Negotiating a Rent

If you have been in the rental business for quite some time, you will know that landlords have a criteria for selecting or rejecting a prospective tenant. Every landlord wants good tenants. The word “good” refers to tenants that:

  • Always pay their rent on time.
  • Do not break the law nor bring the police to the apartment.
  • Do not cause any disturbance of peace in the neighborhood.
  • Make the property look clean, good, and nice-looking.
  • Want to stay long in the property.
  • Have good social interaction skills.

A person who has good social interaction skills usually gains friendship easily and he/she usually knows how to negotiate with the landlord. You have to negotiate rent when you want to rent an apartment, or when your lease has expired and you have to renew it.

Negotiating a Rent

Before negotiating to rent a private apartment, try to check your eligibility for rent-controlled apartment/ public housing. The government provides housing assistance for low income families. This type of housing is limited to low-income families or individuals. Your local housing authority (HA) will determine your eligibility based on:

  • Your annual gross income.
  • Your status, if you are an elderly, or a person with disability.
  • U.S. citizenship or
  • Immigrant status.

There are about 1.2 million households living in public housing managed by some 3,300 HA’s. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) administers Federal aid to local housing agencies that manage the housing for low-income residents at rents they can afford.

Housing authorities use the income limits developed by HUD. HUD sets the lower income limits at 80 percent and very low income limits at 50 percent of the median income for the county or metropolitan area in which you choose to live. Income limits vary from area to area. Negotiating a Rent

Public housing was established to provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Public housing comes in all sizes and types, from scattered single family houses to high-rise apartments for elderly families.

Your application must be written clearly to enable your HA to collect the following information:

  • Names of all the persons who would be living in the unit.
  • Their gender, birthdates, and relationship to the family head.
  • Your present address and telephone number.
  • Family characteristics (e.g., veteran) or circumstances (e.g. living in substandard housing) that might qualify the family for tenant selection preferences.
  • Names and addresses of your current and previous landlords.
  • An estimate of your family’s anticipated income for the next 12 months, and the sources of that income.
  • Names, addresses, and contact numbers of your employers.
  • Names, addresses, and contact numbers of your banks.
  • The HA may also visit you for an interview.

Your housing authority will check your references to make sure you and your family will be good tenants. They will also check if an applicant has a record of habits or practices that could be detrimental to other tenants or the project’s environment. Such an applicant will be denied admission to any public housing.

Your HA representative will request whatever documentation is needed (e.g., birth certificates, tax returns) to verify the information given on your application. The PHA will also rely on direct verification from your employer, etc. You will be asked to sign a form to authorize release of pertinent information to the PHA.

Once approved, your name will be included in the waiting list. Once your name is reached, the HA will contact you. You will be offered a house or an apartment and if you accept it, you will have to sign a lease contract with the HA.

Please read your contract very well and understand your responsibilities as a tenant. You should also know your rights and know the responsibilities of your HA, too.