All relationships, whether personal or professional, are based on mutual trust and respect. Both landlords and tenants benefit from cordial rapport based on those tenets. For the former, it brings consistency and predictability, factors essential to financial interactions. For the latter, it fosters a stable home environment and makes for a happier, less stressful life.
For both landlords and renters, it is essential to foster open communication. Settle on a regular contact schedule with which both parties are comfortable and have multiple avenues to communicate, including calls, text, and email to avoid lapses. Both parties should have easy access to all necessary paperwork (both hard copy and digital)—from the rental agreement to financial and utilities documentation.
Advice for Renters:
Our domestic life has a profound impact not just on how we feel at home but also on how we perform at work, engage socially, and relate to clients and colleagues. Use these pointers to form a good relationship with your landlord and avoid unnecessary stress.
- Be punctual with rent payments. Honor your financial commitments and most landlords will be very happy to have you. Keep in mind also that you are legally obliged to pay rent regularly by specific dates.
- Understand your lease. Read through it so you understand your obligations as well as the landlord’s. This is especially important when it involves repairs and maintenance. Misunderstandings are less likely when both parties are clear on what is expected of the other.
- Take care of minor issues. Your lease may put the onus for repairs and maintenance on the landlord but there is a middle ground for mutual convenience. If possible, attend to minor issues yourself instead of waiting for the landlord (with their approval, of course).
Advice for Landlords:
By screening candidates thoroughly, landlords can eliminate many potential problems even before a lease is signed. Use references, criminal history, proof of income, and credit checks where applicable (and legal) to filter out the bad apples before they step onto your property.
- Set clear rules. Most landlord-tenant friction boils down to minor misunderstandings. Circumvent these by laying clear ground rules at the outset. Enforce them consistently across all your tenants to avoid resentment and accusations of favoritism.
- Maintain a business relationship. At its core, the landlord-tenant relationship is a business transaction, not a personal one. Even if you have a good personal bond with your tenants, maintain your distance. Always give advance notice of a visit and do not turn up “just for a look” as it can be invasive as well as illegal.
- Allow for flexibility and compassion. Most people would like to pay their rent on time and be hassle-free tenants. If a previously-responsible tenant is acting up, engage with them to isolate the issue and solve the impasse. A little empathy now is a good investment towards a stronger long-term relationship.