Explain your past mistakes. It's more common for a tenant to make a late payment than you probably think, Calzadilla says. If this year's ride has had a few bumps, be honest and upfront with your landlord about why you were late and explain why it won't happen again. "Landlords are more accommodating and forgiving if they know your situation," says Calzadilla. Of course, a financial fumble here and there can be overlooked, but Calzadilla says, "You don't want to be someone who is nefariously late."
Be reasonable. Asking for a substantially lower rent than what you currently pay will probably agitate your landlord, Taylor says. "Nobody wants to deal with unreasonable people," she says. "Starting a conversation with a completely unreasonable request can offend or put off the very person you're trying to get something from, which is not a good start." If you've done your homework, you'll have a good idea of a rent that's worth aiming for.
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Call for backup. Just because it's your lease doesn't mean you have to negotiate by yourself. "Bringing in parents or other figures, who may be able to sign a guarantor form—attaching their better credit to a rental—can always help provide some leverage," Taylor says. Whether it's a more experienced relative or friend, Taylor recommends enlisting someone who can help steer the conversation in the right direction.
When all else fails. If your landlord is still unconvinced, Calzadilla says you might mention you'll be writing a review of the building on Yelp.com "If a tenant has a bad experience, they will flame the building on Yelp," he says. It breaks the rule of resorting to threats, but at this point you've done everything else you can to get the landlord to lower the rent. This move may be a bit drastic, as negative reviews can hinder the landlord's future ability to attract good tenants, but it could be your last chance to renew the lease at a more wallet-friendly rent.