Make Peace Not War: Landlord and Tenant Guide

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A Guide for Happy Tenants and Happy Landlords

It’s your property. And it’s their property. Yes, it’s a complicated relationship between landlords and tenants, but it is one that can indeed be untangled so that your interests run together as one. Who knows, you might even be able to become … what’s that word? … friends.

Read on as I attempt to transform the impossible into the possible, bring ying alongside yang, and zip you both harmoniously together for the duration of a tenancy. Tenants, you’re up first.


Advice for Tenants

Some of us tenants can be a bit of a handful. Loud, dirty, disrespectful, late with rent, and a source of damage. Renters don’t seem to always understand the stresses and strains that landlords go through from day to day, especially if said landlord has the unenviable task of managing multiple properties.

So what can you do as a tenant to make your long-suffering landlord happier? After all, the happier they are, the more responsive to your needs they’ll become right?


Step One

Well, this first one is an obvious one. Pay your rent on time. And if you can’t pay your rent on time, then call up your landlord and explain the situation to them.

Many landlords rely on incoming rent to keep up with the mortgage payments on their property, which you are living in. If your late payment causes them to miss an instalment, leading their bank to come a-knocking, then they won’t be too enamoured with you…


Step Two

Don’t live like an animal. Maybe clean your flat every now and again. Keep on top of the dishes. Sleep on a bed sheet. Remove hair from the sink.

What’s that you say? It’s your life and you can do what you like? Well yes, you sure can. But this one isn’t about your health and wellbeing I’m afraid – your Mum can worry about that. This one is about the bigger picture.

In a rented property, anything that goes wrong nearly always requires the landlord. And if that problem was avoidable – let’s say the pipes would not have needed deep level unblocking if you’d have simply stopped pouring oil and grease down the sink – then your landlord wouldn’t feel that terrible exasperation every time he/she comes round.


Step Three

Following on from number two, be proactive with issues. If you see a potential problem around your pad, don’t just leave it to get worse. The landlord’s job to fix it is normally a lot easier if the complication is caught early. Maybe you see a damp patch on the wall. If left to fester, this can be a major problem. But if caught early it is much easier and cheaper to solve.

Related to this, don’t get all defensive when your landlord needs access to the property every now and again (as long as they give notice). They’ll no doubt be good at spotting potentially expensive problems early. And for goodness sake, make sure the property looks at least half way to being clean. Otherwise you’ll only create worry. And worry leads to hassle.


Step Four

Keep up a dialogue with your landlord. Talk to them like a human. Go out for drinks with them and your housemates. They are much more likely to treat you with higher esteem if you show them kindness and respect, making things in the long run a whole lot easier. They’ll actually want to help you out, rather than seeing it as part of their job.

Just don’t get too friendly wink wink nudge nudge – that gets just a little complicated.


Step Five

Respect your community. Complaints from neighbours means hassle for your landlord. Loud footsteps. Shouting. Blaring music. Flashing lights. Improper waste disposal. Door slamming. Over-enthusiastic night-time (or day time) activity. All of these may mean a complaint from your neighbours to the council, the estate patrol or even the police.

The landlord will inevitably be dragged into the matter, possibly with mountains of paperwork, even though they have nothing to do with it. Can you imagine how annoying that would be?

“But my landlord is a dark overlord, bent on my destruction…”

Ok, well sometimes there is no getting on with your landlord. In this case, there are certain things you can do to help protect yourself if you suspect they are less than honourable. Take pictures of every detail of the residence when you move in. Make sure you place your deposit in a deposit protection scheme. Read the tenancy agreement carefully and highlight any concerns you might have. It’s worth putting in time and effort at the start.

Yes, yes, I know the renting world is cut-throat and any lost time could mean a lost flat. But once you’ve paid the holding deposit, take your time and make sure all the finer details are ironed out.

Give this all a go and your life will get easier, I promise.

Now, don’t worry all you tenants out there, I haven’t forgotten about the landlords. They will be getting their slice of advice too. But you’ll have to wait for the next instalment for that I’m afraid.


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