How to Negotiate a Lease Start Date

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My boyfriend and I are looking to rent an apartment with a lease start in mid May in a competitive and expensive market ($2500+ for two bedrooms). We found a floor plan we like, but it is available now. Ideally we would like our lease to start end of May. Any tips on how we can get them to consider letting us start the lease in May? We have the money to pre-pay for a year, but I was reading on here that offering that could come across as shady and that larger management companies won't be drawn to that. Our credit scores are good, boyfriend is in tech and I am in consulting. We haven't applied yet...we want to tour the building first, but just want to get ideas. Thanks for any tips! 

Instead of offering to pre-pay the year (because you are right, most people see it as a red flag), try offering to sign a longer lease (a 2+ year lease could definitely help your case). That's probably your best option. Vacancy is one of the most expensive costs for landlords, so keep that in mind. If it's a competitive market, you need to give them some reason that justifies 2+ months of additional vacancy compared to someone who is willing to move in this month. If it is super competitive and you really want the place, then you may need to go ahead and meet them in the middle with an April lease start date and just eat that cost. 

@Nikki Blake Lease the new place now and move in when your current lease runs out. From the perspective of someone who rents residential units to people for profit you couldn't convince me to miss 2 months or whatever it works out to be worth of income so you can move in when it's convenient to you. I just don't see another way for you to make it happen in a hot rental market.

Offer to start payment April 1st. I would not offer to sign a 2 year lease as many landlord are also suspicious of a offer of that nature. Landlords are smart enough to know that the term of a lease is no indication or guarantee a tenant will stay for the full term. Unless you are dealing with a hobby landlord.

A landlord needing to rent immediately may be desperate. Many applicants could be facing evictions if they need to move fast and you may want to suggest to him that he is placing himself at risk. He may be desperate or he may simply be a hobby landlord. Either way I would advise you screen him carefully.

Needing to rent it immediately may indicate he is a desperate landlord in which case offering to start in April and providing a deposit now may be all it takes.

Thanks, Thomas. It is a big management company that has multiple buildings in more than 5 major cities in the U.S. They do offer leases up to 24 months so that wouldn't be out of the ordinary for them. The unit has been open for awhile but I am thinking that is mostly due to the fact that it is winter.