One of the purposes of signing a lease is to lock in the amount of monthly rent you'll pay. Unfortunately, once your lease ends, the landlord is perfectly within his or her rights to raise the rate, and you'll be stuck either paying the increased amount or moving to somewhere more affordable. However, here are two tips that may help you avoid the yearly increase and save some money:
Make Your Sales Pitch
One thing you should understand is that it takes more time, money, and effort to attract new customers than it does to keep current ones. This sales maxim applies to just about every industry, including real estate. If you can convince the landlord that it would be cheaper for him or her to keep you on at the current rate than finding a new tenant at the higher rate, the person may decide not to raise the rent.
There are a couple of ways you can make your case. Call around to other apartment complexes to get an idea of what the rates are in the city. If the rates are lower at comparable properties than what your landlord is charging, point out how much harder it will be for him or her to attract new renters. Be sure to point out that you've paid your rent on time and have essentially been a model tenant (if applicable). The landlord may come to realize finding someone to fill empty apartments is more trouble than it's worth and let you sign a new lease at the old rate.
Sign a Multi-Year Lease
Another way you can get out of a price hike is to sign a multi-year lease, which can be a win-win situation for both you and the landlord. Knowing he or she will have a long-term tenant can help the landlord better plan for his or her financial goals. At the same time, you'll lock in the agreed-upon rental rate for a longer period of time, giving you a chance to increase your income to accommodate any rate hike that may occur when your lease finally ends.
You have to be careful here, though, to ensure you will be staying in one place for the entire lease. The landlord may charge you a fee to break your lease and/or require you to pay the difference between the regular rate and any discounted rate you received. It may be a good idea to add a clause that lets you sublease your place; this way you can get someone else in your apartment to complete your lease without worrying about a broken rental agreement fee.
For more tips on avoiding rent increases or help locate an apartment that's right for you, contact a real estate agent.