There are a number of ways you can maintain a positive relationship with your landlord or property manager as you settle into your new rental property.
Whether you’re moving closer to work, establishing a new household, or leaving for college, here are 9 things your landlord is probably dying to tell you (that'll help maintain the positive vibes and ensure your full deposit back).
Read the fine print!
This may seem obvious, but you have to read your lease agreement. Meticulously go through the fine print, and don’t forget to ask questions before you sign the dotted line. Some of the technical lingo may seem like a drag, but make sure you understand your rights, the rules, and the proper procedures for reporting issues, communicating, and more with your self-managing property owner or management company. Take note of any significant sections you’ll need for future reference.
Yes, even the weird instructions.
Rules, regulations, specifications, instructions--whatever you call it, they’re there for a reason. Pay special attention to any property-specific rules that can keep you out of causing trouble, wasting time, and paying extra for fines. These guidelines can range from cleanup duties and appliance care, to mold avoidance.
Pay your bills on time.
Landlords don't incur a hefty profit from late fees and penalties. Instead let the fines motivate you to be responsible as a tenant, and keep you from shelling out money for failing to pay bills on time. Check your lease for payment schedules and penalties to avoid oversights that can cause serious repercussions.
Problems are bound to happen. Your toilet can get clogged. Your dog chews on fixtures that fall under your landlord's responsibility. The best thing you can do under these circumstances is to be honest, and report these situations in a timely manner. Otherwise, you may have to pay up in additional fees for failing to report.
Read up on the tenant laws in your state. You do have the right to demand repairs. However, don't expect it to be done ASAP. Repairs in rental properties take coordination. When your washing machine breaks, it takes a number of parties to get on top of it, and although we also want everything to be in working order, it can't be done as instantaneously as you like.
Mi Casa, Su Casa
When you treat a rental property conscientiously as if it were your own, you're getting on your landlord's good side. And when any mishaps happen (see no. 4), chances are, unexpected situations get ironed out more smoothly. Your stay will not only be peaceful, but you'll be guaranteed your full deposit back. Plus, you'll get a great recommendation from your landlord for any future rental applications.
Know How ‘Normal Wear and Tear' Works
Know the difference between damage and normal wear and tear. When an “aggressive lifestyle” leaves holes in the wall or burned carpets, that's damage. On the other hand, small nail holes or fading paint is wear and tear. If your lease doesn't mention normal wear and tear, ask for a clarification. Documenting the condition of the property when you arrive and showing pictures to your landlord before moving out helps make the process a breeze.