Let’s not beat around the bush. The relationship between a landlord and a tenant is…unusual. You’re not best pals. You’re not old friends. You certainly don’t invite each other out for a catch-up dinner. Yet you both play an important part in each other’s lives.
It’s no secret that this relationship can become tense, hostile and full of disputes — you’ve heard the horror stories. But, as the saying goes, it’s a two-way street and doing your bit to stay professional can do wonders for building a productive rapport with your landlord.
At HomeHero, we understand that this isn’t always easy. We’ve come up with five tips to help you maintain a positive relationship with your landlord; from move-in day to when your tenancy ends.
1. Start on the right foot
Move-in day can be stressful. There’s a lot to do, a lot to think about and a lot to unpack. But as you start imagining where to hang your favourite family portrait or work of art, you should ask all the relevant questions so that you and your landlord will be on the same page.
Start by requesting a thorough walkthrough inventory, taking your own photographs for personal reference. By examining every fixture, carpet and wall in each room, this will help to alleviate any future conflicts with your landlord — as well as finding the perfect place for your wall decor.
You can also use this time to doublecheck how things like alarm systems or thermostats work. While it’s easy to forget these small details, the last thing your landlord wants is several panic emails within week one of your tenancy.
Not only will you appear like high-maintenance tenants, but this may set up a rocky relationship from the word go. To prevent this, take charge of the inventory and come well prepared with questions you’d like answered.
2. Abide by the law
Paying your rent, taking care of the property; it’s vital for a harmonious relationship with your landlord. While most don’t live and breathe due dates, paying your rent on time will make you look reliable and professional.
To ensure this happens, set up a standing order or give a heads up if the rent will be delayed for any reason. If you’re responsible, landlords will be more lenient and open to flexibility.
It’s also a good idea to inform your landlord of any damages as soon as possible. Let’s say you’ve broken a window. Notifying your landlord and offering to manage the repairs will be mutually beneficial.
The same applies to damages that your landlord should cover. They’ll need maximum time to start arranging maintenance, so punctuality is your friend. Not only will this prompt swift repairs, but it’ll stop you harbouring any resentment if you know your landlord is on the ball.
3. Be reasonable
Once you’ve informed your landlord of any damages, patience is a virtue. There’s no harm in sending a reminder email a few weeks later, but if it isn’t an emergency, be rest assured that your landlord is dealing with it.
It can take time to compare quotes and schedule a visit. If your landlord is sifting through a chain of angry emails, it will only throw a spanner in the works and slow down the process.
We understand that this can be frustrating. But your landlord is legally obliged to ensure a sufficient standard of safe living conditions, so just hold on tight. Or better yet, you could always organise the maintenance yourself and get reimbursed for the costs.
4. Observe your tone
Even if you’re doing everything by the book, things can still go south. Fast. When you’re feeling let down by your landlord, it’s tempting to grab the phone and let your emotions do the talking.
But if anything, this can hurt your relationship and leave a sour taste lingering for future discussions or when it’s time to get that all-important reference.
In the face of adversity, our advice is to stay calm and composed. By monitoring your tone of voice and thinking twice about reverting to jabs and insults, you will feel more in control.
5. Leave on good terms
As your tenancy draws to an end, two things will dominate your mind: finding another property and your deposit. If you’ve kept a positive relationship with your landlord, obtaining them may be easier than first thought.
Being reliable, honest, and accessible will help get you a cracking reference. Your landlord may also be more inclined to go easy on the deposit and over-look small things they may have scrutinised if your relationship was too antagonistic.
At the end of the day, tenants and landlords are human beings. No matter how many horror stories you hear, not every renter endures a terrible tenancy. Just keep it light, be assertive and don’t sweat the small stuff — and that’s how to have a positive relationship with your landlord.
Want to read more? Head to our Property section for more useful articles.
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