Eight Ways to Be a Great Tenant

When you rent a property be it a house or an apartment, you become a tenant and like your landlord, when you sign the rental agreement, you are committing to certain standards of living.

If you like where you are living, if you can prove to your landlord that you are a good tenant, he/she will be more inclined to renew your contract and keep you as their perfect tenant.

1 - Read Your Tenancy Lease Thoroughly!

In all the excitement of finding somewhere to live, it is easy to overlook your lease contract, but as soon as you can, it is well worth reading it through slowly and surely to ensure that you clearly understand what your landlord is undertaking and importantly, what you have agreed to as the tenant. Any points that you do not understand must be explained by your landlord or the letting company- sooner rather than later.

It is a good idea to take photographs on the day that you move in of the condition of the property and particularly of any problem areas to ensure that you are not billed when you come to leave the property. Make sure you also read the property inventory left by the landlord.

2 - Pay Your Rent on Time

Your main commitment as a tenant is to pay your rent on the agreed day each month and not have your landlord chasing you for it – this is not only bad practice, but your landlord has better things to do and your late payment can cause 'knock on ' effects with financial commitments that they may have. 

If you do have a problem looming and fear that you will not be able to pay your rent on time, do not have the 'ostrich' approach and 'bury your head in the sand' far better to notify your landlord as soon as possible to warn them of the problem in good time. Remember too that missing a month's rent is grounds for an eviction, but your landlord is human and if you have discussed problems about payment with him (her) in advance, many are understanding.

3 - Get Good Insurance

Whilst your landlord is responsible for insuring the building, insurance of its contents is down to you - the tenant. There are various insurance policies available and it is worth studying them to see which suits you best – the good news is that many policies can be bought and paid for on a monthly basis.

Tenants' insurance covers your kit from theft, fire and flood, but if you have any particular item that is especially valuable, it may have to be listed separately on the policy – best to check.

4 - Treat Your Home as Your Own

Too many renters do not care for their rented property as well as they could which is a great shame because after all it is their home! It used to be a standing joke that you could tell a rented accommodation in any street by the state of the garden! Why? Have pride in 

your home and even if you do not own it, keep the garden tidy with lawns cut and inside keep everything clean and tidy as though it were your own. If you don't mind doing minor DIY jobs, tell your landlord what you have in mind first!

If you have a problem with a window not opening and closing, a light that doesn't work or a boiler that gives up, tell your landlord straight away and they will get the problem fixed for you. If you have an idea of something you would like to do to improve the property such as paint the shutters, ask the landlord first – few will not appreciate your enthusiasm!

5 - Don't Be Naughty!

The tenancy agreement was drawn up in good faith and if your landlord wanted you to break it, he wouldn't have gone to the trouble of getting one written!

The main areas where tenants break the agreement is the 'no pets’ clause' by getting a cat or dog, smoking when requested not to and 'no sub-letting'. Some agreements even forbid guests staying overnight without prior agreement from the landlord … so make sure you read the small print and in all cases, if you still want to proceed, talk to your landlord and see what they think.

If you are planning a late night party check your rental agreement first as many state that tenants should be quiet after 22.00 for the sake of the neighbours – discuss your party ideas with your landlord first!

6 - Look After Your Pets Well

If you are lucky enough to have a rented property where animals are allowed, make sure you keep your accommodation as well as you can. Do not let your pet damage paintwork and keep odours at bay by vacuuming carpets regularly, washing floors and regularly changing cat litter trays. If you have a dog, go on 'Poo patrol' regularly to ensure that the garden stays in good condition.  

7 - Communicate with Your Landlord

This sounds daft, but this really is important as your landlord is human and not an ogre! If anything needs maintaining or repairing, let them know in good time. It is best to send them an email for anything important as this creates a 'paper trail'. If your landlord needs access to the property for any reason, they should give you 24 hours’ notice.  

8 - Leave the Property as You Found It

When it does come to the time to move on, do give your landlord plenty of notice. They might well want to show prospective tenants round the property but they must give you 24 hours’ notice each time. Spend time and effort packing up and clearing up and  ensure that the property is looking every bit as good – if not better – than when you moved in and that your landlord will be unable to tell that you have been living there at all. 

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