Almost everyone has a landlord horror story, right? Maybe they kicked you out for “babysitting your friend’s cat,” or they didn’t speak English very well, or perhaps they unjustly took your entire security deposit. Well, no matter the tale, remember that the landlords have them too: tenants who can’t pay, residents with noise complaints, and people who actually don’t deserve their security deposits back.
Really, it’s an important relationship in the lives of both parties, which is why we have a few tips to help keep the peace.
1. Start from the beginning
Maybe your friends recommended a place or you just really don’t feel the need to see it before you jump right in, but you should. Call, stop in, set up an appointment for a tour. Put a face to the name on your application!
2. Ask questions
It’s said that the most interesting people are the interested people. Ask about laundry, heat, whatever you need to know or have clarified.
3. Be honest
While it is important to be polite and appealing on both sides, it is also important to be realistic. Not every aspect of renting is glamorous. There might be leaks, bugs or you might have a hard time paying the rent sometimes. Be open, be tough.
4. Be thorough!
Read your lease, twice. Ask someone you know to read it twice. Really though, be thorough in every aspect. Write down the pinholes, the dirty cupboards or the front burner that doesn’t work.
5. Be in touch
Every relationship requires communication, and the one between you and your landlord is no different. Be ready to take calls about when to pick up your key or when to pay your bill or when you need to move out. In turn, expect the same from them.
6. Be on the same page
Landlords specify whether they prefer renting to families or to students or single people to roommates. Respect that and you’ll likely find someone who respects you.
7. Follow the rules
Don’t pack a one-bedroom apartment with four people and don’t be loud when they ask for a nice, quiet tenant. If there are strict rules against pets then don’t have any. Find someone who shares your values.
8. Have a plan
Sometimes it’s hard to make rent, but everyone knows that. Try to have an idea of how to make it through each bill. When you have the funds, try to pay a month in advance in order to save everyone the stress. Have someone you trust to help you out. Pay your rent.
9. Remember that it’s mutual
You need them and they need you. Remember that you’re relying on each other to hold up each end of the deal!
10. Know your rights
Remember when we said to read the lease twice? We meant that. Understand what you’re signing and what you need. Don’t be afraid to ask to change something that you believe to be an infringement on your rights, but also be open to the answer.
11. Give and take
When you need your garbage disposal fixed but haven’t dropped off your rent check yet, things get a little complicated. Or when you paid late and they forgave you, have grace when they’re late to fix your Internet – give and take.
12. Keep it clean
Don’t spout off any bad language on your front porch, take our your trash, clean up after your pet, put out your cigarettes. Work to remember that this place of yours is temporary. Make it your own but understand that the property belongs to your landlord. Treat it accordingly!
13. Don’t be a liability
Leave the batteries in your smoke alarms even when they go off in the kitchen or from the steam of your shower. Tell them about the mold in your bathroom. Ask for another fire extinguisher when you have to use yours to put out dinner. Be safe and smart and everyone will be thankful.
14. Have insurance
If anything, renters insurance can give everyone a peace of mind. Even if all you own is books and clothes, those are what you own and that’s valuable. Having insurance can help with a problem that neither landlord nor tenant are actually responsible for.
15. Keep asking questions!
Ask if everything is okay, check in and let them know that you care enough to stay in touch even months down the line.
16. Work at it
Like every other relationship, some things don’t come easy. It’s difficult to ask for help, or to take responsibility for the hole you put in the wall. That being said, do the difficult thing. Ask for help; take responsibility.
17. Stay under the radar
Don’t draw attention and to yourself and, honestly, if you follow the rest of these tips then your life and your relationship with your landlord will be great. Let other people be the horror stories.
18. Have the future in mind
Not to say that this relationship is all about personal gain, but don’t forget that you’ll need references for future homes. Think about this relationship as investing in your future.
19. Be present
Don’t only ask when you need something fixed. Try checking in at the office to make sure that your payments are in order. Don’t roll into bed every night at three in the morning and smoke cigarettes on your porch every afternoon. Get to know your landlord! Be a familiar face – in a positive way.
20. Leave gracefully
You know the rule: Leave it better than you found it. Well, rentals are no exception here. Clean the corners of your kitchen floor and scrub the edges of your bathtub. End on a good note.