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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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