I, Mark Roemer, know it can be challenging to manage the landlord-tenant relationship, mainly if it includes many complaints from the renter.
However, that doesn’t mean establishing a solid foundation with your landlord is difficult. There’s a significant amount at stake for both sides.
It’s your house and your security deposit for you, and it’s their income for your landlord and the property they’ve spent time and money in. It is not that uncommon for conflicts to occur at some level, but how you approach challenging circumstances will help the relationship with your landlord move forward or break it.
To prevent a less-than-stellar landlord, the best initial measure you can take is to provide an appraisal of your prospective landlord as part of the decision process when looking for a new place to live. So far, have they been easy to contact? Did they have your questions answered and your issues addressed? Do some background research to see if any reviews from former tenants can be found.
You can take steps to try to remedy the problem if you find yourself experiencing one of these common renter complaints.
Common renter complaint #1: Poor communication
Many renters struggle with a lack of contact from their landlords and feel that they are unsure of such rules or expectations when they relate to the house. You could sign your lease, move to your new home, and never hear from your landlord again. Or maybe you’re having problems with your landlord’s responsiveness to concerns such as demands for repairs, noisy neighbors, or other critical questions.
Ask if they will walk through the lease agreement with you early on in the relationship with your landlord and point out any rules or requirements that are particularly important to them (something a good landlord can do on their own As a tenant, it is your responsibility the entirety of the lease agreement and address any concerns that you might have.
Do your best to keep communication lines open with your landlord, make timely contact with any problems or questions that arise, and do not fear asking for assistance. Be sure to be polite and say hello when you cross paths if your landlord lives in the same building or is often on the premises. Establishing this relationship will build confidence from the get-go.
Common renter complaint #2: Maintenance issues
One of the reasons you might have to get in touch with your landlord during your rental experience is maintenance problems and repairs. Your landlord should respond and repair your requests in a timely manner, whether it’s something minor like a lighting fixture or something significant like a water leak.
Establish the preferred method of communication from the get-go from your landlord. Can you text a picture of the problem to them to make sure it catches their attention and doesn’t get lost in an email inbox? Are they not as tech-savvy, and do you prefer to give them a call directly? Inquire as to your landlord’s willingness to set one up if you don’t already have a tenant portal so that you can easily submit maintenance requests. Your landlord can easily monitor everything in one place.
Common renter complaint #3: Lack of privacy
Sometimes without actually entering your home, a landlord might be on the property. They might simply wish to discuss why your front porch has been cleared of leaves or why the recycling bin was too full and to have him pop up unannounced always felt like an invasion of privacy.
As a tenant, you absolutely have the right to the quiet enjoyment of your home. The law requires your landlord to give you proper notice before entering your property for at least 24 hours (unless, of course, there is an emergency situation). If your landlord shows up for maintenance or inspections without first notifying you, bring it immediately to their attention.
If your landlord carries out daily checks, ask if they will be able to come every month on the same day or give you a schedule for your lease agreement as a whole. If your lease agreement does not contain terminology about regular inspections, be sure to inquire about it before you sign it.
Common renter complaint #4: Security deposit refunds
Moving out of a property is always upsetting. Finding that your security deposit refund is far smaller than you planned, mostly if you followed all moving-out directions and did not cause any significant harm.
It is important to note that landlords usually do not benefit from your security deposit; they use the funds to fix a problem that existed when you were the renter. Of course, there are cases where this is not the case, and the only viable recourse is a civil action.
Your landlord should be able to provide you with a move-out checklist or state their requirements explicitly before you move out. To ensure that you are leaving the property in the same state that you find it, refer to any checklists or inspection records that you might have completed upon moving in.
You should ask your landlord if they are able to do a property walkthrough with you before handing over the keys to solve any problems before you leave that can be repaired or cleaned. Upon moving out, take photos so that you have proof to show your landlord if necessary.
If you are fined, you should ask your landlord for an itemized list of deductions, or for any other reason the landlord withholds your security deposit, so you can easily see where your money is going.
Keep It Friendly
Establishing a positive relationship from the beginning with your landlord and keeping communication lines open would make it easier for both sides to deal with any problems that occur down the road. I, Mark Roemer, hope this helps you to establish a great relationship with your tenants. The only things they want are to make sure they have a nice place to live and a landlord that is easy to deal with.