‘How I negotiated a $1500 rent reduction’
Author: Jessica Tancred
20 January, 2019
I am an active member of Generation Rent.
Over the past ten years I’ve willingly helped numerous homeowners chip away at their massive mortgages while I’ve sat back, chomping on my smashed avo, copping rent increase after rent increase.
The letters from real estate agents delivering the bad news, a fixture on the fridges of share houses dotted around Sydney, writes Jessica Tancred.
In fact, rents have been on the rise around the country for the past seven years.
According to the latest census the median rent is now $335 a week, up $50 since 2011.
BUT NOW, RENTERS ARE FINALLY GETTING THEIR REVENGE
Recently I decided to try my hand at negotiating a rent reduction, and I won.
Thanks to a little research and one email to my property manager, I’m now saving $1500 a year on rent.
It all started when I noticed a “For Lease” sign on display for weeks out the front of my apartment building in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
Just nine months earlier, I’d filed in like cattle to inspect my soon-to-be home/shoebox, so I was curious to see why it hadn’t already been snapped up.
To my surprise I found a very similar apartment for significantly less than what I pay each week for my one-bedroom unit.
A quick Google search and I discovered yet another apartment in my building for lease just two months prior, also asking for a fraction of my rent.
So I drafted an urgent email to my property manager, containing links to the cheaper properties, and the assurance that I would sign for another year if they agreed to a $30 per week rent reduction.
TO MY DELIGHT, THE OWNER SAID YES
LJ Hooker’s Evelyn Daoud has been a real estate agent for a decade and said this year has been the first she’s ever experienced rent decreases.
And she says more are on the way as the market continues to fall.
“Rent reductions are only justified if a property is above market value. So it would vary depending on where the market sits for that suburb,” she said.
Which is good news for renters, who now dominate more than 40 per cent of neighbourhoods according to a report by the Committee for Sydney.
Estate agent Wendy Flanagan says she’s telling nervous landlords the rental market is the worst it’s been in 13 years and to expect further falls as a wave of brand new apartments flood the market.
“Owners are taking a hit just to get their properties leased, otherwise it could sit vacant for weeks on end,” said Ms Flanagan from The Agency.
Finding a new tenant can set the landlord back more than $1500 which covers a letting fee of two weeks rent, a lease preparation fee of up to $55, and an advertising package starting from $300.
FOR THOSE WANTING A REDUCTION, HERE ARE SOME EXPERT TIPS:
• Put it in writing: email is the best way to request a reduction because it leaves a paper trail and is quick and easy for property managers to process.
• Do your research: provide links to similar properties in your area. Fair comparisons will strengthen your case.
• Timing is everything: before Christmas is the best time as all landlords want their property leased before the summer break. Avoid requesting a deduction on Mondays when property managers are busy processing applications from the weekend’s open inspections. Tenants may also have better negotiating powers when their lease is up for renewal.
• Gold star tenants: reliable and well-behaved tenants with a good rental history will have a better chance of securing a reduction. Luck of the draw: the owner decides if they are willing to accept or reject the request or issue a counter offer. Some may own several investments and would prefer a vacant property over a whingeing tenant, while others have just one and need to meet their mortgage repayments.
• Supply and demand: tenants of older apartments may have a better chance as original condition properties are struggling to compete with the huge selection of brand new apartments.
It might not be a buyers’ market, but it’s certainly a renters’ one.
As for me, I’m taking my savings on an overseas trip.