8 Tips to Help You Get Along With Your Landlord

The landlord-renter relationship can be a very tricky line to walk for many reasons. For one thing, renters and landlords are both taking very huge risks when they sign a lease. For another, the document itself makes each person dependent on the other.

When renting out their own private property, landlords are risking a lot financially. If a tenant causes damage, stops paying rent, or any apartment-related issues become litigious, they could be out thousands of dollars or more.

8 Tips to Help You Get Along With Your Landlord

The renter depends greatly on the landlord as well. Uncomfortable, dangerous, dirty, or otherwise unlivable spaces can cause a lot of stress. Not to mention, landlord disputes and evictions can put renters out of a place to live altogether.

For these reasons, it’s very important – even crucial – to foster a good relationship with your landlord as soon as possible. While a bad situation can be traumatic for both parties involved, the opposite is also true. A positive relationship with your landlord will keep both of you sane, safe, and happy.

Check out these eight guidelines to help you get along with your landlord:

1. Be Honest

It’s almost impossible to get along with your landlord after starting off on the wrong foot, so start making an effort to build a good relationship on day one.

8 Tips to Help You Get Along With Your Landlord - Be Honest

Little fibs, like hiding Fido or having an extra roommate, can create instant distrust and tension if (and when) your landlord finds out. From the day you sign the lease and step into the apartment, make sure you’re being completely honest.

2. Pay Your Rent

There is nothing worse for the landlord-renter relationship than a tenant who doesn’t pay rent on time or in full. Even if they give you a 2-5 day cushion before the rent is officially deemed late, it’s better to get it in early or on time.

Rent issues don’t just affect the landlord or your relationship, though. If you pay late often enough, your credit will take a hit, and your landlord will likely mention it if called for a reference in the future. If you don’t think you’ll be able to pay rent on time, get in touch with your landlord right away, and make sure not to let it happen again.

3. Say Hi

If your landlord is actually the guy who lives down the hall, make sure you say hello when passing in the lobby or laundry room.

8 Tips to Help You Get Along With Your Landlord - Say Hi

Being friendly and likable will build trust, and it will also make your landlord more likely to give you some leeway or quick maintenance help if problems arise down the road.

4. Mind Your Lease

Respect the rules they’ve taken the time to lay out in the lease. Remember: The lease is there to protect both of you, and violating it will could create both a personal and legal issue.

If you signed on the dotted line and promised you wouldn’t paint the walls, bring home an adopted puppy, or sublet the place without permission, then don’t do so without asking first. Make sure you treat their property with care and respect.

5. Ask For Help

Make sure to notify your landlord as soon as possible with any maintenance requests or damage reports. The only way they’ll know about issues is if you tell them, and they’ll likely want to take care of anything as quickly as possible.

8 Tips to Help You Get Along With Your Landlord - Ask for Help

They want the apartment to be in good working order for you, but maintenance issues that go unfixed for a long time could actually become more expensive for them down the line.

6. Mind Your Attitude

After asking for help, remember to be patient if they don’t respond right away. Many landlords have other full-time jobs or properties that keep them busy, so as long as your landlord is normally dependable, it’s unlikely they’re ignoring or disregarding your needs.

Keep second and third notices polite, even if the tone becomes more adamant. If your landlord has shown a pattern of ignoring requests, it could legally be termed neglect, depending on the repairs needed.

7. Get Everything in Writing (or e-mail)

Since both of you are taking risks and depending on each other, try to put every apartment-related conversation and request into writing.

8 Tips to Help You Get Along With Your Landlord - Get Everything in Writing

Correspond by email rather than on the phone or in person. This will protect both of you and hopefully make the relationship a little less stressful overall.

8. Know Your Rights

While there are many things you can do to promote a positive relationship with your landlord, you aren’t the only person responsible if something goes wrong. All 50 states and many cities have legislation in place to protect tenants from discrimination, negligence and other issues that could potentially come up when renting an apartment.

