How to be a Good Tenant

By Alyssa Laffitte on April 7, 2019

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Many of us college students will be renting our first apartments. It is an exciting, big step, to finally move out of the dorms. However, renting an apartment requires certain responsibilities you should be aware of before you move out. In this article, we will discuss how to be a good tenant.

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Read the lease carefully and do not break it

This should go without saying, but too many renters do not carefully read their leasing agreement. This is a mistake because your leasing agreement is a legally binding contract that you have agreed to abide by. Plus, you should be aware of what you agreed to! There might be hidden fees or rules you don’t know about until the read the agreement carefully.

Also, reading the lease will keep you out of trouble. Once you know what the rules are, you can be careful to not break them. Remember that breaking these rules can have serious consequences, so be sure you are following them at all times!

Reading the leasing agreement and following the terms outlined in it will make you a great tenant.

Pay your rent on time

One of your biggest responsibilities as a tenant is to pay your rent on time. Few things are more annoying to a landlord than a tenant who is consistently late on rent payments. Don’t be that tenant! Instead, be sure you are paying on time each month. Do whatever you can to make sure you remember to pay, whether it’s setting a reminder on your phone or programming an automatic payment. This way, you will avoid any late fees and keep your landlord happy. A tenant who pays rent on time every month is a good tenant.

Take care of your rental property

Just because you do not technically “own” the place doesn’t mean you can trash it. On the contrary, you should take extremely good care of the place because it “belongs” to someone else! You should keep the property clean and organized. Do not allow dangerous things like mold or water damage to persist in the property. If the lease forbids it, do not make holes in the walls. In other words, good tenants take care of their rental properties.

Know when to contact your landlord, and when not to

As the tenant, you will likely be expected to take care of minor repairs of the property. For example, you could be expected to change the smoke detector batteries when they run out, or to change a lightbulb. You should not bother your landlord with these minor repairs. If you contact them all the time for repairs like these, they will start to get annoyed by you. Instead, contact your landlord only if there are major repairs that need to be done. For example, if there is water/plumbing damage, if there is mold, or if there is an issue that will compromise the security of the unit. In this case, it is totally acceptable to contact the landlord and ask them to resolve the problem. To be a good tenant, you should contact the landlord only when necessary.

Communicate honestly with your landlord

On the same note, when you communicate with your landlord, you should communicate honestly. Don’t downplay any issues, and definitely do not lie to them. If you are honest, they will be able to help you and provide the solution you need. Honest communication is the foundation for any good relationship, including the landlord/tenant relationship. For that reason, if you want to be a good tenant, you should communicate with your landlord.

Let your landlord know if you will be leaving for a while

If you are planning to leave your rental property for more than a week or two, it is a good idea to let your landlord know. When your landlord is aware of your absence, they can do a quick check of the property every couple of days just to make sure it’s okay. It’s a small gesture, but landlords really appreciate this.

Be a good neighbor

An important part of being a good tenant is being a good neighbor. Your landlord does not want to receive calls from your neighbor complaining about how you always play loud music late at night. Instead, be considerate of your neighbors. Of course, this means not playing loud music or hosting parties every weekend. But if you want to make friends with your neighbors (which is a good idea), you should smile and say hi when you pass them in the hallway or the elevator. Good tenants are considerate of their neighbors.

All in all, if you know the rules and follow them, it is easy to be a good tenant. Keep your landlord happy, and you will probably be able to stay in the same apartment next year!

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