How to Negotiate a Lease Renewal

Last year, I moved into a giant one-bedroom with level floors, six windows, three closets, and no mice. It's wonderful, and I love living there. This came after four years of your standard apartment nightmares: roommate tension, pest infestations, and unwelcome sexual advances from landlords. It was time to stop settling, and really like where I lived. I saw an apartment, fell in love, and after some negotiation, agreed to pay $1,325 a month for it. That’s much more than what I'd normally pay, but for once, I needed real closet space. I deserved level floors.

Then the thing that happens to most of us occurred a year later: I received a renewal lease with a drastic rent increase I was prepared to pay. First year leases are priced low to fill the unit quickly. Then landlords assume you’ll be too broke and/or lazy to move, so they increase the price, make their money back, and don’t have to paint the walls again. So far, you’re losing this game. Luckily, it really is possible to satisfy both parties, as long as you have some room to negotiate.