Want to get your security deposit back? Want a good reference from your land lord when you move out? Be a good tenant but how do you do that?
Often times landlords do favors for the good tenants. I know some who will waive late fees on occasion for the good tenants. Sometimes damage caused by the tenant will be repaired at no charge if it is a good tenant. (These aren’t guaranteed but I’ve seen it happen.)
1. Read your lease before you sign and abide by it.
Know what is and is not allowed. If the lease says no pets and you have pets you can’t bear to part with, know that before you sign the lease. Know if outdoor furniture is allowed before you put it by your door.
Always read the lease before signing it. If there are provisions there that you don’t think will work for you, don’t rent there. Once you sign the lease, it’s too late.
2. Keep it down.
Realize that you have close neighbors. They may have different work hours than you. Maybe they don’t have the same taste in music. Be considerate of your neighbors. This goes for outside as well as inside. If you are going to sit on your patio late at night remember to keep your voice down. Landlords hate to get complaints that someone is being too loud.
On the same note, living in apartments means that you have to let some things go. If your neighbor is just walking or doing laundry (at a reasonable hour) that’s just part of living in an apartment. Complaining to the landlord about these types of noises aren’t going to get you very far. The landlord can’t realistically do anything about this. Think about it, if the landlord told you that you were walking too loud or not to do laundry because the neighbors didn’t like it, you’d think that unreasonable.
Also remember that you are responsible for how your guests act. If you have a friend who is known for talking loudly, it’s probably a wise idea to meet somewhere else if you are going to hang out that night. If your guests destroy the apartment, its you who will be charged.
3. Clean up after yourself
This goes for outside as well as inside. If the bag breaks on the way to the dumpster, clean it up. Don’t leave your garbage for someone else to pick up.
If pets are allowed, clean up after them too. Remember that the common areas are common. Everyone uses them. On a related subject, keep your dogs leashed in common areas. Not everyone loves dogs as much as you do.
Don’t leave things by the door for you to take care of later. You neighbors don’t want to deal with that. It looks bad and also makes it hard for them to get by.
Keep the inside relatively clean. Everyone has their own standards regarding what is clean. But everyone also knows what is too dirty. If you never take out the trash, your neighbors can tell by the smell and possibly bugs.
4. If you can fix it yourself, fix it.
Don’t call the landlord to change your light bulb if you are capable of doing it yourself. Check your lease, often times the charges for this are more than if you do it yourself anyway. Calls for plunging clogged toilets and changing light bulbs take time away from repairing leaks and furnaces. You may be entitled to call for this but keep in mind that time spent fixing things you could have done yourself is time someone else will have to wait for something else to get fixed. I know one landlord who tells a story about a woman whose kids pulled down their closet door almost every day. Every day she would call to have it put back up.
However, if you can’t fix it yourself, don’t. If you aren’t qualified to fix a water heater or a furnace, and you try, you could end up blowing the building up. If you aren’t a plumber, don’t mess with the pipes, you could flood the building.
5. Park in your own space
If your apartment has assigned parking, stick to it. Property managers can be overwhelmed by complaints about parking. Eventually, they will get tired of asking you to move your car and have it towed. It also gives a bad impression. People will view you as someone who is not considerate of other people.
6. Pay on time
Try to pay on time every month. Property managers understand that sometimes things happen. If you are in a situation one month that you need an extra couple days, if you have paid on time every other month, they are more likely to work with you.
Related to this, if you are going to be late on the rent, be honest about it. Tell the land lord that you need a few more days and then pay when you said you would. If you make them chase you down, they aren’t going to be as willing to work with you.
7. Give notice
If you are planning to move, make sure to give the notice that is required in your rental agreement. Chances are you will need references. Don’t ruin all that time being a good tenant by not giving notice.
8. Try to resolve disputes yourself
If you children aren’t getting along with the neighbor’s children, try to work it out without involving the land lord. If there is a problem related to safety or lease violations, report it. Just keep in mind, that as adults, you should resolve your own disputes. It is unfair to expect the land lord to take sides.
There is not really much that can be done from the land lord’s position about children that don’t get along or someone’s car door left a ding in someone else’s door. These are the kinds of things you should resolve on your own.
Some of this may seem a little silly but these are things that I have heard from property managers that take up their time and happen frequently. Just remember, the more time the land lord spends resolving disputes and dealing with things that adults should be able to handle themselves, the less time there is to deal with repairs and things that need to be done.