At some point, just about all of us end up renting a place to live. You might rent something modest, like a bedroom in a shared house or a small apartment. Or you might end up renting something a little more spiffy, like a house, or a penthouse apartment, or one of those super cool loft style places. If you do get one of those loft style places, allow me to invite myself over.
As someone who owns rental properties, I’m currently on the other side of the fence. I’m looking to profit from someone like you moving into a property I own. Sure, I’ve been a renter before, but it really opens up your eyes when you’re on the other side of the transaction. Sometimes, renters can just be downright annoying. They might not realize they’re being such a pain, or they might just feel like they pay enough in rent to justify their bad attitude. Yes, a landlord is responsible for maintaining a property, but there’s a difference between maintenance and being a pain.
With that in mind, here are some of my peeves as a landlord, and tips you can use to make sure you don’t irritate the guy who owns the place you live in.
Keep Your Word
By far the most annoying thing to deal with is people who don’t follow through on what they say they’re going to do. This applies in most situations in life, but especially in the landlord/tenant relationship.
It starts at the beginning of the relationship, during the first showing. If you say you’re going to show up at a certain time, make sure you’re there on time. If you’re going to be late, make sure to call ahead and point out that you’re running a bit behind. Your landlord will appreciate the heads up. Remember, he’s taking time out of his busy day to show you the place, so the least you could do is show up.
Sometimes you will find a different place in the meantime. If you still have a showing scheduled, it’s common courtesy to phone and cancel it. Chances are you’re making things annoying for the current tenant by even showing up, so canceling makes two people’s days easier.
The same principle applies in general. If you say you’re going to pay your rent on a certain day, follow through. It will improve your relationship with your landlord significantly.
Don’t Ask For Too Much
I showed a property the other day, and immediately the prospective tenant started complaining about the wall color. I like to keep my walls a nice off white, since neutral colors tend to not offend anybody. She was essentially asking for permission to paint the walls before she even got past the living room.
Remember, it is the landlord’s responsibility to provide you with functional things, not necessarily nice things. As long as you have functioning and clean appliances, chances are I’m not going to spend the money to get you the latest and greatest model. Asking to fix something that doesn’t work is reasonable. Asking the landlord to make purely cosmetic changes may not be met with the same enthusiasm.
I know that, as a tenant, one of the biggest advantages is a lack of upkeep. If there’s a problem, getting it fixed is usually just a phone call away. But still, you should try to maintain your space.
If you rent a place that includes utilities in the cost of rent, don’t leave the lights on when you go out, or crank the heat to ridiculously high levels in the winter. If your shoes are wet, take them off at the door. Take care when moving in your stuff so you don’t scuff up the walls. All this stuff takes just a few seconds, and it helps the landlord maintain their property and, in turn, their profit margins.
Actually Report Problems
Sometimes, tenants don’t want to be a bother, so they go too far the other way and don’t report anything to the landlord. This can be even worse than nitpicking.
I once had a renter not tell me their toilet was running constantly. I found out once I got the water bill and it was double the usual amount. Once I figured out the problem, I was able to fix it in five minutes. One phone call would have saved me some money.
Being a great tenant is actually pretty easy. All you need to do is be a decent human being, and just do the right thing when the time comes. Just try to treat the property as though you already own it, and you’ll already be 90% of the way there. You’ll make your landlord’s life much easier, and that can only help you as you move onto your next place.