Rent is a universal expense — almost everyone pays either rent or a mortgage. In fact, rent usually takes up about 30 percent of your salary but in some cases, it is even more. If you've found yourself facing hard times financially and are struggling to make ends meet, you may want to create a rent reduction letter to give to your landlord.
It may seem nerve-wracking to ask your landlord to reduce the cost of your rent. After all, you signed a lease and agreed to the price. However, you'll never know if you don't ask.
We've created a thorough guide that'll walk you through reasons to ask for a rent reduction, how and when to ask your landlord and what to do if you're denied. If you've found yourself in this situation, we've got you covered with detailed information.
- Jump ahead: Rent reduction letter sample template
7 scenarios to ask for a rent reduction
Everyone's financial history is different. Some people are struggling to pay rent because of a low-paying job while others have had an unexpected emergency pop up that negatively impacted their budget.
Here are some examples of different reasons you could write a rent reduction letter to your landlord.
1. Financial trouble
If you've found yourself in a situation where money is suddenly tight, this could qualify for a rent reduction. Life happens and it's common for unexpected bills to pop up. Perhaps you were in an accident and now have medical bills to pay for or your car broke down and needs repairs.
Regardless of the circumstance, if lowering your rent would help ease your financial burden, even for a short period, it's worth asking for. Just remember to clearly explain the situation and let your property manager know that this was out of your control and not a result of poor financial management.
2. Loss of job
When you signed your lease, you may have had a steady job that paid well. Now, you've lost your income and can't make your monthly rent until you secure another job.
If this is your situation, you could write a rent reduction letter and explain the scenario to your landlord because they might work with you until you find new employment.
3. Took a pay cut
While you may still be employed, sometimes, you'll be faced with a pay cut. If this happens, your income is suddenly less and bills are harder to pay. This scenario may qualify you for a rent reduction.
It is up to the landlord, but if you clearly explain your situation, they may negotiate with you.
4. Neighboring properties have lower rent
Generally, apartment complexes in the same neighborhoods have similar prices for rent. But, if you begin to notice that neighboring properties pay significantly less in rent compared to you, you could bring this up to your property manager in your rent reduction letter.
Landlords want to stay competitive with their pricing and have all of their apartments occupied and if they're not, you can potentially leverage this for a lower rent.
5. Lacking common amenities
If your apartment complex lacks basic amenities like a laundry facility or covered parking stalls, you could use this to negotiate a reduction in rent.
Often, rent is more expensive when the property includes amenities like a playground, gym, on-site laundry and covered parking. If your apartment complex lacks these things, you could talk to your landlord about adjusting rent to reflect this.
6. Poor property upkeep
Everyone wants to live in a facility that is safe and clean. In fact, landlords are legally obligated to ensure that each apartment is habitable.
If you think your apartment is lacking general safety and sanitary measures, first, talk to your landlord about addressing that and second, use this to negotiate the price of rent.
7. The lease agreement is not being met by property managers
A lease is a legal contract that binds tenants and property managers to certain terms. Tenants agree to pay rent and keep their apartment clean and landlords agree to provide a safe and clean living environment.
If you believe this contract is not being met, you can talk to your landlord and ask for a rent reduction if the lease agreement is not being held up by both parties.
How much to reduce in rent?
So, you've decided that you will ask for a rent reduction but need to determine how much is reasonable to reduce. Well, this depends on a few factors like the city, neighborhood, amenities offered and your situation.
You need to assess how much would ease up your financial load while also being reasonable with your request. For example, you probably won't get your landlord to reduce your rent in half and will likely get shot down immediately if you ask for that.
To determine a fair amount to ask for in your rent reduction letter you need to do your research. You can see what neighboring apartments are renting for; you can ask your neighbors how much they are paying and you can see what the average cost of rent in your city and state are.
If you come prepared with this information, you'll likely have an easier time negotiating a fair rental reduction rate.
