Most of us have rented a house or flat in our lifetimes. It’s one of the first steps in moving away from home and gaining some independence. But, if you’ve never lived in a rented property before, you might not know the dos and don’ts. Are you allowed to paint the walls? Can you have guests over? Who fixes the broken sink?
Being a good tenant is important. Not only will your neighbours respect you, but your landlord will appreciate having respectful tenants. They’ll respond to your queries, get things fixed quickly and will give you a good reference when you move out. So, how can you ensure that you’re a good tenant?
Read the contract
Reading the contract is the first step in becoming a good tenant. It means that you are aware of the rules and don’t break them unknowingly. A contract works both ways. It ensures that both you and your landlord are protected. A good landlord will ensure that you have tenant insurance, will organize repairs and won’t have any hidden fees. Reading the contract with a fine-tooth comb ensures that you both are aware of the details and know what you’re getting yourself into.
Respect the property
When you own a home, you can do whatever you want to it. No one cares if you paint the walls pink, have a food fight or knock down a wall. But, in a rented property, there are more rules. You don’t own the place, so you need to look after it. Generally, rented properties don’t allow for redecorating or refurnishing, unless it says otherwise in your contract. So, take care of your rented property. If you don’t, you’ll experience some pretty intense fees when you move out – and you won’t get a good reference. No landlord wants to spend weeks redecorating.
Respect your neighbours
Respecting your neighbours not only makes you more favourable by them, but it will also make you more favourable with your landlord. If you’re regularly throwing loud parties or leaving rubbish to fester on the street, your neighbours will complain to your landlord. This will give them extra work and you could potentially be asked to move out. So, treat your neighbours with the courtesy you’d like to be treated with. That means keeping noise to a minimum, respecting their privacy and maintaining the cleanliness of the street you live on.
Know what to fix
Most landlords will organize repairs for significant issues such as plumbing or leaks. However, there are some things that you need to fix yourself. A landlord won’t be pleased if you call them asking to replace a light bulb or buy you a new hoover. Again, reading the contract is the answer here. There will be a section that explicitly says what is the tenant’s responsibility to fix. Appliances such as kettles, hoovers, microwaves and toasters are probably your responsibility, especially if they were new when you moved in. However, each landlord will have their own rules on the matter.