5 Things to Know About Negotiating a Short-Term Lease

by CSA Staff on April 12th, 2021 in Apartments

By Alicia Geigel

The uncertainty of the pandemic has put millions of people in difficult financial positions. Whether the pandemic has forced your job to cut back your hours, made you lose your job, or perhaps even threatened the security of having a roof over your head, adjusting to this new reality and finding solutions within it can seem too difficult to navigate. If the pandemic has put you in a difficult home and financial situation, negotiating a short-term lease with your landlord or property manager may be the best solution for you.

What is a short-term lease? Morgan Henderson of Apartment Guide defines it as, “a rental contract that generally lasts less than six months, where a typical apartment lease will usually be a year. Such leases can be week-to-week, month-to-month or you can commit to a specified time period.” A short-term lease can lessen the financial pressure and responsibility of being locked into a full-year lease by giving you more freedom and leniency if you can only be committed for a short period of time.

Are you renting a home or apartment but are interested in negotiating a short-term lease with your landlord or property manager? Unsure of where to start? Here are five things you should know about negotiating a short-term lease!


via Pexels

  1. Suggest to Move Out In the Summer: If you’re looking to cut your lease short and switch to a short-term lease, making the suggestion to your landlord to move out in the summer may be a great option. As the summer months are the most popular time to move out, offering to move out in the summer can be beneficial to both you and your landlord. For you, it means not only having your lease cut short, but it also gives you many more rental options to choose from, as many leases are ending around that time and apartments are opening up. For your landlord, it means the vacant spot can be filled more easily, giving him/her a greater chance of filling the spot and not losing money.

  2. Highlight Your Positive Qualities as a Tenant: Though negotiating a short-term lease can sometimes be an uphill battle, a great way to ‘armor up’ is to highlight your positive qualities as a tenant to your landlord. Due to perhaps some bad experiences in the past, your landlord may be more firm or closed-off to the idea of negotiating a lease with you, which is understandable. As a tenant, highlight your positive qualities to your landlord, such as paying rent on time, not being noisy or disruptive, maintaining a good relationship with other tenants, etc. Doing so will give you an edge and show your landlord another reason why an exception would be appropriate for you and your living situation.

  3. Be Open To Compromise: As stated previously, negotiating a short-term lease with your landlord can sometimes be difficult. Your landlord may be apprehensive to allow exceptions due to past tenants taking advantage of this or prior messy experiences. So, when approaching and attempting negotiations for a short-term lease, be open to compromising with your landlord because there’s always a chance it might not work out the way you want it to. Regardless of the situation that you and your landlord work out, it's important to consider their needs as well as your own, as it is their property that you are renting. Jessica Hickok of Zillow writes, “If you show an effort of unification and benefit to both parties, they will most likely be willing to work with you.”

  4. Offer More Money, But Do Your Research First: Perhaps a way for you to compromise is to offer more money each month as a way to make up for the loss of months that you won’t be renting from your landlord. This is a fine idea and reasonable compromise, but be sure to do your research first. What kind of research exactly? Look into the average prices of apartments in your area and determine what a fair price would be when negotiating. Doing this can help avoid you being potentially overpriced and price-gouged by your landlord!

  5. Always Have a Backup Plan: When attempting to negotiate a short-term lease with your landlord, regardless of the outcome, it's always good to have a backup plan. This means looking into other housing options, such as other apartments or condos while still locked into your current lease. In a blog post by CORT, they suggest, “inquire about getting temporary furniture for the duration of your short-term lease at plan b apartment.” Doing so gives you a fail-proof plan in case negotiations with your landlord fall through or the situation gets messy.

Whether you’ve fallen into difficult financial times or your life takes an unexpected turn, sometimes negotiating a short-term lease is the best thing to do in your current situation. Though it can seem impossible or overwhelming to confront your landlord with this idea, it can help you out in the long run!

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