How To Politely Decline An Apartment Offer


Finding your dream home may be associated with intense emotions. You may want to move in immediately without a second thought. The neighborhood, location, and amenities were just everything you have always wanted.

You have already communicated to the landlord about your intention to move in. And the rental offer is underway. Everything went well until you just knew you got a promotion. Good thing, right?

The bad thing is, your boss has to deploy you to another location. Now, there is no other way but to decline a rental offer. But how do you do it politely and professionally?

If you decline an apartment offer, you should do so in writing as soon as possible. Regardless of your reasons, your message should be unambiguous. An elegant way for both sides is to suggest a friend as a replacement.

Express your intentions to decline the offer as soon as possible

Declining a rental offer can be very awkward. However, it would be best if you did it as soon as possible.

Informing the landlord in advance will allow him to move forward and focus his attention on potential clients.

Screening potential clients is a process that may take time. Landlords have to conduct a thorough background check among their applicants before making a decision. They may hire a third party to investigate whether a client has a bad credit record, previous dangerous criminal acts, or evictions.

To spare your landlord from inconvenience, communicate your intention to decline your rental offer within 2-3 days.

Do it in writing

It is best to communicate with your landlord in writing.

Sending an email is a time-saving effort that can effectively communicate your intentions.

You may need to coordinate with your agent so they can better advise you on what to write in your email. Your agent may also help you settle any disputes and disagreements after sending your email or letter.

Meanwhile, written communication is only the first step, and you may have to see your landlord in person to discuss more legal stuff.

Consider referring a friend who agrees with the exact rental conditions

Before announcing your decision to decline the rental offer, you have the option to look for a friend or co-worker and refer the place to them. In doing so, you have spared your landlord from looking for a new tenant and undergoing the lengthy screening process.

Landlords are busy people. Their regular day usually comes with many client, agent meetings or property tours.

If you introduce a trusted friend or co-worker to them, they will not care so much about your decision anymore.

This can be a good way to resolve the matter in a way that is acceptable to both parties.

You may have to sacrifice your downpayment

It is usual for landlords to ask for a downpayment upon signing a rental agreement. This is to seal the deal between them and the clients. Making a downpayment is also a sign that the tenant is serious about renting the place.

If you choose to decline your rental offer, be prepared that the landlord will not refund your deposit.

They may have deposited it already in their bank accounts or have used it for other expenses. Thus, it is doubtful that they will give it back to you.

You are also at a disadvantage as you are the ones who withdraw your rental application. So, it is more reasonable for them not to return your downpayment to you.

Offer a token of apology

Amidst business negotiations and strict rules, you have to remember that your landlord is still a human being who gets upset when things don’t work out for them. Declining the rental application has disrupted their immediate and long-term plans.

Not only can you send an email, but you can also offer a token of apology.

Doing so will make them understand how truly sorry you are. Customer care staff members usually give tokens of apology to clients who were not satisfied with a service. Tokens can be in any form, such as direct cash, wallet amounts, freebies, or gifts.

Giving a token of apology may have more significance if you have previously sent an email or settled any serious dispute with a landlord. Again, you may have to contact your agent to deliver the token of apology directly to your landlord together with other documents that the landlord has to sign to close the deal.

Here are polite phrases that you can use to decline a rental offer. You may want to use them in writing an email or communicating directly to your landlord.

Key Phrases to Decline A Rental Offer

“I regret to inform you.”

You may have heard of this phrase before in other situations when you get rejected. But this also works when expressing your intention to withdraw your rental application.

Saying ‘Sorry’ is a bit informal.

Try to use more formal words instead that may show your educational standing or credibility, giving your landlord an idea that you did not deliberately break the contract. Using these words will make him know that you have a valid reason for doing it.

“Unfortunately, some better options came along the way.”

Again, you want to sound gentle and apologetic to your landlord. Using ‘unfortunately’ will give him the idea that you do not mean to break the contract. The phrase ‘better options’ also connotes that the previous rental offer was also a good choice. However, you found something better that suits you best.

This phrase is a prelude to more specific reasons for declining the rental offer. Consider using this phrase as an introduction or the first statement in a paragraph before going into more specific reasons and details.

“I humbly apologize for the inconvenience I have caused you.”

Breaking a contract is never an easy task. The act entails your dignity and credibility to stick to a decision, so you have to express how apologetic you are. And, you are ready to let go of pride to show it.

This phrase also indicates that you are responsible for your mistakes and acknowledge the consequences of your actions, including the hassle they may have caused to your landlord. Use this phrase in your email to create a professional and sincere tone.

“Thank you but I’ll have to pass. I’ll consider it next time.”

There’s no better way to decline an offer but to be straightforward about it. Sometimes, people don’t want to sugarcoat things. They want straight answers, especially in terms of properties.

If you say straight ahead that you are not interested in the offer, the owner of the apartment can look for another buyer or tenant to take it. Be confident and say your rejection nicely.

“I appreciate your offer but the conditions are way beyond my expectations.”

In some cases, you must say to the landlord why you are declining the offer. If it’s because of some provisions in the contract or some conditions that you don’t agree with, say it in a nice way like this.

Say that you appreciate the offer but the conditions are not what you are expecting them to be. At the end of it, the landlord would surely understand.

“Thank you very much for the opportunity but I’m not interested.”

Another way to decline an apartment offer is to thank the person offering you and say you are not interested. This is a straightforward sentence that won’t complicate things when you reject an offer.

Again, one way to simply decline is to say what you mean and don’t sugarcoat it.

“Thanks! However, my finances are not enough to accept the offer yet.”

If the reason why you are declining an offer is because of your financial struggles, then it’s just right to say that your finances are not enough to accept the offer. It’s okay to say the real reason why you are declining the offer.

If you use this sentence to turn down the apartment offer, the landlord would understand the real reason behind it.

“Unfortunately, I’ve accepted an offer from a different landlord already. Thanks for letting me know.”

This is another way of respectfully declining an apartment offer. If the reason behind your rejection is that you already have talked to another landlord, say that you have already accepted another offer and that your apartment problems have been sorted out.

More often than not, the landlord currently offering you would say that you might want to consider his offer since he might be cheaper. If he ever asks you to cancel the offer you’ve made recently, just say that you’ve already made progress on the contract, so he won’t insist anymore.

Final Thoughts

Finding the apartment of your dreams is a challenging task for most people. Thus, if you found the perfect apartment, letting it go may have broken your heart, too! Feelings of loss and disappointment are valid ones that you may want to talk about with your agent.

Telling them will give you more ideas on how to effectively communicate your intentions to your landlord. The agent’s role as an intermediary is to reassure the landlord so that they do not put you on the blacklist or demand a higher amount from you.

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