How to Be a Good Tenant
The moment that you sign an application and lease, you become a tenant. Being a good tenant pays off in the long run – for example, you get proper help when you communicate properly. Landlords, property managers and tenants all want the best possible relationship, and it takes communication and honesty in both directions.
The following tips can help you avoid some of the problems tenants can encounter. Doing these things will help you have the best possible experience living in your new place.
Read your lease and ask questions
It's your responsibility as a tenant to make sure you read and understand the terms of your lease agreement. A good landlord will explain the terms of your lease and be clear about expectations. Understanding the terms will ensure you don’t break the lease or put yourself at risk of getting into a bad spot. Most leases will discuss the rent amount due each month, the security deposit amount, rules for pets, and the expectations of keeping the place clean along with scheduled and emergency maintenance. You should make sure you understand the requirements and are comfortable with them before signing the lease.
Pay your rent on time
A good tenant will always pay rent on time every month, no excuses. Landlords appreciate tenants who don’t miss rent or pay rent late, as they don’t want the hassle of having to track down a tenant or chase after them for rent. Missing a rent payment could lead to an eviction, so always pay your rent on time every month without fail. If you think you may be short on rent for the month, reach out to your landlord to let them know you’re struggling financially; they may be able to work with you.
Do not break lease terms
A good tenant will follow the rules that are outlined in the lease. Breaking the terms of your lease could be grounds for termination of your rental agreement and possible eviction. Following the rules of your lease will also ensure you maintain a positive relationship with the property manager or owner. For example, if you decide you would like a pet but your lease does not allow pets, you should not sneak a pet into your rental. This would be considered breaking the terms of your lease and could lead to eviction.
Keep your place clean
A good tenant will make sure the property is kept clean on a day-to-day basis. You may need to create a cleaning schedule where you clean certain areas once a day or once a week. If you have roommates, you could decide on how to split up the cleaning tasks. If the rental has carpet, you should strive to keep the carpet clean and stain free. Avoid eating or drinking in areas with carpet by putting down rugs or mats to protect it.
Be prompt when reporting repairs and maintenance
If you find that something in your home needs a repair or maintenance, don’t try to do it yourself. This could lead to further damage or issues that you may be responsible to pay for. Instead, promptly contact your landlord so they can address the issue properly. Don’t be afraid to do this, as repairs and maintenance are part of their responsibilities as property manager.
Respect noise requirements
Your lease may mention a specific time of night where loud noise is not permitted. You should follow the requirement and avoid playing loud music after the specified time or hosting a party. If you are planning to have a party or a get together, you should notify your landlord ahead of time. It's possible that your landlord may bend the noise restriction if you’re respectful and are willing to quiet down if someone else in the building complains.
Get renters' insurance
Keep in mind that your landlord is not responsible for the loss or theft of your personal property. You should protect yourself by getting renters’ insurance so that you’re covered in the event of theft or a fire. Renters’ insurance is inexpensive and requires paying a fee once a month to an insurance provider. Ask your insurance agent or landlord about where to get renters’ insurance.
Move out the right way
When it comes time for you to move out, you should do so within the agreed time frame. Make sure you leave the rental as you viewed it, clean and free from damage. Leaving the rental in good condition will help you get a good reference from your landlord for your next rental. You should always give your landlord advance notice before you move out so that you make sure the move-out date works with your rental agreement. You should arrange a walk-through inspection of the unit with your property manager on your move-out day to make sure there is no damage or issues.