young woman lounging on couch with dog

7 Questions To Ask Before Renewing Your Apartment Lease

For many renters, the annual ritual of renewing a lease raises the question, “Is this still the best apartment for me?”

It’s an important question to ask—after all, it’s your home—and multiple considerations may factor into the answer. But the decision isn’t just whether to stay in your apartment or move. Even if you love your apartment, you may wonder if you’re getting a good deal.

Renewing a lease is a process, says Libby McMillan, editor at ApartmentGuide. She recommends first doing some research and soul-searching, to help determine whether your current place is still a good fit both financially and personally. If you decide to stay, she says, you may be able to lower your rent or secure extra perks to make the apartment even more appealing.

Start by asking yourself these seven questions.

GEICO can help with renters insurance.

1. Is this still the best apartment for me?

A lease renewal is a great time to take stock, says McMillan. Are you happy in the apartment and in the neighborhood, or could a change give you a new perspective and renewed excitement? Also, says McMillan, take into account any changes that might happen in the next year, either professional or personal. Might you be switching jobs? Getting married? Starting a family? It’s never too early to start preparing for potential life changes.

2. Am I paying too much?

If price is a major concern, look at the rental rates being offered to new tenants in your community and in other neighborhoods, says McMillan, and weigh the pros and cons of moving. Nearby apartments might be offering perks like a free garage space or a gym membership—though perhaps with a trade-off, like committing to a two-year lease.

woman typing on laptop3. How can I minimize rent increases?

A rent increase may be inevitable, but that doesn’t mean you have to just accept the new amount. Ask management if they’re willing to lower the price in exchange for signing a longer lease, suggests McMillan, and don’t forget to remind them what a great tenant you’ve been. Ask, too, if auto-paying your rent would offer you any savings. And be aware of any caps on allowable rent increases. She recommends checking the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s website. “You’ll find tenant rights for every state,’’ she says. “Learn what yours are.”

4. What terms can I negotiate?

Price isn’t the only factor when negotiating with your landlord. If the building offers more desirable units, ask to move into one for the same price. Or perhaps you can nab an amenity, like a parking spot, for a discounted rate. If your apartment community offers a referral reward, ask for the offer in writing after moving in. “You might offset your rent a bit by sending a friend to the leasing office,” says McMillan. If you need flexibility, inquire about switching to a month-to-month lease, even if it means an increase in rent. “Don’t, however, stay long-term in a month-to-month, as it could hurt your credit rating,” she warns.

5. Have there been any changes to my lease?

Come renewal time, management may update the language of the lease, which could have additional fees or implications for that lease period and beyond. But it’s your responsibility to read the lease closely and compare it with your current one, cautions McMillan. “Don’t do this in a hurry,” she says, “as that could be costly to you.”

couple cleaning windows6. What upgrades are available?

Ask your manager what upgrades are planned for your apartment community and when your unit is expected to receive them. New cabinets and appliances, or even just a fresh coat of paint, may be enough to help you decide to stay put. “Larger apartment complexes typically create maintenance and upgrade plans as part of their budget process, so this is an easy conversation to have,” says McMillan. “If there’s a model, go see it, particularly if you’ve lived in your apartment a few years. It may hold some surprises.”

7. Can I add a roommate?

Renewal time is a good time to add a roommate, says McMillan, and typically results in a new lease with both of your names on it. Just be careful with your selection; if your roommate doesn’t pay on time, that could potentially hurt your credit rating. Discuss his or her financial situation in detail before moving in together.

Make an informed call on whether or not to renew your apartment lease, then make sure to get a quote on renters insurance through the GEICO Insurance Agency for extra peace of mind.

Read More: Sometimes all your current space needs is a color refresh. Check out these DIY painting tips before getting started.

GEICO can help protect your home.

    Leave a comment

  1. Victor Lippa says,

    This sort of information has created major headaches for me, a landlord. Any rent increase I present is painfully thought out, and generally the result of a property tax increase since as we all know Government keeps spending and is not to be reined in by a budget. Your article is hopelessly skewed toward having a renter feel they can get, or negotiate, a lower price or more concessions on their lease. GEICO’s third party interference in this has created problems, and can only create problems.

  2. Jose A. says,

    I have been trying out longer leases the last two times and yes it does give you a discount! I have also found my last two rentals on Rental Beast. Easy and painless. Great information!

  3. Elizabeth James says,

    I like where I am just disappointed that the rent has gone up about $70.00 per month. Seems a bit overboard to me.

  4. Lorraine S. Deese says,

    I am in an apartment at Brookdale Senior Community – have no lease. So I wish to renew my Renters Insurance. Thanks
    ,

  5. Anthony ciocci JR says,

    I am under a fixed income budget, I don’t feel that the management cares to much for me as a tenant, I have been here in this apartment for over 15 years and feel that the owners don’t care about my loyal service .

  6. AnJay says,

    Very good article and information! it is always good to share information that may help someone in the future! Happy to be “In the Know”!1 🙂

  7. AL Lumb says,

    In regards to re-leasing of my apartment (Feb2018), I have been here since 2005 and every year the price rises approx $25. I started paying monthly $654.00 and now will be $754.00. I have maintenance request that have not been completed over 8months, there is garbage and debris around my apartment, the side walk is uneven etc. I use a Walker to move around. Should I contact my City council/dept to submit a claim? I reside at BridgePoint Apartments Jacksonville Fl.

    PS: I like the area and would prefer not to move as I am partially disabled and it is a good location.

    AL LUMB