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How to Lower Your Rent, Dwellsy CEO and author Jonas Bordo on KTLA

How to Lower Your Rent

Harmonic is a partner of Dwellsy.

Experts say that as rents have declined in some cities in Southern California, a region where most residents pay more than one-third of their income for leased housing, now could be a good time to ask your landlord for a rent reduction.  

“Landlords, just out of the gate, are not going to offer to lower your rent, full stop. That very rarely happens,” rental expert Jonas Bordo told KTLA’s Kacey Montoya.  

The author of “Everything You Need to Know About Renting But Didn’t Know to Ask,” Bordo says many renters believe the price is set in stone and are unaware that their monthly payments are flexible. 

“The first thing to know is that your landlord doesn’t set the rent. It’s set by the market,” he explained. “It’s the landlord’s job to try to figure out what market rent is, but they generally don’t know. Usually, the renter has a much better sense of what the real normal rent should be for that rental.” 

According to the author, getting your rent lowered is possible, but 90% of tenants never ask.  

“It’s kind of like buying a car, the way you go in expecting it to be a negotiation. Think, ‘What does the landlord want in this situation?’” Bordo said. “This is a situation where you can and should negotiate.” 

One thing tenants can do is find comparable units in your neighborhood 60 days before your lease is up and if the prices are lower, present that to your landlord, Bordo suggests. In some cases, he says, landlords will match the price or not increase the rent to avoid the costs that come with a tenant moving out, which can add up to two or three months’ rent.  

Another suggestion he had was to sign a longer lease, if it makes sense for the tenant, because longer leases are more valuable to landlords.  

“Sometimes you can lock in your existing rent rate, no increases for a couple of years, which is valuable to you,” Bordo said.  

There might even be more opportunity to pay less rent in newer developments with hundreds of vacancies to fill, he added, because every day new developments have empty apartments, the more expensive it is for them.  

How to get a rent reduction from your SoCal landlord
A home for rent is seen in this undated file photo. (KTLA)

For anyone renting from homeowners, handling regular maintenance, such as maintaining the lawn or repairing small issues with the property adds a lot of value for landlords, especially those who don’t live near the home they’re leasing.  

“I’ve kept my rent down by doing my own repairs or arranging the repairs myself,” said Susan Postnikoff, whose rent has only increased by $300 in the seven years she’s lived in her Hawthorne home.  

Postnikoff told Montoya that she would gladly cover the cost of a $300 repair rather than have her rent increase by that amount each month.  

“First of all, if you don’t ask, you are never going to get it. You have to ask,” Postnikoff added. “If you’re a great tenant, there’s no reason they wouldn’t want to keep you.”  

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