What land­lords want you to know

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - OUT & ABOUT -

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:


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.’’


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.


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.’’


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.


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.

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