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Tips for life: how to negotiate your rent or mortgage

By Genevieve Waldie

For most Australians, rent or mortgage repayments are the highest cost of living expense they have.

As national’s unemployment rate is tipped to reach 10% in consequence of COVID-19, statistics show those who rent are disproportionately affected compared to those who own a residence.

While banks are offering mortgage breaks to home loan customers, there are fewer options available to renters, with the government advising landlords and tenants to sit down and work it out.

“Neither landlords nor tenants are to blame for this, and now is the time for them to work together to get through this pandemic,” Queensland Housing Minister Mick de Brenni said.

If you’re struggling to pay your bills, you can try asking your landlord for a temporary rate reduction.

Alison Cray, the onsite property manager of Gleneagles in New Farm has already seen some rents in the building reduced by 5%.

With some thought, there are many ways to negotiate a better deal for your rent.

Can you commit to a longer lease? 

If you plan on being there for a while, this could provide good leverage. If the lease in question is for 12 months, ask if they’d be willing to drop the monthly rate in return for signing an 18-month or 2-year lease.

If there are a lot of empty units in your complex, can you make a deal with your landlord for sending referrals? 

Word of mouth marketing is strong, and landlords know that. Suggest a referral bonus in the form of cheaper rent.

Can you give up a parking spot?

If you don’t have a car or don’t anticipate having many guests with vehicles, this may be something to offer your landlord. They can provide the extra spot to another tenant and offer you a discount in return.

Aus Property Professionals Lloyd Edge has put together his top tips for how people can negotiate their rent or mortgage repayments.

When you’re renting or paying a mortgage, it is typical to wonder what control or power you have, if any at all, over what your rent or mortgage repayments will be. But, it is your hard-earned cash so you have more power than you may realise.

  • For renters: instead of paying the annual increase, ask for a breakdown of the rise, and question it if you don’t feel it’s justified.
  • For mortgages: the first point of call is always to call your lender. But first, do your research. Call your lender and tell them that you are looking for a better deal and if they have anything on offer. Another option is to seek the guidance of a mortgage broker. Mortgage brokers will have access to around 30 or more lenders and be able to see whether you are eligible for a better arrangement with another lender. 
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