When considering the landlord-tenant relationship, it’s often the former that gets the most scrutiny. As with any balanced exchange though, both must consider their conduct. So how does the tenant hold up their side of the deal? Here’s our guide on how to be a good tenant and avoid potential problems with your new landlord.
Be open and honest
‘Honesty is the best policy’ – this holds for most situations, including how you deal with your landlord. After you’ve found your ideal property they may, for example, ask you for confirmation of your work status and salary as part of the application process. Don’t lie. If you need to fabricate a career or falsely inflate your salary, it’s likely that you can’t afford the property in the first place, and you shouldn’t sign a contract that’ll put you in financial difficulty.
Always pay rent on time
It goes without saying, but paying rent in full and on time is the most important way to keep your landlord happy. If you’re struggling to make a payment, speak to your landlord and let them know the reasons why. They might push the due date back – at the very least, they’ll have a better understanding of your situation. On the rare chance that events seem to be spiralling downwards, contact Shelter or the Citizens Advice Bureau for help.
Keep the property in good condition
Once you’ve moved in, you’ll want to keep your new home liveable. Whilst the onus is on the landlord to organise repairs, it’s the tenant’s responsibility to keep the property generally clean and tidy. What does this mean exactly? Sweep the floors, hoover the carpets, clean the windows, organise your things, and keep the kitchen and bathroom sparkling.
If you do notice anything that needs repairing – burst pipes, jamming locks, clunky washing machines etc. – notify your landlord or property management agent straightaway. As a tenant, you’re not expected to pay for or make repairs yourself – just report them.
Stick to the rules
Rules can sometimes feel constraining but in the context of a rental agreement, they could save you from losing your deposit further down the line. So what kind of rules should you look out for? Well, for a start – are you allowed to smoke in the flat? The answer is probably no, but in any case, check your rental contract. The same goes for having a pet – take a look over the small print. If it bans your furry-friend from living in the property, it might be worth having a word with your landlord directly – they may be willing to make an exception for you.
Leave in the right way
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. If you’ve kept your place in good shape and developed a positive relationship with your landlord, you’ll be sorry to leave. But leave you must, and in the best way possible.
How to do this? Inform your landlord in ample time, and leave in an orderly manner. Your contract, whether a fixed or periodic agreement, will state what your notice period is. More often than not it’s a month, provided that you’ve passed the minimum time limit stipulated in the break clause.
When it’s time to close the front door for the last time, make sure the property is spotless. Cleaning costs are among the most debated when considering deposit deductions, and it’s the tenants responsibility to guarantee a squeaky-clean condition.
Having a good relationship with your landlord holds the key to a successful tenancy. By being open with them and looking after their property, you’ll be sure to be one of their best tenants.
James Anderson deals with a range of properties in Barnes, East Sheen, and Putney. If you’re currently looking for your next rental property in these areas, check out which properties we’re currently working with.