How to Negotiate a Monthly Lease [And why it will improve your life]

saw movie landlord meme

Mortgages and long-term leases inhibit freedom

For ages, how we acquire shelter has been completely weaponized against the masses to keep them in a constant state of immobility, debt, and dependence.

Everyone in your life has either a mortgage or a long term lease.  Even if your house is paid off , property taxes, mandatory insurance, etc. are functionally indistinguishable from rent.  There is no complete escape.


Being trapped by debt or getting penalized for breaking a lease discourages you from pursuing cheaper living, higher pay, and better quality of life.

Being “stuck” in one place causes you to accumulate useless “stuff” that further inhibits your movement and financial resources.

Amazon prime boxes
Just another Tuesday…

These problems are particularly damaging to young and middle age individuals.  You get stuck “just paying the bills” and can’t take the swift actions required to make big improvements in your life.

An Alternative – The [Elusive] Monthly Lease

A monthly rental agreement puts you in a state of mind that is open to making changes.

A great job opportunity pops up in another city – go give it a try.

Your friend decides to rent out a room in their house for 25% the price of your current rent – move in.

You love the mountains in Colorado – try living there.

Your increased capacity to exercise self-determination along with your decrease in consumerism will drastically increase your happiness.

I have rented monthly for the past three years.  I can directly attribute this lifestyle to the speed in which I was able to seize several important opportunities.

Nothing good is easy

You are hard pressed to find a landlord willing to rent an apartment for less than a year.

Standard leases have costly penalties for leaving early.  At a minimum, you will forfeit a deposit worth a month or two of rent.  Many large leasing companies have more punitive and difficult to understand terms.

Even if your landlord is flexible, there are often tax regulations that demand minimal lease terms in order for landlords to receive tax breaks.  In other words, their hands are tied even if they would have otherwise been open to it.

This all sucks, why is it so?

If you haven’t already realized it, the government and property owners have all the power.  They make the rules and the rules are in their interest, NOT yours.

Fear not, YOU can make a monthly lease possible.

Negotiating your own terms

No normal landlord will suggest a monthly lease.  You need to bring it up and make a good case for it.

Like any other negotiation, the degree of your success swings on your ability to lead the interaction.  Propose your terms and clearly communicate why the deal is beneficial to both parties. Here are the fundamentals:

negotiation skills

Have enthusiastic character references and invoke them.  Short terms leases are greater risk to landlords.  You can mitigate their risk aversion by confidently making the case that you are the most respectful tenant in the world.  “Here are the numbers of three people that will happily verify that.”

Unfortunately, it is inescapable that monthly rental rates will be higher than in a long term lease.  This is basic economics.  You pay more because you are increasing the potential volatility of the landlords income stream.

Be firm in keeping the increase to a minimum.  It helps to volunteer, “I like the freedom of monthly leases, but, in practice, I usually end up staying long term.”  This statement paints a picture that a landlord will be more agreeable to.

With regard to the actual lease paperwork:

Get everything that is agreed upon in writing.  The wording should be in plain English.

If a landlord is hesitant to modify the text of their lease, you can be proactive and offer to write the changes yourself for their approval.  There are plenty of lease templates online.

Offering this action further demonstrates to a prospective landlord that you are an above average individual.  If they take offense, drop them.  They have shown themselves to have a lord/peasant mentality.

Impediments you will face

Monthly leases are virtually impossible with large apartment complexes and agencies.  They have rigid rules and no employee has the power to bend them.

Tax regulations sometimes require landlords to have minimum rental terms for certain tax breaks.  (I’ve had landlords tell me it was 7 months.)  This requires you to find someone that isn’t afraid to deal a little under the table.

This will eliminate some “by the books” type landlords.

As a side point, this is a blessing in disguise.  Goodie-goods are toxic and this filters them out.

A landlord that is comfortable operating in gray areas is the type of person that may become a future friend or resource.

You can show a good landlord that you are also “of the freedom mindset” by obliging to give them carefully worded paperwork if they need it for tax reasons.  We sometimes need to take small risks to work together in a very regulated and unfree world.

As an example, once I signed two leases for a landlord.  One was our monthly agreement, and the other was bogus 7 month lease he needed for tax purposes.  It was a small risk to take, but I trusted him.

You develop a nose for free and honest people.

A powerful tactic

Increasing freedom in life is achieved by continuously taking small steps to optimize your life.  Escaping the mental and logistical handcuffs of long term living is a decisive action that will set off an domino effect of unknown opportunities.

It all boils down to being able to walk away….

walk away
You know how good this feels?


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