For Tenants

HOW CAN I MAKE THE BEST IMPRESSION ON A LANDLORD?

1.  When you're calling on a listing, be prepared.  Have a pencil and paper ready; you know they're going to be giving you addresses and information, so don't make them wait while you scramble around looking for a pen.

2.  Make sure you've reviewed the information in the ad before you call or message them.  If you're asking a ton of questions that were already answered in the ad, landlords will feel like you're wasting their time.

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3.  If you are on HUD, have pets, are a smoker, etc. tell the landlord upfront.  If a landlord doesn't allow pets, for example, it's a waste of your time and theirs to wait until after you've been shown the property to announce that you have pets.

4.  When you are going to look at a unit, show up on time.  Do your best to have all adults who will be living with you present at the showing.  Most landlords have busy schedules, and it can be frustrating to have to keep showing the same unit to the same person repeatedly.

5.  Be courteous.  If you traipse through the house with muddy shoes, let kids run wild throughout the house, etc., you're indicating to the landlord that you won't take care of the unit while you're living there.

HOW CAN I BE A TERRIFIC TENANT?

1.  Pay your rent on time.  If you need to have special arrangements, such as paying on the 5th instead of the 1st or paying twice a month instead of one, most landlords are open to working with you on that.  The key there, however, is that you let your landlord know your needs upfront and you stick to the schedule you have agreed on.  In the event that something happens that you will be late one month, it's your responsibility to contact the landlord and let them know.  Again, when you maintain good communication with your landlord, they are more likely to be open to working with you.

2.  Keep the property clean and orderly.  Most of us don't dust as often as we should, and sometimes things can get cluttered.  Landlords understand that, because we're the same!  But it's important that you maintain a basic standard of cleanliness.  Things like spilled food all over the place, stacks of unwashed dishes, or garbage strewn everywhere is a good way to attract pests and make your house stink.  You and your family will feel better mentally when your surroundings are neat and clean!  

3.  Have renter's insurance.  Landlords carry insurance on the property itself, but that insurance does not cover your belongings against loss or damage.  While we all hope to never have to deal with something like a fire or flooding, in the event that something bad does happen you'll be grateful you have it!  Renter's insurance also covers things such as accidental injuries, such as if your dog bites a guest.  

4.  Have respect for the terms of the lease.  Most leases specify things such as number of pets allowed, people allowed to live in the property, who is responsible for yard maintenance and snow removal, etc.  If you want to change something, such as having a friend move in, you need to have good communication with your landlord about your needs.  Violating the lease can potentially lead to you being evicted, and none of us want to deal with that.

5.  Notify your landlord promptly if repairs are needed.  Sometimes renters are afraid to contact their landlord about repairs, but it is the landlord's responsibility to ensure your living space is safe and habitable.  Many defects get worse and worse over time.  Your landlord would rather repair a leaky toilet promptly that have to deal with repairing the house after the toilet has fallen through the floor!  Understand that landlords have to prioritize repairs in their schedule, so if it takes them a day or two to get there to repair a leaky faucet, it doesn't mean they don't care.  They more than likely had a bigger issue they needed to get to first.