Know your rights when you enter into a contract with your landlord so that you’re fully prepared just in case.

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8 Tips to Help You Get Along With Your Landlord

Photo Credit: Bradley GordonReganSimon ThulbournJeffrey PottSimplificamos Su Trabajo

The Rental Application Process

After hours of looking at apartments online and in person, you’ve finally found the one. It’s exactly what you’re looking for in terms of price, size, amenities and location, and you want to fill out the application so you can get approved immediately.

The Rental Application Process

If it’s your first time renting an apartment, though, the rental application process may be a little different than you imagined. Applying for the apartment is a lengthy procedure with several steps that both you and your potential landlord will need to take. For first-time renters, here’s what you can expect the rental application process to look like:

Filling Out the Application

The first step, of course, is filling out the rental application. In more urban areas, it’s usually a good idea to do this as soon as possible after finding your desired apartment, since landlords will continue showing it until someone has officially applied.

I’ve had more than one apartment swept out from under me within one day of seeing the place for the first time! On the application you should expect to include all of your personal information, including either a social security or driver’s license number, along with employment information and references.

Application Fee

Applying for an apartment also generally comes along with a few different fees, some refundable and some not.

Depending on the landlord and building, you’ll have to pay an application fee, a processing fee and sometimes a security deposit. Expect to pay as much as $100 or more per person just to apply for an apartment in some areas.

Proof of Income

Most landlords include an area on the application for your monthly income, and they will almost always require you to provide proof.

The Rental Application Process - Proof of IncomeIt’s a good idea to bring two or three recent pay stubs along when looking at or applying for apartments so you have that proof on hand. Some will accept a W​-2 form as proof instead of pay stubs as long as you’ve held the job for more than a year.

Most landlords and building managers also call your employer for proof of employment, and may ask questions about you personally and your salary. Many companies don’t answer those questions for legal reasons, but it’s a possibility.

Credit Check

When applying for the apartment, you’ll also have to give the landlord permission to check your credit. The credit check is really important for landlords because it gives them an idea of how financially responsible you are.

If you don’t have credit or have really new credit, it’s a lot harder for them to get a feel for your dependability, so it’s a good idea to talk to them about it at the time of application. They may ask you to provide a co-signer or depend solely on your roommate’s credit.

Background Check

The criminal background check is another thing that your landlord will need your authorization for. Landlords check your criminal history and will show your landlords your criminal history, again to get an idea of your personality and dependability.

The Rental Application Process - Background Check

There is also usually a spot on the application to explain any felonies on your record, so make sure to fill that section out in your own words if you have any.

Landlord References

Most landlords and building managers will do an extensive check on your rental history by speaking to your past landlords. If this is your first time renting, you won’t have any past landlords and they’ll have to rely only on your personal references.

Provide references outside of your family, like college professors and employers, so that they’ll be able to give the landlord an idea of your work ethic, responsibility and other important character traits.

Co-signer Application

Co-signers or guarantors are people who sign the lease with you, saying they take legal responsibility for covering your rent if you can’t. Providing a co-signer is a good idea if you’re a first-time renter for a lot of reasons.

For one, if you don’t have a rental history, landlords won’t have any information about how dependable you are with rent or if you’ve caused damage before.

Landlords may also request a co-signer if you have poor credit or if your income isn’t more than three times the cost of the rent – that’s a pretty typical income rule that landlords use.

Lease

If your rental application gets approved, you’ll then be able to sign the lease!

Everyone living in the apartment will have to be present to sign the lease, and the co-signer will need to sign their own agreement as well. The lease covers expectations for the term (typically apartments are rented out for 12 months at a time), rent, pets, maintenance, subleasing and a variety of other aspects of renting.

Expect the lease​-signing process to take awhile, since you’ll be covering so much ground. You’ll also most likely have to pay the first month’s rent and any move-in fees or security deposits required by your landlord and the building.

