Carolyn...My experience is that almost anything to deal with real estate is negotiable. What I have found with rentals is that typically your negotiating power revolves around your credit score. If you are borderline, it may not be as negotiable as someone with a high score. Also as has been mentioned, longer term leases are usually more negotaiable than a short term one. My question would be...have you considered purchasing? I can give you an example... we looked at renting my daughters house when she vacated and myself not being overly involved with rentals, asked a friend who does exclusively rentals what she could rent the home for. He told us between $1000 to $1200 a month based upon her house in the neighborhood it was. Her mortgage payment was only $830 and that was with a 4.6% interest rate and covered her taxes and insurance as well so you can see that renting can be much more of a financial burden. Plus rates are currently under 4% now.
If you would like to consider alternative options to renting, please feel free to contact me.