Each year, more and more Americans are opting to rent apartments and homes. According to the Pew Research Center, more than a third of U.S. households were renting in 2016. Additionally, more U.S. households are headed by renters than at any other point since 1965. As renting continues to increase in popularity, it’s important to keep in mind your responsibilities as a renter. While there are a number of things landlords can do to make you feel more welcome, a rental agreement is a two-way street. Here are 5 tips to maintaining a positive relationship with your landlord:
1. Read the Lease Carefully
Before you can become a great tenant, you’ll need to know how to prepare. The leasing agreement you receive from your landlord will tell you most everything you need to know. Terms regarding rent, the security deposit, guest restrictions, and pets should all be included in your lease. It may be tempting to skim through legal-style documents, but doing so can come back to bite you. Knowing the ins and outs of your lease can save you from disagreements with your landlord down the road.
2. Pay the Rent On Time
Paying rent on time should be obvious. And yet, many renters fail to meet this standard over the course of their lease. The two keys to paying your rent on time are living within your means and maintaining a consistent form of payment. The easiest way to make sure your rent is paid on time is to set up a direct deposit from your checking account. Certainly, circumstances can arise that make paying rent on time more difficult. If you can’t pay your rent on time communicate clearly and early on with your landlord as to why and try coming to an agreement around an extension.
3. Know When to Submit Maintenance Requests
Submitting a maintenance request may not be on top of some people’s priority list. However, hiding a maintenance issue can lead to a dispute down the road. Whether you’re at fault or not, letting your landlord know immediately when something is awry can help both parties. Ignoring an issue with your apartment may lead to an awkward situation the next time your landlord checks in. It can also cause you personal discomfort and inconvenience. However, keep in mind the maintenance team or contractor is often very busy, and you should be respectful of their time. If the only thing you need to do is change a light bulb or adjust the shower curtain, it’s best to take a do-it-yourself approach after checking your rental agreement guidelines.
4. Keep Your Neighbors’ Needs in Mind
One of the best ways to avoid confrontation with your landlord is to be a good neighbor. Often, the biggest issues between neighbors involve sound. If you know you’ll be doing something that could interrupt others such as playing an instrument, its best to do it when most people are away. Another good tip is to set a schedule of when you will take part in a loud activity and notify your neighbors accordingly. Communication can go a long way in keeping the peace. Cleanliness is another area that can cause conflict issues between neighbors. Remember the appearance of your apartment can reflect upon the entire complex. If the visible areas of your apartment are cluttered and messy, both your neighbors and landlord may be knocking on your door.
5. Stay in Touch
Generally, residents of rental properties try to avoid contact with landlords. Perhaps unfairly, tenants are inclined to think a landlord will give them bad news. However, keeping in touch with your landlord can make routine and difficult conversations easier. A landlord that you have established a relationship with may be more willing to look at things from your point of view. While in-person contact is better, the occasional phone call or email goes a long way.
Along with the tips above, it’s important to make a good first impression on your landlord. One way to do this is to plan your move well in advance. Additionally, using a reputable and licensed moving company will immediately establish credibility with your landlord.