Top tips on negotiating a drop in your rent

A communication expert provides tips on how to head into rent-reducing negotiations with a landlord.

Sheba Nair, from India, successfully negotiated a rent cut with her landlord. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
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Kim Page, a communications expert in Dubai, gives her tips on how to negotiate a rental decrease.

• Before you have the conversation, try to find out as much as you can about the ­landlord’s personality and communication style. The more you know about them, the easier your success will be.

• Have a clear idea in mind of what your highest acceptable price is, as this makes it easier for you to navigate the conversation.

• During a phone call, make sure you slow down your speaking and ­articulate well.

• Remember, it is OK to ask for ­clarification when something is unclear, as this gives the person you are speaking with a sense of really being listened to, increasing rapport between you.

• To gain time to reflect and create rapport, you can paraphrase and repeat what the landlord has said – no matter if you agree or not – while preparing your response.

• If you sense the landlord is insisting on having the upper hand, it can be a good idea to soften up and move in to a lower status position for a while, to let them have space. This will allow them to relax a bit, and in most cases the dynamic can change back – for you to be the one in high status again.

• If you try this, you need to stay alert. In some cases, people can lean towards bullying behaviour during negotiations, and if you notice that, you need to swap back-up with assertiveness.


As the rental housing market continues to dip tenants are in a strong position to call the shots but they have to know what the current rates are for their home area.

Read more: Why your rent's too high, and what to do about it

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