Be prepared to walk away.
And by prepared:
- Already have a short list of suitable properties that are priced where you want and ready to move in when you want
- Let your current land lord know that you want to renew at a certain rate
- If the current land lord doesn't agree, move on and profit
- Of course, with falling prices, you want to jump in on the "trend"
I am into my second renewal (years 5 and 6) in my current place and the landlady hasn't increased the rent on either occasion I have renewed.
I guess paying rent on time and not being a pain in the ass pays dividends.
If you know you're a good tenant, don't just accept the rise. Last time my landlord tried to raise the rent by about 3k, I said I was thinking of upsizing to a bigger flat anyway so thanks but no thanks. He miraculously cut almost the entire rise and only increased it by $500.
Our landlord owns the entire building and are generally quite reasonable. Having been told by friends when we first found the place that we should trying making an offer below asking price, we negotiated a 7% discount on our first lease which was one of the reasons we were surprised there was no increase in our renewal.
It helps that our apartment is larger than average and increases at this end of the market haven't been so steep. We are on good terms with the Landlord (fortunately, since the unit opposite ours is used by the owners as their office/guest & helpers' quarters) and have helped out the management company out a couple of times with dealing with some awkward tenants where language has been a problem. Despite this, having looked at the market and a couple of alternative apartments (and making sure the management company knew we had done this) we had already set ourselves a limit for the increase above which we were prepared to walk away.