Rental expert tells you how to save money with these rental 'hacks'

When you ask around central Florida, most people can agree that their rent is just too high. Real estate expert Mike Kaeding said that rent prices started to go crazy starting with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"Between about 2020 and 2022, we had as much rent growth in those two years as we did in the prior 20 years."

With more people moving to central Florida, new housing options are popping up everywhere. Kaeding has some crucial tips for renters looking to escape high prices. 

First, he suggested driving around for a while and checking out the properties that didn’t have flashy websites showing off their units and amenities.

"You're often going to get a substantial discount and lower rents than you would from those highly-advertised properties."

Kaeding said before signing or renewing your lease, ask how many months rent-free they're ready to offer. You may be surprised by what you can get. 

"They're much more likely to give you that than to lower the rate you see."

Kaeding said that when it comes to renewing your lease, check out the rents for similar units at nearby properties and ask them to match that price — or tell them you'll move out. 

"Give them a final offer. Tell them I need to see this rent or this concession in order for me to stay."

Kaeding also suggested being mindful of extra so-called "junk fees" properties charge for standard amenities or services. New federal rules require properties to disclose these fees up front, but Kaeding says renters could ask for those fees to be waived as part of the negotiation for a new lease or a lease renewal.