You don’t have to be at odds with your landlord or property manager. There are some ways you can maintain your status as an incredible tenant, keeping both you and your landlord happy.
As property managers with years of experience in the Williamson County area, we’ve compiled our top seven tips on how to be a good tenant.
- Read Your Lease
- Ask for Permission if You Aren’t Sure What’s Allowed
- Put Everything into Writing
- Don’t Bother Your Landlord About Small Things
- Treat Landlords How You Want to be Treated
- Respect Your Rental Property
- Pay Your Rent on Time
You may (or may not) be surprised to learn that many tenants don’t read their leases! Yes, I’m talking about the legally binding document you sign before moving in. While it’s not the most exhilarating reading material, it’s important to know what your rights are as a tenant and what your landlord expects from you.
For example, some renters may be responsible for certain maintenance items such as lawn care, air filter replacement, or repainting the walls before moving out.
If there are any portions you have questions about, or something that doesn’t seem right, ask about it before signing.
Not sure if you’re allowed to give your walls a fresh, colorful coat of paint? Want to replace all the light fixtures but don’t see anything about it in your lease? If you aren’t sure what changes you’re allowed to make to your rental property, and it isn’t expressly stated in the lease, just ask your landlord or property management company.
If you’re being granted an exception to the lease, make sure you get express permission in writing from your landlord. Also, make sure to save this written letter of approval just in case it’s forgotten about when it comes time for you to move out.
It’s best to put any maintenance request you need or anything you want to inform your landlord of, in writing. You can send them an email, attach a note with your rent check, or submit a written maintenance request.
Keeping everything in writing (versus over the phone or an in-person conversation) ensures there’s a paper trail. This helps safeguard your rights as a renter while keeping a record of requests or lease amendments for the landlord to refer back to if needed.
While landlords appreciate being notified of maintenance issues right away, keep in mind there are some small issues you could take care of yourself. If a light bulb goes out, that’s easy enough to go ahead and replace it on your own without bothering the maintenance team.
That said, make sure to notify your landlord or property management company about any maintenance issues you need assistance with as soon as possible — and always put it in writing!
Some property management companies provide maintenance request services. For example, here at 512 Society, our property management services include an online maintenance portal that’s easy to access and keeps track of each request!
Back to the golden rule we all learned in grade school — be respectful towards your landlord and other tenants. If you’re having issues with a neighbor for any reason, attempt to resolve the issue with them personally before getting the landlord involved. If you’ve exhausted all possible resolution options, then you can take it up with the landlord to see if they can help.
It’s important to keep your space clean. No one wants to be left with a dirty, unkempt property, whether you’re the property owner or a new tenant moving in. A dirty apartment can lead to issues such as bug infestations or permanent damage to the property.
Your place doesn’t have to be spotless 24/7, but being a good tenant includes keeping everything neat and tidy. This also includes picking up after pets, whether they have accidents inside or you’re walking them outside.
Another plus side of keeping everything clean? When it comes time for routine property evaluations or a move-out inspection, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about!
Most tenants think there’s a three to five-day “grace period” when they can pay their rent without incurring a late fee. While it’s true that, according to your lease, you won’t be charged a late fee during this time, you still didn’t technically pay your rent on time.
For example, let’s say your rent is due on the first of the month. Your lease states you have until the third of the month to pay your rent without incurring a late fee. If you pay on the second or third, that doesn’t count as paying your rent on time — it’s still technically late.