The last of the COVID-19 renewals are coming up, and some renters are still getting stuck with big rent increases, sometimes upward of 50%. At openigloo, we get a lot of messages from renters asking us if they should renew and if the rent increases are “fair”. While discussing rent negotiation with your landlord may seem like a waste of time, our position is that you don’t get what you don’t ask for. If you have a rent-stabilized apartment, you’re in luck – this doesn’t apply to you as your rent increases are set by the New York Guidelines Board every year.
For market-rate tenants, here are some email templates to help you get the rent negotiations started!
Responding to a steep increase (but you’d prefer to stay)
MANY New Yorkers have reported getting priced out of their apartments. If you receive a steep renewal, but you really would like to stay, try something like this:
Hi XYZ, Thanks for passing over the renewal. I was surprised by this number as similar # bedrooms in the area are renting for around $$$$. I understand the market has changed since last year, but given my good standing as a tenant, I’d love to meet somewhere in the middle. Could we make $$$$ work? Thanks for your consideration.
Remember, always give them a specific number during rent negotiation (but not the maximum you’d be willing to spend). Leave a little wiggle room for them to come back with another offer. It also helps to point out that you’ve been a great tenant and back up your number with research. You can check openigloo’s Listings feature to see what similar units are renting for in your neighborhood.
When the landlord raises the rent above 5% without the appropriate notice (and you want to stay)
In New York, landlords must give between 30-90 days notice (depending on how long you’ve lived there) if they want to increase your rent by more than 5% or not renew your lease. If you have a 1-year lease, they need to give at least 60 days’ notice. Many renters have reached out to us asking what they can do if a landlord breaks this rule. Try this:
Hi XYZ, Thanks for passing over the renewal. However, I was expecting the increase to be less than 5%, since we’ve passed the XX day notice window. I’d love to stay, but I’m hoping we can agree on a renewal of $$$$ instead. Thanks.
If you want to stay in the apartment, try to politely point out that you are aware of the rules and give them an opportunity to fix their mistake before escalating.
You make the first move with a renewal proposal
Perhaps your lease is expiring in a few months, and you want to start planning. You can make the first move, and you have even more leverage if your lease is expiring in a slow season (Winter). But if you’re not in a rush to get an answer, you can always wait for them to reach out first.
Hi XYZ, I hope all is well. I wanted to send a note as my lease is expiring in # months and I’d love to get some clarity on the renewal. I’ve enjoyed my time in this apartment and would love to stay another # years. Given my good standing as a tenant, could we renew at the same rate? Happy to sign a renewal now, if we come to an agreement. Thanks for your consideration.
It doesn’t hurt to try and ask for a 0% increase and see what they say. Worst case, they come back with a “No” or a different number. If you have a market-rate apartment and are negotiating early, keep things cordial – you may risk the landlord not renewing all together during the rent negotiation.
Of course, some landlords won’t budge with the rent renewals. In this case, you have to make a personal decision on whether you can tolerate the increase and compare it against your cost of moving. Whether your renewal went smoothly or not as planned, be sure to share an anonymous review on openigloo and help the next renter that considers your building and landlord.