What landlords want you to know
Unless you’re lucky enough to buy a home straight out of university (thanks, Momand Dad!), you’ll probably be living in a rental for at least a few years. And that means dealing with a landlord.
In a tight housing market, renting a property becomes a competitive exercise. If you’re renting, the landlord calls the shots on your living situation right now.
But most property owners are not the horrible people that some tenants make them out to be.
Plenty of them are ordinary, decent people with a considerable investment in a rental property that they want to protect.
So if you love your rental place, you’ll want to endear yourself to the property owner by making it clear that you are an ideal tenant.
Here are a few suggestions:
DRESS TO IMPRESS, AND TIDY THE CAR
The initial showing isn’t just to find out if you like the property— it’s for the landlords to decide if they like you, too. Don’t show up looking like a slob and don’t present an careless, lazy attitude. Treat the showing like a job interview.
‘‘I look at how they’re presenting themselves,’’ says Richard, a landlord with two homes in the suburbs east of Auckland. ‘‘If they don’t care about making a good impression, I question whether they’ll care about how they treat the property.’’
You might want to keep your car in order, too.
‘‘I don’t care how old it is, I don’t care what model it is, and I don’t care if it needs a wash. But if the inside is full of garbage and fast-food bags? I can’t help but assume that’s the way the inside of the house is going to look.’’
HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY
Many landlords ask for a pretenancy application form on which you’ll provide: your name and contact details, where you’re living now and your renting history, proof of identity and references they can contact. According to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, this application form also gives landlords permission to do a credit check.
Tempted to tell a little white lie about your credit rating, legal history, or work experience? Don’t.
SOMETHING WRONG? LET THE LANDLORD KNOW
Once you’ve moved into the place, you still need to prove your worth. If your toilet won’t stop running, if the tub is slow to drain or the fridge has developed a disturbing rattle, don’t just sit on the information.
‘‘I’ve had tenants that put off calling because they thought ‘maybe it will go away’,’’ Richard says. ‘‘It only exacerbates the problem, and a small fix could turn into a huge repair issue.’’
CLUTTER IS OK, FILTH IS NOT
Accumulated grime doesn’t just mean the move-out cleaning session will be a real pain— it could also be grounds for your landlord to keep your deposit, make you pay for professional cleaning, or even ask you to leave before your lease is up.
‘‘I understand clutter. But if I come by for an agreed-to inspection and there’s grease all over the stovetop and the toilet is filthy and there are stains in the carpet? That’s a real problem.’’
Remember, your temporary residence is their permanent possession.
STOP IGNORING THEM
There are any number of reasons your landlord might need to talk with you— from making an appointment for a gutter-cleaner to come by, to discussing an issue with the next-door neighbour, to showing the place to a potential buyer.
‘‘I absolutely hate when I text and I call, and there’s no response,’’ Richard says.
‘‘It’s just making a needless hassle, because then I have to drive there, knock on their door, and leave them a written note.’’
Communication is especially important if you’re having financial troubles that could compromise your ability to pay your rent on time.
‘‘I understand things happen. And listen, if you’ve been a good long-term tenant, I really don’t want to lose you over a temporary problem,’’ says Richard.
A landlord in Rangiora took this photo of the rubbish and belongings left behind by the tenant at their Blenheim rental.