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Online tool helps man negotiate rent back down

Posted: 6:00 AM, Oct 25, 2017
Updated: 2017-10-25 15:45:47Z

With San Diego rents at record highs, it's understandable to feel powerless when it comes to increases.

But one North Park man just proved a little research can go a long way. 

Matthew Brewer was paying $1,550 a month for a two-bedroom apartment when he got slapped with a $200 a month increase. 

"I freaked out," he said. "I thought maybe $100, maybe $50, do it in increments."

He rents the apartment month to month, which is risky when it comes to increases. And it's something those in his complex have already seen.

"They had already been raising the rent on my neighbors as well, so they had four units that were empty," he said. 

Brewer didn't want to move out, so he prepared his case. He searched for similar listings nearby on hotpads.com . It's a website designed for people who want to live in urban core areas, with searchable maps and information on listings. 

He discovered that his rent was a little low, but in the normal range. He told his property manager that finding a new tenant at the higher price was no sure thing.

"I made the argument logically that it's safer to have me in the unit paying for my rent, than having me move out for them to raise the rent," he said. 

And it worked.

Brewer ultimately got a letter postponing that $200 a month increase until March, which means by that time he'll have an extra $800 in his pocket. 

When it comes to negotiating, Zillow says it's important to demonstrate that you are responsible and that you plan to stay longterm.