Whether you’re a student moving into a shared house or a professional working in the city, it pays to be a good tenant. Building a positive relationship with the landlord can improve your standard of living, foster positive relationships with your neighbours, ensure you receive your bond when you move and stop you from running into unnecessary issues during a tenancy.
Though the tenant/landlord relationship is a two-way street and requires some negotiation and back and forth at times, we’ve put together some tips and tricks on being a good tenant.
Let’s start with a big one: honesty. Renting out a property to a complete stranger is daunting, especially for first-time landlords, so being open and honest about your circumstances will help. Let them know what you do, how you earn your money, and who is going to be living in the property with you. Most landlords verify information before accepting a tenant, speaking with previous landlords and employers, so there’s no point in lying. Ran into troubles in the past? Be upfront with your landlord: they might be more understanding than you thought.
Even newbuild properties will run into maintenance issues from time to time. As a tenant, it’s your responsibility to report issues and faults to your landlord or lettings agent as soon as they happen. Not only is it important that problems are fixed (for your safety and so you’re getting good value for money), but if that dripping tap or mouldy ceiling isn’t addressed, it could lead to more serious problems that are more expensive and potentially dangerous.
Yes, you’re renting a property and paying a landlord good money for their space, but it’s your responsibility to keep the place in good condition. Property management companies can perform spot-checks on your home, so don’t let it fall to wreck and ruin. Landlords don’t want you to become Kim and Aggie on your hands and knees all day, but cleanliness is a basic.
If you’re only looking for a short-term rental property, make it clear from the get-go and don’t lead a landlord along. We recommend either signing a month-to-month tenancy agreement or committing to a longer-term lease of at least six months. Stability not only gives a landlord peace of mind (and reduces their admin) but will make you feel more settled and at home.
We get it: those tenancy agreements can run into hundreds of pages when inventories are added on, but understanding what you’re agreeing to before you sign your lease is important for both parties. If you sign it without reading it properly, you might incur unexpected costs or have limitations on your tenancy that you’re not happy with. The more you know, the better a tenant you’ll be; and if you don’t agree with a policy, you can iron it out before you sign up.
The chances are that your landlord has more than one tenant, and though it’s perfectly acceptable to bring up issues with your property, not every problem should be complained about. For example, if your property management company starts mowing the communal lawn at 10 am but you’re still in bed recovering from a hangover, there’s not a lot you can do. Find the right balance between issues that need addressing and don’t, and leave it at that.
Paying your rent on time is the most basic responsibility of being a tenant, so do it! Not only is it disrespectful to pay late, but it can cost you money in late payment fees if your tenancy stipulates. If your landlord has to chase you for your payment every month, you could be breaching the terms of your agreement and be asked to leave at the end of your tenancy. If you’re struggling to keep on top of your household bills and want to streamline your finances, consider signing up to Billing Better, and pay your bills in one convenient monthly lump sum.
Though it’s unlikely that your landlord will live next door to you, respecting your neighbours and your community will ultimately make you a better tenant. Be mindful of others and don’t host late-night parties unless you’ve warned next-door. And check your tenancy agreement; some letting agents charge fines for unnecessary noise or nuisance, so keep it low-key!
Moving from your parent’s house to a rented property can take some adjusting to, but with a little common sense and some respect, it’s not difficult. Follow the tips above and you’ll be a model tenant who’ll be easy to reference when you’re looking for another property, but know when to speak out, complain, and move out if you’re not getting the high service you expect. Do you have any other tips on being a good tenant? Let us know on Twitter @Billing_Better.