10 ways to negotiate lower rent

As the housing market continues to flounder, a growing number of homeowners are ditching their mortgage for a lease. And many renters who once thought about buying homes, have decided to hold off. For now, the market is on renters' side, but that could soon change.

Negotiating a cheaper rent now before you sign or renew a lease can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a year. Joe Youngblood at UMoveFree.com, the largest apartment finding service in Texas, gave us this checklist: do your research, particularly about comparable properties in your immediate neighborhood or complex; be flexible -- don't get emotionally attached to one apartment or neighborhood; and, most of all, don't be afraid to ask for a reduction.

That's good advice to start off with, but there are some less conventional ways to cut that monthly rent check even further. Here are some tips from renters, landlords and real estate experts: