Top 10 Ways to Lower Your Monthly Rental Cost

You have more power than you think to lower your payment.

By + More

In these difficult financial times, it is helpful to save money in any way that you can. The following tips can help you reduce the amount that you pay when you are renting a house or an apartment.

[In Pictures: 8 Painless Ways to Save Money]

Negotiate With Your Property Owner

Before you renew your current lease do some research into the prices that are being charged for similar rental homes and apartments in your building or your area. Write a respectful letter detailing your understanding of the current average rents for homes or apartments in your area. Make sure you emphasize your excellent record as a tenant. Property owners are willing to negotiate rent prices with current tenants because it is so difficult to find new tenants right now.

Use Craigslist to Secure a Roommate

Craigslist rooms and shares section is the perfect way to get a roommate (or 2 or even 3) that can help dramatically reduce your monthly rental costs. You might be able to cut your rental costs by as much as half and the more roommates, typically the more you can expect to save. Make sure to screen any potential roommates for poor hygiene, bad boyfriends or body odor ahead of time or suffer the consequences!

Be Willing to Walk or Ride the Bus

In larger cities with well-established public transportation systems, the apartments that are closer to the pick-up and drop-off points for the trains or buses can be more expensive. If you are willing to walk a block or two, you could save yourself a couple hundred dollars a month. It is also less expensive to rent an apartment when you do not need to reserve a parking space for a car.

Help Out the Landlord

Some landlords will be happy to give a discount if you offer to do some extra work around your rental unit. If you are renting a house, offer to perform seasonal work such as cleaning out the gutters or shoveling snow. If you are in an apartment, offer to paint the walls or refinish the cabinets. When you can perform the maintenance yourself, the property owner will not have to hire someone else. You and the owner can both save money.

Ask Someone You Know

Talk to your friends or colleagues about helping you find a place to live that has cheap apartments for rent. It is possible that someone in your social network will have inside information about property that is offered at a substantially lower rate. Renting from a friend can make the moving process smoother, more fun, as well as save you money.

Prepay or Sign a One-Year Lease

Certain landlords may offer discounts for tenants who are willing to prepay their rent. The guarantee of having a tenant who has already paid for the next few months makes it easier for a landlord to cut the price of the unit. A one-year lease also offers a more stable relationship between the landlord and tenant, which can lead to a rent reduction.

[Visit the U.S. News My Money blog for the best money advice from around the web.]

Work as an Apartment Manager

If you are handy with tools and are willing to work as an apartment complex manager, it is possible you could live completely rent-free. The reduction in your rent will depend on the level of expertise you are expected to provide and the size of your apartment building. You could get a discount for simply offering to keep an eye on the property, collect rent checks and report any potential problems to the owners.

Expand Your Search for a New Apartment

Do not limit yourself to the apartments that are listed in the newspaper or online. Drive through the neighborhoods you would like to live in and look for lease signs. Rentals that do not advertise extensively can offer lower rent because they did not spend as much money looking for tenants.

Be Somewhat Flexible

Older apartments and houses are generally less expensive to rent than brand new ones. Do not accept a building that is falling apart, but keep in mind that older dwellings that are well-maintained can be just as comfortable for far less money.

Consider a New City

Location is a large part of the price of rent. Sometimes you can save a substantial amount by being willing to drive just a little further from your desired location. Research the cost of renting outside of your immediate neighborhood. It can also save you some money if you have the flexibility to move to a completely new city where the overall rent market is lower.

Chad Fisher spends his time building and promoting websites for people to learn more about low-income housing and has developed a free site for consumers to access car insurance quotes from providers in their state.