Posted May 9, 2013
How to Establish a (Healthy) Relationship with your Landlord
As a renter, establishing a positive relationship with your landlord or property manager is vital. From the initial stages of your apartment search process to communicating after you’ve moved in, a healthy relationship with your landlord leads to a better quality of life for everyone involved.
We connected with Robert Goldman, Partner at Bay Property Group, who shared expert insight about ways to make a good impression on landlords and property managers and maintain a good relationship throughout your tenancy.
The best way to impress your potential landlord and give yourself the best chance of securing your dream apartment is to do your homework.
- Beyond the ways you can prepare for the apartment search game that we’ve detailed previously, know what materials are typically asked of renters when applying for an apartment. In most markets, you’ll need to show proof of income, likely in the form of pay stubs or an offer letter, and know how your credit score ranks. Completing your Lovely Renter Card is a simple way to share this information with landlords and property managers upfront in your initial communication.
- Being fully prepared will help you act quickly. In competitive rental markets, it is common for renters to apply onsite at the open house, therefore be ready to not only provide the necessary application materials, but also to pay the application fee.
- Invest in Renter’s Insurance. Renter’s insurance protects your most prized and personal possessions from fire, theft and vandalism, and at a minimal cost of $12/month on average, is well worth the investment.
A landlord’s time is just as valuable as yours, and they appreciate any effort from renters to makes processes more efficient.
- Show up to open houses and scheduled appointments on time.
- Try and limit the number of cosigners on your lease in an effort to minimize the time and cost it takes for landlords to run multiple credit checks. Keeping the number of cosigners to a minimum allows the landlord or property manager to speed up the review process and get you closer to approval.
- Once you’ve been approved, ask for a copy of your lease so that you have ample time to review it, take notes and ask questions. Reviewing the lease ahead of time will streamline your actual lease signing, making it quick and painless for both you and your landlord.
- Landlords and property managers want you to feel at home in your new place, so decorate in whatever way makes you feel most comfortable, however realize that your apartment is expected to be in the same condition upon move out as it was when you first moved in. To avoid charges for damage to walls, look for adhesive hooks that won’t leave long-term damage and can save you money on repairs. You can also request a pre-move out inspection upon giving your 30 day notice. This gives your landlord an opportunity to point out any damages so you have a chance to make necessary repairs and avoid extra charges.
- Not all damages are equal. If a light bulb needs replacing, consider handling that fix on your own, however if there are more serious issues that need addressing such as water damage or mold, contact your landlord as soon as possible in order to resolve the issue and prevent further damage.
Keeping organized will help your landlord or property manager better serve you as a renter.
- Proactively request a move-in inspection so that you can document any issues around your apartment. This allows you to identify problem areas and determine if there are urgent repair needs together with your landlord or property manager. Most importantly, keeping a record of these issues reduces the chances you’ll incur charges upon move out.
- If your building has a door that automatically locks, give a spare key to a trustworthy friend, colleague or family member so that if you accidentally get locked out, you have a way of getting back in without having to contact your landlord or property manager. Not only will you likely get back into your apartment faster, but you won’t incur any charges.
- Know the correct channels to contact during normal business hours, after hours and for emergencies. Contacting the appropriate party first will help your landlord expedite maintenance requests and answer your questions in a timely manner.
- Notify your landlord of maintenance issues as soon as possible, especially in the case of water damage or pest control issues. This will help your landlord resolve the issue quickly and prevent further damage to your apartment. That said, in the case of an emergency, such as a fire or health risk, contact 911 first! While it is thoughtful of you to contact your landlord and notify them of damage to your apartment, your safety comes first.
- Be aware of all your payment options. Often landlords and property managers accept rent payments delivered in person, by mail or online, however they can only process payments from individuals on the lease. The most common way to avoid late payments and extraneous charges is to set up a direct payment system online.
Have you had success in establishing a healthy relationship with your landlord or property manager? How have you maintained a good relationship? Tell us @Lovely or in the comments below.