When you choose a home, you need to evaluate several factors: the location, amenities, size, access to transportation, and, of course, the price. And in fact, now is a really great time to be looking for an apartment. Apartment rental rates have fallen 40% across the UAE, and as a result, many prospective tenants are hoping for a rent reduction. If every aspect of your home seems great except the price, it might be a good idea to negotiate your rent with your landlord. We know this can feel anxiety inducing—but keep in mind that it is almost always worth it to try. Advertised rental asking prices for Dubai apartments have dropped almost 30 per cent in the past two years, so if approached politely, confidently, and correctly, the odds that you’ll be able to settle on an agreement with your landlord where you’re getting more bang for your buck are pretty high. Here’s how:

First off, it’s really important to do your homework before asking for a rent reduction. This should start with exploring your own finances: be realistic about how much rent you’re able to afford. If your landlord does agree to reduce the rent, are you positive you can commit to that number for the entire length of your lease agreement? Once you’ve done that, begin gathering sources to back up your request. The RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Agency), part of Dubai’s Land Department, has a rent index calculator that shows the average rents for all communities in Dubai. It can also tell you whether your landlord is entitled to increase your rent, and if so, by how much. However, the calculator isn’t always the most accurate measure: it’s updated every few months, so we wouldn’t recommend using it as the only piece of evidence for your negotiation. That’s why you should visit property portals such as Urban, Property Finder, or Bayut to see what a similar apartment is going for in the market right now. Make sure you find homes that are as similar to yours as possible—factoring in features like view, size, and location (since those can greatly impact the value of a home).

Once you’re armed with your evidence, schedule a meeting with your landlord. Timing matters! You should begin negotiating the price at least 90 days before your current lease ends. That way, if your landlord isn’t willing to lower the rent, you’ll have enough time to make a decision about your next step. When you do speak with your landlord, be upfront, honest, reasonable, and kind: even if you’re frustrated by the rent they’ve proposed, approaching the situation in a calm and respectful manner is likely to yield better results. Don’t forget that this is ultimately a two-party agreement. Your landlord is more likely to find common ground with you if they feel it’s a win-win: they can’t be losing too much out of the deal, so make sure you’re asking for a realistic number. You should also consider what you are willing to sacrifice. For example, does your apartment come with a parking space you won’t use? You could offer your landlord this extra space that he could give to another family, and ask for lower rent in return. And above all, remember the classic rule of negotiation: always aim for more than you actually expect to receive. That way, you can actually meet somewhere in the middle after some back and forth.

You should also come to this meeting prepared to prove your value as a tenant. Give some background information about yourself, demonstrate that you have a steady and stable source of income that will support your tenancy, and emphasize that you have the intention of remaining in their property for a long time. If you’re negotiating the lease renewal for an apartment you’ve already been living in, it would help to show you’ve taken good care of your home thus far (perhaps with photographic evidence) and to remind your landlord that you’ve paid rent in full and on time consistently. If you present yourself as a responsible occupant, the landlord is more likely to want to move forward with you than look for a new, potentially less reliable, tenant.

What if your landlord says no? It might happen—your landlord does ultimately have the right to decline, but if they do, we urge you to emphasize that you are serious about leaving. You do ultimately hold a lot of power in the situation: if you move out, the landlord could lose money due to periods when they’re looking for a new tenant and the apartment is empty. Make sure you are totally confident that you can find a cheaper place though: if the price they were asking for really is reasonable for the area, then the landlord will be comfortable letting you go for someone who’ll agree to pay the rent price.

We know it’s nerve-wracking to approach your landlord about a better deal. But the single biggest expense for most people is their rent—and if you are able to negotiate, the pay-off could be huge. We’re here to help you find the best, most convenient home for you in Dubai. Ready to move? Explore Urban homes.