This is a subject that we, as Realtors with 40 plus years experience, understand well. We have seen both good and bad tenant behavior. Don’t get us wrong, there are plenty of poor quality landlords to go around; so we’re not insinuating issues that come up are caused only by tenants. We realize that an unprofessional landlord can be a nightmare for tenants. However, in this article we are going to touch on a few of the things that tenants might consider doing that would greatly improve their renting and leasing experiences.
First and foremost, pay your rent on time. If you are going to be a few days late, call and let your landlord know so they do not have to guess where the rent is. Remember that your rent usually goes toward the property owner’s mortgage and other payments that must be paid in a timely manner. If you can do it, pay your rent a day or two early. The difference in your money being in your account for an extra day or two is far less important than the good impression an early payment will make to the property owner.
Secondly, establish good credit. Having excellent credit will show that you have a good understanding of budgeting and living within your means. When screening rental applicants most landlords will favor the prospective tenant with a high credit score. Remember that everyone who bills you keeps track of your payment history. This is one of the main things that credit reporting agencies look at in establishing your credit score.
Thirdly, keep the property neat and clean. The property owner has a very large amount of money invested in the property. There’s nothing that makes a property owner happier than to see a tenant respecting their property and having good housekeeping. We realize that with busy schedules most people do not have a lot of extra time. However, making a concerted effort to keep carports, garages, and yards free from storage items and clutter can go a long way toward helping keep a property looking good. If an owner sees that a tenant is taking pride in the place they live, they are much more likely tospend the money to makeimprovements to the property.
It’s true that some property owners do not spend the money that’s necessary to keep up their property. When you are initially looking for a place to rent, it is important to really take notice of the condition of the property. If it is very well maintained, and you are accepted as a tenant, you might mention to the landlord that you will do your best to keep the property in the same well maintained condition. There is no question that the owner is responsible for making prompt repairs to the property. However, if you have the skills to make some minor repairs, make them.
Lastly, the less contact you have with the landlord, the better. Avoid calling the landlord over minor issues such as disputes with neighbors or repairs that you could easily fix yourself. Owning property is a big responsibility. Frequent calls from a tenant might make a landlord feel that you do not appreciate their property or their commitment as an owner.
Eric Ruxton and Larry Aikins are the owners of Terrace Realty Inc. and Terrace Associates Inc., in Redwood City. Terrace has been in business for over 55 years and in addition to being an independent Brokerage Company, also owns and operates rental properties.
This article appeard in the San Francisco Examiner.