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10 Things Landlords Wish Their Tenants Knew

August 23, 2018

Every relationship has its challenges –and this is certainly true for landlords and tenants.

But while there are always ups and downs, this doesn’t mean that landlord-tenant experience needs to be a stress-filled nightmare. True, horror stories exist on both sides of the fence, and we’ve all heard tales of greedy and conniving landlords, or tenants going off the rails and destroying rental properties. The truth, though, is far less dramatic; these scenarios are not the norm. By and large, most landlords and tenants are able to arrive at a mutual understanding and get along just fine.  Symbiotically, if you will!

An excellent landlord-tenant relationship can offer tremendous benefits, for both parties. But what’s the secret to a good –and long-lasting relationship? Why do some landlords and tenants seem to hit it off, while others quickly head south?

At the heart of relationship success is a good understanding of the other party. Equally important, is communication. No one’s a mind-reader, and often, there are many things that often go unspoken –for landlords and tenants alike.

With this in mind, let’s pull back the curtain and take a look at some things that every landlord wishes for in a tenant. Tenants, this one’s for you! If you’ve ever wondered what goes on in your landlord’s mind, here’s a look now.

  1.    Pay Your Rent on Time

It may sound basic, but it’s vitally important. When it comes to your rent, it’s important to ensure that it’s paid on time, every time. Being on time can help to save frustrations and headaches, and is the cornerstone of a good landlord-tenant relationship. It’s not that your landlord’s greedy; most depend on the rent to pay the mortgage, bills, maintenance, and repairs to keep the property in good shape.

  1.    Be Truthful

Being upfront and honest with your landlord is also important. Things happen; it’s just part of the business. But neglecting to tell your landlord when a pipe is clogged or a toilet is overflowing can lead to further damage –oftentimes, extensive. You should also be honest when detailing how the damage occurred, and how long it’s been happening for. Chances are, your landlord will know anyway, and it pays to be honest.

  1.    Follow the Rules

The rules are not suggestions from which you can pick and choose, and they’re not designed to make your life miserable. Instead, they’re in place to protect you, the property, and in the case of a multi-unit property, other tenants as well. Always read the rental agreement at the time of move-in so that you’re clear on the rules, and how they apply to you. Be sure to run any questions that you have by your landlord or property manager.

  1.    Communicate

One of the biggest complaints that tenants have about landlords, is poor communication. But good communication goes both ways! As a tenant, it’s important to keep your landlord up-to-date on important developments that may impact your ability to pay the rent. Let them know if you get into a bind. Did you lose your job? Did your roommate leave without warning? If the landlord doesn’t know, they can’t help you. And ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away will get you nowhere.

  1.    Remember That a Little Respect Goes a Long Way

A little respect can go a long way. Always treat your neighbors, other tenants, and the house with respect. Look after the property, keep an eye on security, and try to keep excessive noise to a minimum. Likewise, treat your landlord with respect as well. Demands and threats will get you nowhere fast. A polite approach and reasonable dialogue is always the best approach.  

  1.    Keep up With the Basics

Don’t neglect the basics! Be sure to keep your place clean and tidy, avoid letting trash pile up or items stack up outside the building. Equally important, feel free to do some of the minor tasks around the home on your own. You don’t have to call your landlord for everything.

“One of the most common problems is that tenants disable smoke alarms because they beep instead of changing the battery,” says Skip Schloming, a Boston landlord of 20+ years. “Tenants are losing the ability of how to take care of an apartment, about knowing how they operate and function.”

Your landlord’s responsible for the bigger jobs; but changing light bulbs, washing the windows, and keeping the place clean are all tasks that you can do on your own. If it’s something you can handle then in most cases your landlord will be happy to let you tackle it. If you’re uncertain, check your rental agreement or ask your landlord to see what they think.

  1.    Work With Us, Not Against Us

You and your landlord are on the same team. You both care about the property, and want to keep it in good shape. As such, it’s important to work together to keep things running smoothly. If your landlord asks that you schedule an HVAC service every year, try to do so. It they inform you to keep the faucets dripping during sub-freezing temperatures, work with them, and let the faucets drip. Doing so can save both you and the landlord from the hassle and inconvenience of serious damage and extensive repairs down the road.

  1.    Ask for Permission First

You want to change up a few things, maybe paint a wall or swap out the light switch covers. But before you go making extensive changes to the property, make sure you get the landlord’s approval.

“While you want to make your rental feel like home, you have to be respectful of the fact that your landlord might not share your tastes,” says Clair Jones, director of community outreach at SafeWise.com. When in doubt, ask your landlord first. It’s respectful and much better than catching them off guard with an unexpected update.

  1.    Realize That Landlords Are Busy Too

Being a landlord can be a full-time job in itself, but often, landlords have other jobs as well. Not to mention a family and a life outside of work. While a tenant’s concern is a top priority, often, your landlord may be facing other issues as well. Taking the time to realize that landlords are busy too and having a little patience is something that your landlord will appreciate.  

Speaking of busy, if your landlord doesn’t answer your phone call the first time, don’t call back again and again. Just leave a message! If there’s an emergency, leave a message stating the urgency. Calling repeatedly won’t get you to the front of the line. Remember, a little respect goes a long way.

  1.   Trust Us

While landlords often get a bad rap, we feel strongly that this reputation is undeserved. The truth is that most landlords really do want the best for their tenants. They want to ensure that your home is in good condition and well-maintained. They want to do everything that they reasonably can to keep you happy at the rental. Having a solid relationship with your landlord can help to build trust, which in turn can help your renting experience to go well.

While many of these things might seem basic, they’re vitally important. And after all, often it’s the little things that mean the most. At the end of the day, a good landlord-tenant relationship is a two-way street. By communicating properly and showing respect for each other, you’ll be well on your way to a successful tenancy –something that’s important to both of you!

Landlords: what’s one thing you wished your tenants knew?