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The Rental Application Process - Things You Need to Know

Photo Credit: 401(K) 2012Brian Turner

Don’t Move! 7 Reasons Why Renting Makes Sense

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, at least for the Apartment Guide team. Renters are making tough decisions about whether to stay put in their current apartment, or move on to a bigger and better abode.

It’s natural to assume that after a few years of renting, you’re automatically ready to take on the title of homeowner. But you might need to slow your roll before you’re in too deep. Are you really ready to own a home? Like, really? Below, we outline a few reasons why you might need to renew that apartment lease.

benefits of renting vs. buying

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Month-to-Month Leases: What You Need to Know

Short-term leases have their pluses and minuses. Check out the details here.

Short-term leases have their pluses and minuses. Check out the details here.

Feeling a bit fluid and spontaneous when it comes to your living situation? If your needs dictate, you may wish to explore lease options other than the typical 12- to 18-month rental period.

Whether you’ve taken a temporary job, plan to travel for an extended period, or simply don’t know where you’ll choose to live in the near future, you may enjoy the flexibility that a month-to-month lease offers.

It’s important to note, however, that a month-to-month rental agreement isn’t for everyone. Read on to consider your options before you commit.

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What to Do When You’re Both a Renter and an Owner

When you both rent and own, you've got a lot of details to look after.

When you both rent and own, you’ve got a lot of details to look after.

There are many reasons homeowners may find themselves in a position to rent and own at the same time.

Some cannot afford to stay in their homes, but also can’t afford to sell when a depressed economy means the inability to get a good sales price.

Other homeowners find themselves needing to rent because they’ve moved for a new job, but still want to hang onto a home.

Whatever the reason, being both a landlord and a renter at the same time comes with complications. Here are five issues to consider when you both rent and own.

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Should You Co-sign an Apartment Lease?

Here are items you will want to weigh carefully before you add your signature to another person’s apartment lease.

Here are items you will want to weigh carefully before you add your signature to another person’s apartment lease.

If a friend or relative asks you to co-sign on an apartment lease, should you do it?

Of course, we all want to help friends and family in need, but you have to be careful when it comes to the commitment of legally guaranteeing another person’s apartment lease.

Here are some items you will want to weigh carefully as you consider whether to add your signature.

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Rental History Becoming Key for Approving Leases

Paying the rent on time every month is the most important part of establishing a good renal history for yourself.

Paying the rent on time every month is the most important part of establishing a good renal history for yourself.

Here’s some important news to be aware of if you are a renter or a potential renter.

The apartment leasing industry (also known as the multifamily industry) is increasingly using a new metric besides the credit score to help determine whether they should offer a lease to a prospective renter.

Rental history is becoming a key criterion for approving new leases, and it is judged by many landlords to be a very reliable measure.

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Can You Rent an Apartment with Bad Credit?

If your credit isn't quite up to par, you'll probably need a trusted friend or family member to co-sign an apartment lease with you.

If your credit isn’t quite up to par, you’ll probably need a trusted friend or family member to co-sign an apartment lease with you.

Think you can’t rent an apartment with bad credit? Think again.

While it may be a bit more difficult for those with credit issues to rent an apartment, it’s not impossible.

To make yourself a more appealing applicant, you have to understand what property managers are looking for and know how to convince them to work with you.

Here are five strategies you might use to help secure an apartment lease — even when you have a few dings on your credit report.

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Know the Components of an Apartment Lease Agreement

Look for these elements as you navigate the language of an apartment lease.

Reading your apartment lease agreement can feel overwhelming, but it is important to understand the terms of a lease before you commit to it.

Here is a list of the basic items you will find in most apartment lease agreements. Look for these elements as you navigate through the language of your apartment lease.

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Know How to Renew a Lease

Know How to Renew a Lease

This apartment lease checklist will walk you through the steps of renewing a typical apartment lease.

Don’t wait until the last minute to renew your apartment lease. If you act early, you reduce stress and improve your options to make a lease agreement that meets your needs.

This apartment lease checklist will walk you through the basic steps of renewing a lease.

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