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How to Be a Great Resident

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Most tenants hope that they end up with a great landlord. Someone who ensures that they have everything they need at their rental to make things straightforward and comfortable. They hope that the landlord communicates with them, makes repairs in a timely manner, and even does the occasional upgrade.

But it doesn’t usually occur to tenants that landlords, likewise, hope that they end up with a great tenant as well. 

Being a great tenant is not just about paying your rent on time. It’s also about being polite, communicative, and showing common courtesy. Landlords want to know if they can trust you with their property. Being a great tenant means ensuring that you follow the lease and trying your best to ensure that you look after the property as though it were your own.

Curious how you stack up as a tenant? Here’s a list of the top qualities of a great tenant. We’ve also provided some tips to help, just in case you’re trying to step up your game and become the best tenant that you can be. 

Who knows? You just might be able to secure a glowing reference from your landlord when it’s time to move on.

Qualities of Great Tenants

There are a few qualities that almost all good tenants have in common. 

Here’s a look at some of the top qualities that great tenants have:

  • Responsible

Being a responsible person is what separates a good tenant from the rest. Responsible tenants ensure their rent is paid on time and keep the property in good condition. This makes life easier for everyone involved.

One way to help with rent payments is by working hard to set a budget. Keep track of all of your expenses including rent, utility bills, car payments, and any other expenses you have to pay. You may also want to use a budgeting app to keep track of your spending to help you factor in rent costs to living costs more easily and ensure you don’t overlook anything important. 

  • Polite and Respectful

You don’t have to be close friends with your landlord, but it’s always good to be friendly and polite. Likewise, it’s important to respect the property they own. It’s not only common courtesy, but it is essential to having a good relationship with your landlord and being viewed as a good tenant. After all, you’re living in their home.

So what does respecting property look like? This means keeping the unit clean and taking care of any problems as soon as they arise. It also means not doing anything that could cause damage or property loss.

If you have pets, make sure this is discussed with your landlord beforehand. If you have a visitor, ensure they’re responsible and able to respect the property as well.

  • Communicative and Responsive

Communication is key when it comes to renting. A good renter should respond promptly to their landlord’s questions, texts, and emails to ensure everything goes smoothly. This will also help you establish a good working relationship with your landlord. If your landlord asks for information, try to provide it within 24 hours. 

Good renters also understand that being responsive means more than just answering the landlord’s texts or emails. It means being able to communicate important details to the landlord as well. If there’s something wrong with the unit or if it requires repairs or maintenance, let the landlord know so they can get it fixed before big problems arise down the road.

  • Creditworthy

Many things go into being a good tenant, but one of the most important is your credit score. Your credit score is a number that represents your creditworthiness and is based on your history of managing credit.

A good credit score can indicate to a landlord that you are responsible and may be more likely to pay your rent on time. It also shows that you are less likely to default on your rent or fall behind in payments. After all, renting is all about trust: the landlord trusts that you’ll pay your rent on time and treat the property well. A clean financial track record is one way to show that you’re trustworthy.

If your credit needs work, read this article on How to Clean Up Your Credit Before Renting.

  • Clean

Good renters also keep their homes clean. It’s a simple fact: if your place is clean, it will show that you care for yourself and your belongings. It’ll also help to reduce a number of problems, helping to keep pests down and in some cases can even reduce the chance of issues like mold. Of course, having everything put away also makes your home more enjoyable as well. You may need to hire a professional cleaner for help if you don’t have the time. But, if you can spare a few hours each week to clean your place, it will really pay off in the long run. Cleaning is one of the most important things to do before ending your rental agreement, as well. Make sure you leave the property in the same condition that you found it in.

  • Honest

Honesty is one of the more important traits of a good tenant. Your landlord can’t be expected to know everything that’s happening in your home, so it is up to you to let them know when something needs fixing or replacing–even if it’s your fault.

When it comes to finances, you also need to be honest with your landlord about the money you owe them. If you have financial problems and can’t afford to pay your rent, don’t just ignore the landlord or leave them hanging. Tell them what’s going on and see if you can work together to find a solution that works for both of you. If you’re behind on rent, check with them to see about getting a payment plan in place. Your landlord may or may not be willing to work with you, but if you’re honest about your situation and keep them informed, you can rest assured knowing that you’ve taken the high road and done everything you could in this situation.

How to Be a Great Tenant

When it comes to being a great tenant, it’s not just about paying your rent on time: it is about being reliable, respectful, and considerate of others. 

Now that you know the qualities of a good tenant, here are some practical tips that can help:

Don’t Rent More Than You Can Afford

Renting a property is a big commitment. When you rent, you’re entering into a contract with your landlord that requires you to pay them a certain amount of money each month. This is usually on top of paying for utilities such as heating and electricity.

