Washington, DC

Photo by PoPville flickr user Beau Finley

“Dear PoPville,

My lease ends this year, and I want negotiate a lower rent. How do I go about doing that?

Background: I live in a large, older apartment building near the 14th St corridor. The building is ok: great staff and neighbors, but aging infrastructure (read: lots of intrusive utility repairs) and pretty much no amenities. Since the beginning of my lease, a half dozen new apartment and condo buildings have opened nearby, with several more on the way. There isn’t just more inventory available — all the new buildings are qualitatively better, and only slightly more expensive than what I’m paying now (let’s call it the $2000 – $2150 range). My lease ends this year, at which point I go month-to-month.

Data: I’ve noticed more empty units in my building lately. Some floorplans are renting for $100-$200 less than when I moved in. I am aware that the marginal costs are in their favor if they choose to balk (moving expenses dis-incentivize me, while someone else’s fresh move-in deposit would cover some of their lost monthly revenue), but the market will only trend down for them and they may want to lock into the highest revenue stream they can get right now. I’m pretty sure that I’m paying slightly more ($100-$150 more) for my unit than the building management is getting on the market right now, so I’d like to meet them in the middle and ask for $50-$75 less each month.

Question: Has anyone successfully re-negotiated a lower rent for their lease? If so, how did you go about doing it?”


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