There are many ways to gain an upper hand in rental negotiations. The Souqalmal.com team has listed below five such ways you can use to convince your landlord to lower your next annual rent:
Track the Rera Rent Index
The Rent Index, managed and periodically updated by the Dubai Land Department's Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Rera), shows the average rents for all communities in Dubai. It also tells you whether your landlord is entitled to increase your rent, and if so, by how much, in terms of a maximum percentage. So, if you're seeing a drop in average rents in your community, it would be best to be armed with the latest official numbers before you go in for a discussion with your landlord.
Hannah, an expat who's currently renting a two-bedroom apartment in Dubai Marina, shares her recent experience: "I was paying an annual rent of Dh150,000 for my apartment, which seemed fair till last year when the Rent Index showed the average rents to be Dh140,000-180,000 for two-bedroom apartments in Dubai Marina. And the most recently updated Index showed a drop in average rents for the same property segment to Dh120,000-160,000. This information helped me bargain with my landlord, who's just agreed to drop the rent to Dh140,000."
Gauge rental expectations
It's important to be well-informed about what the average rents are like within your community. One way to do this is to browse property listing portals to get an idea about the asking rents for rental properties in your area. You can also call around to check with various real estate brokers about the market rents. So if you're renting a studio apartment, you can start your negotiations with the landlord based on what the asking rents for other studios in the building are like.
Awareness about market statistics and the latest news and rental market trends in your city and community will also help your bargaining position. For example, if a developer has just announced the construction of a new apartment tower right next to yours, you can reason with the landlord that you would be willing to put up with the construction noise and impending inconvenience if he agrees to reduce your rent.
Prove that you're a good tenant
Having a good track record for as long as you've been renting the property may come in handy in your rental negotiations. You must demonstrate to the landlord that you're a tenant worth keeping. How would you prove that? Let them know that you've taken good care of the property, you haven't damaged the fixtures or furniture in any way and have made repairs around the house when required. If there's any other reason you can think of to show that you deserve a rent reduction, this is the time to bring it up.
Give up what you don't need
Let's say, you're renting an apartment that comes with one car parking space. Now if you don't own a car or don't intend to buy one in the foreseeable future, you can use this to boost your bargaining position. You can offer to give up this parking space, which your landlord could offer to another family that owns two cars. In turn, you can score some brownie points with the landlord and convince him to lower your next rent.
Show that you're serious about leaving
If all else fails, you can inform your landlord about vacating the property as soon as your lease is up. In a rental market that's going through a downturn, this might not be the best news for your landlord. With newer communities sprouting all around the city and most landlords being forced to bring down rents from their previous highs, why would your landlord risk leaving the property unoccupied for an indefinite period of time, and eventually renting it out at a lower rent? This could be the last bargaining weapon in your arsenal.
But be careful, this can backfire too, especially if you were paying a lower-than-market rent to start with anyway. This could be the perfect opportunity for your landlord to find a new tenant willing to pay the higher asking rent.
The writer is the founder and CEO of souqalmal.com. Views expressed are her own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy.
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