Ask Rentable: Are First Impressions a Piece of Cake?

At Rentable, we’re committed to helping you find the perfect apartment. But we also care about what happens once you’ve moved in. We started Dear Rentable to help you navigate the renter life, from rental agreements to roommates. Each week, we’ll answer a new user-submitted question.

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This week’s question comes from a new renter in St. Louis, MO.

Dear Rentable,

I’m about to start my junior year at WashU, my first out of the dorm. I’m really eager to make a good impression with my landlord. One of my roommates told me to bake him a cake. I think she was joking but I’m considering doing it. Your thoughts?


Someone Who Enjoys Eating Treats



You’re right to want to get off on the right foot with your landlord. Campus-area property managers have to deal with a lot: noise complaints, broken leases, beer pong stains in carpets. Not to mention year-to-year turnover and churn.

But a cake? That seems a little over-the-top to us. Even if you think your dorm-made devil’s food cake is delicious, how do you know your landlord will? How do you know he’ll eat it at all? (Let’s not even touch the problem of dietary restrictions and allergies.)

Here’s a better idea: If you really want to make an individual impression with your landlord, don’t waste your whipped cream. Head down to his office and introduce yourself. Keep it short and simple — just say hi and share one thing you like about your place. Then get out of there and let them work.

In the realm of landlord-tenant relationships, you want things to be cordial. But generally speaking, the less the two of you have to talk, the better things are probably going. So send a card at the holidays if you’re really friendly, or a note with your lease renewal.

Other than that? The best way to make your landlord see you as a good tenant is TO BE ONE. So pay your rent on time, don’t destroy your walls and floors, and try to, you know, abide by the terms of your lease. Your landlord will love you if he doesn’t have to worry about you.

(And your roommate might like the cake.)