Negotiating A Landlord Down By 10%

A Padfever user recently negotiated their new lease down by about 10%. We asked them how they did and thought it would make a great story to share.

For the purposes of this post, we'll be referring to the source(s) of this story as Anonymous Hedgehog (AH) and all other roommates as roommates.

Story

AH was looking for a place to live in San Francisco recently. Before venturing out and applying to places, they did the following:

  1. Found areas they wanted to live in.
  2. Calculated upper limits that they were willing to pay.
  3. Analyzed the market and calculated rent ranges in the areas they wanted to live in.

Actively Searching

AH used Craigslist, Trulia, and Zillow to find places to live. They applied to several places and saw as many as 5 places in one day. They looked at placed in North Beach, Nob Hill, SOMA, etc. Eventually, it came down to two places: one in North Beach and one Nob Hill.

The two units were different. The North Beach one was an old victorian house that came unfurnished and priced at $4900. The Nob Hill one came furnished, was managed by a newer property management company, and was priced at $5500.

Negotiation

The San Francisco rent market has been in a free-fall ever since COVID-19 hit. This gave AH elevated confidence that they could negotiate landlords down and get a more fair rent. They intended on negotiating the North Beach unit down to $4600 and the Nob Hill unit down to $5000 (or $5200 w/ parking).

Negotiations succeed for the Nob Hill unit. They had a good sense of the market since they had seen several other units. They also had other listings to rely on to push the price down.

Take Aways

Anonymous Hedgehog was able to negotiate down a new lease from the listed price by doing the following:

  1. Knowing the fair market rent for the area before hand.
  2. Having a few comparable units to use as an example for negotiation.
  3. Applying to a few different places in case negotiations fall through.

The current market conditions give renters negotiation power. Several listings are posted for months before they lower their prices and fill their vacancies.