From today's Wall Street Journal:
As the housing downturn deepens, rental rates are falling in many major U.S. cities, including New York and Los Angeles, and tenants are finding they have greater leeway to renegotiate their leases.
Fear of losing a good tenant is often enough to make landlords reconsider their rent. Jenna Carpenter, a 28-year-old living in a $2,000-per-month one-bedroom apartment on New York's Lower East Side, didn't plan to renegotiate her contract. But once she told her landlord she didn't plan to renew her lease in March, he offered to lower her rent. They are now negotiating a cut of between $300 and $400 a month.