Although the common rule of thumb is to try and limit your housing costs to 30% of your budget, that’s proven hard to do in cities where rent typically eats up more than a third to half of your paycheck.
New government data shows the struggle is not about to get any easier. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of rent is up 3.9% in June compared to a year ago. While that might not seem high at face value, the average increases seen so far this year could mean that 2017 sees the highest rent hikes since 2007, reports MarketWatch.
The report takes on new meaning when coupled with the Labor Department’s June jobs report, which found that wage growth remains stagnant at 2.5%. In other words, your rent could be going up faster than your pay — which may mean some belt tightening as housing takes up an even bigger piece of your budget pie.
If you’re fighting an uphill battle to keep your rent down, here are a few tips that could help you negotiate with your landlord.
Remind your landlord you’ve been a good tenant. If you’ve always paid your rent on time and maintained your unit properly — or even improved it in some way — then it’s important you let your landlord know. A good, clean tenant equals a lot less headache for a property owner.
Sign a long-term lease. Signing a two-year lease instead of the standard 12-month contract shows you’re committed to staying in the apartment. After all, having consistent income coming in is important to a landlord.
Offer to pay a few months in advance. If your budget can swing it, paying a few months upfront may provide an immediate financial incentive to your landlord to keep you in the apartment.
If you’ve tried negotiating but haven’t been successful, check out these tips for cutting down on your housing costs. If you’re due to move, it might also be worth taking a look at the cities experiencing the largest share of rental price cuts.