There is always a bit of trepidation that comes with renting a home, much of it involving the renter’s relationship with their landlord. Should everything go smoothly their interaction would be limited to depositing a monthly rent check and occasionally touching base with them about the property. Sometimes being a tenant comes with challenges which could have been avoided, had renters simply read their rental agreement closely beforehand. (We just gave away step one!)
So here are 4 ways to be a good tenant.
Read your lease carefully!
This sounds like a no-brainer, but so many people fail to adhere to this simple step when renting a home. Suddenly they are surprised that pets are not allowed, or that there is a specific noise provision, or sublet clause. In other cases, after the first electric bill comes due, they challenge the need to pay, claiming they thought it was covered in their lease.
When you rent a home make sure you are intimately familiar with the terms so there are no surprises for you and your landlord.
Tend to the house as if you own it.
When people stay in a hotel, they usually are not concerned with keeping it in immaculate condition. But that attitude does not work when renting a home. You want to treat your rental as if it is your own house giving it "tender loving care". If some mold starts growing in the bathroom, notify your landlord immediately. If some curtains come down, or a floorboard breaks, do not disregard it thinking you are moving out in a few months anyway. Firstly, it is good practice to keep your home in good condition even if you are "only" renting it. You never know when a rental might lead to buying it outright or perhaps, you will consider staying in an area longer that you expected too and will continue your lease far longer than you initially anticipated.
There is also the issue of word of mouth to consider. If you go to rent another home and your future landlord asks for references, you want to be able to give him the name of previous landlords which will issue glowing reports about your care of their property. For most homeowners renting to someone who will not care for their property as if it were their own just is not worth the headache.
Do not do it yourself.
"The road to hell is paved with good intention..." also holds true with renters. Some renters honestly think they are acting in the best interest of their landlord when they attempt to fix things alone, hire people to fix things etc. But it is always important to communicate with your landlord about these things first! They might have a special agreement with a local contractor about fixing leaky faucets. Maybe they only want a certain someone working on their high-priced built-in ice machine. Either way, before you go about handling problems in the home it is always best to have a conversation with your landlord beforehand.
Pay on time.
This should also be a no brainer, yet all too often get overlooked. There are a hundred reasons why your landlord needs their rent check on time. They might have a mortgage on the property, they have their own bills to pay, they want to take vacation that month. But none of that really matters. When you rent a home, you pay the rent on time because that is the right thing to do. No landlord wants to find themselves running after a tenant month after month for the rent check. And if you gave 12 postdated checks, make sure you have the money in your account to cover the check when it is deposited!
Chance are your landlord has had his or her share of horror stories from previous renters, so make yourself a memorable tenant in a good way by abiding by all the rules. That way when it comes to negotiating your next lease, you will be able to point out all the positive qualifies about having you as a tenant, and that just might earn you a discount!