The amount a person pays for housing should usually be about a quarter of their total income. While this is not a hard and fast rule, it helps many people make budgets and plan their lifestyle accordingly.
However, even with the best-laid plans, some people find that they are paying much more for rent than they can afford, and do not have enough of their income left over for other necessities.
In this situation, consumers can request their landlord to reduce the rent. In order for this to be successful, here are a few tips for writing a rent reduction request letter.
Reasons To Request A Reduction In Rent
There may be several reasons to request a reduction in rent, but the three most common are reduced income, reduced property value and repayment for repairs on the property.
For example, the tenant may have spent a considerable amount renovating the property, which will increase its resale value. They may request a rent reduction as a method the landlord can repay some or all of the amount spent.
Paying Higher Rent Than Neighbors?
Renters may find themselves paying higher rent than their neighbors do. This may be because the property values were higher when they moved in, but have since fallen.
Landlords can no longer ask for such high rents. In this case, tenants may think they can save money if they move to another apartment in the same location.
The letter should not begin with a long list of complaints. The tenant may think that the landlord has to reduce the rent if there are many problems with the property.
However, this may not be the case, and it is better to maintain a cordial relationship with the landlord rather than make him angry.
It is better for the tenant to emphasize the positive aspects of his or her tenancy such as paying rent on time, maintaining the lawn, making small repairs and other things that make a good tenant.
Suggest A Longer Lease
When requesting lower rent, it is a good idea to suggest a longer lease. The landlord may be more willing to lock in a good tenant even at a lower rate of rent, if the lease is for a longer period.
This means the landlord will not be bothered with advertising for a new tenant and vetting applicants, which are both risky and expensive.
If the request for rent reduction is because of economic hardship, it may help if the tenant explains his or her financial situation and how they plan to resolve it.
For example, the death of a family member, loss of a job, debilitating injury from an accident or military deployment are all viable reasons people may suffer financial hardship.
The tenant may request short-term reduction or long-term reduction in rent. For short-term reduction, the tenant should mention that amount he or she is willing to pay and the date on which they will resume full rent.
For long-term reduction, the tenant may want to meet the landlord and discuss options in person. Offering partial payments may encourage the landlord to be sympathetic.
Best Time To Ask For Rent Reduction
Finally, the tenant should consider the timing for asking for lower rent. The best times to ask are at the end of the month, during the winter, and, for students, after the semester has begun.
Here is a sample rent reduction request letter. It is a formal business letter that simply and clearly states the facts without complaints or accusations. If it is sent through the mail, it should be sent by certified mail with a return request. Otherwise, it can be hand delivered.
Sample Rent Reduction Request Letter
324 Cherry Lane
Columbia, NJ, 08045
May 24, 2022
426 Spring Road
Camden, NJ, 08030
RE: Request for reduction of rent
Dear Mr. Smith:
My wife and I have lived at the above address for the past three years, and enjoy the quiet neighborhood and central location. However, I have noticed there are several apartments in the locality that are renting for $200 – $400 less that the amount we pay for the same or better facilities. At least five of these apartments are empty.
Since my wife’s illness, we have not had two incomes and are finding it difficult to live on my income alone. We thought it might be better to move to an apartment nearby that requires several hundred dollars less rent per month.
Before making this decision, we wanted to give you the opportunity to consider lowering our rent, so we can stay in this attractive location. If you would lower our rent by $300/month, we would be willing to renew the lease. We would also be willing to sign a two-year lease.
We have always paid the rent on time and have maintained the apartment in good repair. I hope to hear from you within the next two weeks, or we will need to make plans to move. Thank you for your kind consideration.