moving.

Moving expenses can add up fast, and the cost of the entire process is often underestimated. Each time you move and sign a new lease agreement, you can expect to pay a lot upfront. In many situations, landlords will expect a security deposit, first and last month’s rent, application fees, possible finder’s or broker’s fees and a pet fee if you have one.

Avoid negotiating for appliance upgrades or expensive repairs

A landlord may raise the rent to pay for new appliances, increased maintenance and other expenses related to the rental property.

If your landlord asks if you want a new washer and dryer or other appliance, ask if it will be coupled with a rent increase. If so, hold out if the one you have is working fine.  Additionally, if there is a maintenance issue, like a clogged toilet or broken window, consider fixing the issue yourself if your lease allows it. Every small issue will cost your landlord time and money to coordinate a repair and he might have to raise the rent in the future to accommodate fixing these problems.

Keep in mind that you should always report maintenance issues because a small problem can lead to a very expensive repair down the line.

Final Thoughts

Rent increases are a normal part of the rental housing market. Some renters are more likely to experience a rent increase depending on the location of their rental, the type of housing and the required maintenance of the property.

While some landlords will raise the rent in small increments every year to avoid a large increase down the road, other landlords choose to avoid rent increases altogether when they have great tenants.

Kaycee Wegener manages marketing and media relations for Rentec Direct and shares industry news, products, and trends within the community. Learn more about Kaycee at www.rentecdirect.com and on Twitter at @thatrentergirl.

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