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  If you have ever gone house hunting in Nigeria, you’ll know that rent can vary widely across localities. Finding a house that offers good value for your money can be tough. But it’s not impossible.
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Then there’s the matter of negotiating rent with property owners or their representatives. Whether you are a new tenant that’s about to move in or someone who’s lived there for years, you often have to be prepared to bargain for what you think is fair rent. This article presents some steps you can take to negotiate your rent. Hopefully, you can apply them in your situation and save yourself a good deal of money.

Find Out What Is Charged For Similar Property Elsewhere

You’ll get a good idea of what a ‘fair’ rent is by checking out what’s charged for homes similar to yours in your locality. While your landlord may have some good reason for fixing rent at a higher-than-average cost, this is often not the case. Armed with information about rent in your area, you can go into your negotiation with a clear idea of what you want to settle for.

Develop A Cordial Relationship With Your Landlord

If you have a good rapport with your landlord, it might be easier for you to ask for lower fees. Building this relationship will require that you pay your rent on time, maintain the house in which you live, and be at peace with your neighbours. This, along with decent human communication skills, could make your landlord more open to readjusting any rent increment in your favour.

Engage Your Landlord In Person

Rent negotiations are better done in person. Initiating such a discussion over the phone will be inconvenient; it could even come across as disrespectful to the property owner. On the other hand, a physical one-to-one conversation allows for all relevant issues to be dealt with and makes it more likely that a mutually beneficial agreement will be reached.

Present A Counter Offer

If your landlord indicates the rental fee they expect you to pay and you want something lower, you should provide them with a counter-offer. Note: your counter-offer should be lower than the actual amount you want to pay. This way, your bargaining with your landlord will yield a compromise fee that’s closer to what you prefer to pay as rent.
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For example, the owner of the property you live in (or are moving into) may set its rent at ₦500,000 per annum. But you’d rather pay ₦450,000 yearly. If you’re going to negotiate the rent, you can make a counter-offer of ₦400,000 annually, in the hope that you and your landlord will meet somewhere in the middle, closer to the ₦450,000 you prefer to pay.

Don’t Give Your Emotions Away

A key rule of rent negotiations is that you conceal your emotions. If you don’t, the other party in the discussion may pick up on your non-verbal cues, and take advantage of them. Here’s an illustration. Let’s say that you have made a counter-offer and your landlord responds by presenting another rent offer that’s lower than what they initially set. If you show excitement over this move, the landlord may notice it and decide to not make any further reductions.

Know When It’s Appropriate To Negotiate

Sometimes, property owners aren’t ready to entertain your haggling for a lower price. In such a situation, you could either accept what they offer or look for another house or space that ticks your boxes. But if they do show a willingness to adjust their rent, you may take the steps we’ve discussed above.

Final Words

Not everyone is skilled at initiating the back-and-forth that comes with negotiating rent. Even if you’re able to do so, you could miss some of the important things that’ll enable you to succeed at it. This article has covered some of those things. Apply them when it’s time to discuss rent with your landlord, and you’ll be better able to secure a deal that you’ll be satisfied with. Featured Image Source: Mosaic
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This article was first published on 2nd December 2021


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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