Landlord-tenant Relationships: How to Become Besties

You may have gotten your first apartment, but now you have to deal with everything that comes with it. That includes the landlord. The landlord-tenant relationship is inherently filled with tension and has potential to turn into a nightmare fast. However, by following a few simple tips, you can keep your landlord-tenant relationship amiable – perhaps even friendly!

Get Everything in Writing
Though you may be tempted to go the easy route, make sure you get every detail of your lease down in writing. Sometimes you may wonder why it can’t just be like the good old days – when two people could just seal an agreement with a conversation and a firm handshake – but here is the reality: when money is involved, conversations and verbal agreements have a good chance of being forgotten or misunderstood. Signing a detailed lease gives you something to refer back to if you and your landlord have a disagreement. It also tells you all the rules upfront, so there are no questions involved. Save yourself and your landlord the headache.

The Check’s in the Mail
When you and your landlord agree on rent due date, make sure you get the rent on time, if not before. Of course, everyone runs into problems now and again. If you happen to need a little extra time, make sure you communicate that to your landlord. Will it be a little embarrassing? Yes. But if his check just doesn’t show up in the mail, then animosity and conflict can quickly arise. No landlord wants to take the time out of his day to knock on your door and demand money. Keep him in the loop and he’ll likely understand. Just be wary of making this a habit. Remember, your landlord has to pay bills, too – to pay the mortgage, keep the building warm and the lights on. So there’s anything that’s harder than dealing with late rent checks. 

Communal Living
Unless you’re living in a single-family home, you’ve got neighbors – above you, below you and on both sides. That includes students who need to study, families that need quiet time and senior citizens that just can’t stand that loud thumping music. And chances are pretty good that one of these days you’ll be that neighbor that just needs a bit of quiet. So, pay it forward. Do your best to keep noise to a minimum after hours. And let your neighbors know – or send them an invite – if you plan to throw an all-night rave.

The Show is On
When the time comes for your landlord to show the space to potential tenants, cooperate with him. If you know a showing is coming up, keep the space neat and tidy. Treat the potential tenants nicely and be polite. Would you have liked being sneered at when you were walking through? Probably not. Do the same favor for them. Your landlord will take notice.

Take Care
Though you are living in your apartment,  remember that ultimately this is your landlord’s property. If your friend gave you a room to stay in for a month, would you paint it puke green without asking and put a hole in the wall? Unless you don’t like having friends, the answer would be no. Think about it the same way for your landlord. Sure, you may not care if you put huge scratches in the wood floor, but would you feel differently if you were staying at a friend’s place? If politeness isn’t enough of an incentive, then just remember that your security deposit goes out the window if you don’t properly care for the place.

Communications 101
This may seem like the most obvious tip of them all, considering your landlord controls whether you have a place to sleep or not. Yet you’d be surprised how many people aren’t very nice to their landlords. As with any human interaction, being polite goes a long way. When you get buddy-buddy with someone, they are far more likely to go out of their way for you or be more lenient when you make mistakes. If your landlord lives in your building, give him a wave when you pass him by. When you need something, be persistent, but never impatient or demanding.

Photo credit: Images of Money, ArcticPenguin

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