When and how to ask for a rent reduction
Once you're ready to write a rent reduction letter, it's all about when you send it and how you ask for what you need. The best time to ask for your rent reduction is right away because you don't want to get behind on payments and then ask. When you first realize that you need a lesser rent payment, it's time to start drafting your rent reduction letter.
The next best time to ask for a rent reduction rate is when your lease is up for renewal. It's easier to draft up an entirely new lease than it is to rewrite an existing lease.
Ways to make a good case in a rent reduction letter
To make a good case for yourself, showcase that you are an outstanding tenant to your landlord. Here are some ways you can vouch for yourself to better your chances of getting a rental reduction.
Steady payment history
Have you always paid your rent on time, or even early? Have you had a steady payment history in the past? If this is the case, your property manager is more likely to sympathize with you and understand that you've truly fallen on hard times and could use a little wiggle room on your rate.
Show them your payment history and use this to your advantage.
Some money is better than no money
If you can still pay rent but just a lesser amount, some money is still better than no money. You can talk to your landlord and help them understand that you'll still be paying rent and that they'll still get an income, albeit a bit less than before.
Do you plan on staying at your current location long-term? If so, you can compromise and sign a longer lease at a lower rate.
Property managers want to keep their apartments occupied, so if you can sign a longer lease instead of month-to-month, they may reduce your rental rate.
Sample rent reduction letter
You can send the rent reduction letter via email or mail. Check and see how your landlord likes to receive communication and tailor your letter to that.
Follow our template below to create your rent reduction letter. Simply update everything in ( ) and you'll be good to go.
(Current Address of Your Apartment with Unit Number)
(City, State, Zip Code)
(Landlord or Apartment Company's Name)
(Address as Printed on Your Lease)
(City, State, Zip Code)
Re: Request to Lower Rent Payment for (Unit)
Hello (Landlord name),
This is (Your name) and I am a tenant in (Building #, Unit #). I'm reaching out to you because I'd like to discuss lowering my monthly rent moving forward. I enjoy living here and would like to continue renting from you, but my financial circumstances have changed and a reduction in rent would be incredibly helpful for me.
I'd like to highlight that I've lived here for (insert tenure) and in that time, I've always paid my rent on time, kept the apartment in great condition and have been a courteous neighbor and tenant. I believe I'm a great fit for this community and an exemplary tenant.
To make sure my request was reasonable, I've done research to see what similar complexes are renting for and what others are paying in rent. This makes me believe that a minor reduction in rent is reasonable and fair with the market.
I'd like to ask for a (insert dollar amount) reduction to my monthly rent, however, I'm open to negotiate and compromise. If you accept this request, I'd be able to continue my lease and call this home.
Can we schedule a time to meet and discuss this in more detail? I'm eager to find a way to make this work for both of us and find a compromise that meets both of our needs. Please let me know when we can chat.
(Current Apartment Address and Unit Number)
What to do if you can't reduce your rent
Because it's up to the landlord whether or not to reduce your rental rate, they may say no. If that's the case, don't get too stressed because there are still other options available to you.
Look for a new place
If you need to, you can find a new place to rent at a lower cost. You may have to wait until your lease ends or pay to break your lease but it may save you money in the long run to find a less expensive place to rent.
You can compare rental prices in different areas here.
Adjust your budget
It's smart to reassess your budget to find out where you can save extra money. Maybe it's something small like cutting back on your daily coffee habit or something more substantial like consolidating credit cards for a lower interest rate.
Either way, taking an honest look at your budget and seeing where you can save can help you make your payments and ease financial stress.
Pay rent bi-weekly instead of monthly
Sometimes, it's a matter of adjusting your payment due dates that'll make things a bit easier. For example, instead of paying your rent monthly in a large sum, ask if you can pay every other week so the payment itself is a bit smaller and leaves you with more money to pay your utilities and other bills.
Advocate for yourself
You have to advocate for yourself. No one else knows your struggles and if you don't ask for what you need, you'll never get it.
By writing a rent reduction letter to your landlord, you may get what you need which will enable you to get back on your financial feet.