Ways to Save on Rent in Vancouver
Living in cities like Vancouver where vacancy rates are low, here are some rent-saving tips that may help you secure a lower rental rate in Vancouver:
Open up your search area.
Include broader geography and loosen other requirements too (for example, 1.5 vs. 2 bathrooms, shared vs. private laundry etc.). If you are on a strict budget, you will have to compromise in some areas. Keep an open mind!
Don’t live in Downtown.
Downtown Vancouver vacancy rate is < 1%. With this in mind, you will likely have better luck finding and negotiating lower rental rates outside the downtown peninsula without compromising too much in terms of convenience or access to the city. For example, apartments at Marine Gate, Broadway/City Hall or Olympic Village are all located by Canada Line stations and will bring you into the downtown core in 5-10 minutes. These are vibrant neighbourhoods surrounded by key amenities so are definitely worth considering. The same goes for neighbourhoods to the East along the Skytrain route like eclectic Commercial Drive or Renfrew Heights. Moreover, you will be able to search for a variety of accommodation in these neighbourhoods- not just high rise apartments.
Negotiate any listed rate.
The amount on the lease is firm and non-negotiable once signed. However, there is some wiggle room prior to drawing up and signing the agreement. Negotiate any listed rate. If you are an excellent tenant with impeccable references, there is a chance the landlord may lower the rent to secure you as their tenant.
Consider a roommate.
Living with someone will always increase your options and usually your living space.
Sign a longer lease.
Propose signing a longer lease (i.e. 2 years) in turn for a reduction in rent. The stability may appeal to some landlords.
Ask about parking.
Sometimes the cost of a parking spot is included in the rental amount. If you don’t have a car, you could ask for a $100-150 reduction (depending on where you live).
Inquire about the cost of utilities.
If heating is electrical, for example, hydro bills will be higher so you may want to consider a rental with more efficient heating. Also, if cable is included, but you are happy with Netflix alone, then ask the landlord to cancel the cable and reduce your rent.
Negotiate after the 20th.
Lastly, if you are comfortable with a little uncertainty, you could push your search to the tail end of a month. Typically, landlords are more negotiable after the 20th of the month.