Here’s what expert Susan Edwards told 11Alive.
ATLANTA — It is that time of year when renters are either moving out or renewing their leases with increased monthly rates.
The Atlanta Business Journal reports that Atlanta’s average monthly rent falls around $1,675 – a 19% increase from a year ago. This increase can cause rent renewal rates to spike over $200, but renters should know that landlords do not always have to have the upper hand.
Susan Edwards is the broker and owner of Triumph Realty of Georgia. She told 11Alive the various ways tenants can negotiate their rent renewal rates, and it starts by being a good tenant before negotiations begin.
“If you’re not a good tenant and they have to call you every month and say, ‘where’s the rent’ your possibilities of negotiating are going to be a lot lower,” she said.
Edwards believes the first step to rental negotiation is to pay your rent on time so that landlords can recognize you as a reliable and trustworthy tenant. Keep the property in good condition and allow them to see that the residence is in good hands.
“I think that a landlord would appreciate somewhat of a personal relationship with them and seeing that they are taking care of the property,” she said.
She also suggests not waiting until the last minute to bring up negotiations.
“If they’ve been there six months and say, you know, we signed this year-lease but we see we really like it here. Can we, at this time, negotiate a longer-term lease at the same rate? And so I think not waiting till the last minute, not waiting till somebody drops the bomb.”
If moving is a viable option for a renter, it is important to be aware of other properties in the area – especially if they have numerous vacancies. According to Edwards, developers with open vacancies are more likely to negotiate long-term leases with better rent prices because they are more willing to take in people who can move in right away.
Still, she believes it is important for tenants to be flexible and keep their options open. Do the research and talk to neighboring tenants about their monthly rent. Also, talk to local landlords and developers to see if a better deal is possible. Preparation beforehand puts renters in a better position to get the benefits their seeking.