How To Be a Good Tenant

Everyone likes to believe that they are a great tenant, but the reality is that not everyone makes the cut. There are some common actions that tenants take (or don’t take) that actually drive landlords nuts! To keep your landlord or property manager sane, strive to be a good tenant by following this simple advice:

Read Your Lease

It makes landlords cringe when they have a tenant who didn’t read the lease thoroughly.  How can you sign your name on a legally binding contract that you didn’t even read?  Most tenants do not think of the consequences at the time, but signing a lease agreement is the most important step of leasing an apartment.  Knowing whether there is something in the lease that you don’t agree with might help as well.  If there is something in the lease that you don’t understand or have questions about, this is the time that you would address any questions or concerns.  In order to avoid any surprises 5 months after you move in, make sure you read your lease thoroughly the first time.

Don’t Change the Rules Without a Written Agreement

If you signed a lease that specifically says “don’t,” you must abide.  If the owner has stated in the lease agreement that you are not able to have pets, or paint the walls, then you are legally not able to do so.  However, just because it’s in the lease agreement now, doesn’t mean that it needs to remain that way.  There are ways around being able to have a pet, or paint the walls, even if it’s stated in the lease agreement not to do so.  Rather than giving the landlord a quick phone call, and asking him about having a small pet, have him agree to this in writing.  If the landlord agrees, protect yourself legally by having the landlord sign a letter that states you are able to have a pet.  Be sure to store this letter in a safe place for future reference.

Submit Maintenance Requests in Writing

Always submit your non-emergency maintenance requests to your landlord in writing, such as email.  Following up with a phone call is acceptable.  Although landlords do prefer to be notified of maintenance issues, it is a good idea to keep in mind that some maintenance issues can be taken care of yourself.  For instance, if a light bulb goes out, there is no need to bug your landlord.  Simply fix it yourself in under 5 minutes.

Do Unto Others As You Would Have Done To You

This includes being a respectful and courteous tenant and neighbor.  Landlords are often involved with mediating arguments between tenants.  Rather than involving the landlord, simply settle any arguments that you have with other tenants.  Don’t be passive-aggressive with your neighbors, and address any problems directly.  The goal is not to argue, but to create an environment where all parties can live in peace.  

Respect Your Home

Landlords always fear the condition of the home when a 12 month lease is up.  Don’t be that tenant that every landlord fears.  Try to keep your home clean and in a sanitary condition.  If you have any pets, then pick up after them and clean regularly.

Pay Your Rent on Time

Just because you have a “grace” period, does not mean that you should use it.  Although many leases do not charge a late fee until 3-5 days after the due date, you should never wait to pay within the grace period.  This is primarily because if you ever need your landlord’s reference, he can state that you made late payments every month.  Make sure you avoid this, and make your payment on time.

Being the perfect tenant doesn’t require much at all.  Simply follow these rules, and you will be every landlord’s dream tenant!

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