As a good tenant, you should make sure that you can afford to pay your rent. You should also ensure that you have enough money left over at the end of the month to cover all other expenses, including groceries and bills. The “safety net” for renting is to avoid renting a unit that costs more than 30% of your monthly salary.

Looking to rent a new unit and wondering how that fits in your budget? Read this article: What Type of Rental Should You Get?

Know What Your Responsibilities Are

Being a great tenant is also about knowing what’s expected of you and being proactive in making sure that you’re meeting those expectations. Your landlord or property manager will have specific guidelines for how they want their properties to be treated, and it is your job to abide by those guidelines. These are usually stated in the lease, or rental agreement that you’d have signed at the beginning of your tenancy.

Understand and Comply With Your Lease

Understanding and complying with your lease is another big part of being a good tenant. Your lease is an important legal document and it’s designed to protect both you and the landlord. Take some time to read through it carefully before signing and ask about anything you don’t understand.

After you’ve agreed to all of the terms of your lease, make sure you comply with them. Remember, following the rules from day one is one of the best ways to maintain a positive relationship with your landlord.

Wondering what to ask your landlord before you sign on the dotted line? Read this article on Questions to Ask Your Landlord Before Signing a Lease

Pay Your Rent On Time

If there’s one thing a landlord will appreciate, it is prompt payment of rent. If you’re on a lease, that means paying your rent on time every month when it’s due.

Keep Your Pets Under Control

Keeping your pets under control is one of the best things you can do to ensure a smooth rental experience. Pets are a great addition to any household, but they can also be a major headache for landlords and neighbors. After all, pets can cause damage to your unit, and they could attract pests. Pets should always be disclosed to your landlord before moving in, which will help maintain your honest relationship with them.

Are you considering bringing an animal into your rental unit? Check out this article: Should You Ask Your Landlord for a Pet?

Respect Noise Requirements

It’s no secret that noise can be a major source of dispute between neighbors. If you want to avoid conflict with your neighbors, pay close attention to noise restrictions in your lease agreement and do everything you can to avoid violating them.

If you live in a rental unit and are planning on having guests over, give yourself enough time to get the party started (and ended) before it gets too late. Generally, after 11 pm noise levels need to be low, but different areas may have different restrictions in place. It may also be an idea to inform your neighbors beforehand if you’re having guests over for an outdoor party in the evening. If they know what’s going on, it is less likely that they’ll be caught off guard by the noise. The last thing you want is a message sent to your landlord, complaining about your presence.

Clean Up After Yourself

It’s a simple rule of life: if you make a mess, clean it up. Cleanup is important because it shows that you respect your landlord’s property and are keeping it in good shape. That means taking out the trash daily, putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher or out of the sink, ensuring all your clothes are off the floor, and keeping food off surfaces that aren’t meant for eating. This not only maintains a pristine environment for you to live in, but it also helps combat issues with pests and smells. If you struggle with this part of being a responsible tenant, hire a professional to do it for you.

Get Renters Insurance

Renters insurance is another good way to be a responsible renter. Renter’s insurance covers your personal belongings and sometimes even provides additional liability coverage in case you or one of your guests accidentally damages the landlord’s property. However, ensure that you understand what your policy covers before purchasing it. Some things, like jewelry or pricey electronics, may require additional coverage.

Always Ask Permission

When you’re a renter, it can be easy to forget that you don’t own your unit — you pay rent for it. And while this may seem like a little thing, it can make all the difference when it comes to being a great tenant.

When you move into a rental, you essentially enter into a contract with the landlord. The goal of this contract is to make sure that you pay rent on time and treat the space with respect and care. One of the easiest ways to do this? Always ask permission before making changes to your rental unit.

For example, if you want to paint the walls or hang up pictures, make sure the landlord agrees before getting started. You might also want to check if there are any restrictions on what colors can be used or what type of decorations can be hung in common areas like hallways and stairwells.

Be a Good Neighbor

You might be the best tenant in the world, but if you’re not good to your neighbors, they’ll be the first ones to call your landlord and complain. If you have an issue with a neighbor, don’t let it become a personal one. Be professional and communicate in a way that will help both parties resolve the problem. And let’s face it: if you’re a good neighbor, they will probably want to keep you around!

It’s not always easy to be a good tenant. There are plenty of things that can go wrong and complicate the tenant-landlord relationship. But if you keep an eye on the big picture, then it’s much easier to stay positive and work towards a better future—even if that means making some small sacrifices now.

Check out the Renters Warehouse Education Center for more tips and advice on renting. Our Resident Resources section offers a wealth of helpful information to make your rental experience as smooth and trouble-free as possible.

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