The job of being a tenant should be simple, but as with all things that involve human beings, it often isn’t.
If every tenant knew these 10 things, life would be a little happier for everyone.
1. Paying rent on time is very important. This isn’t because landlords are greedy — it’s because landlords rely on that rental return to pay the mortgage and expenses, and make the necessary repairs to keep the property great for their tenants to live in.
2. If tenants can’t pay, landlords would rather they be honest about it. We all hit hard times, and it’s far better for tenants to come clean and speak to their landlord if finances are an issue. If landlords evict their tenants they risk a vacancy period and all the costs associated with new tenants, so it’s also in their best interest to find an amicable solution.
3. If you want to make changes to the property, just ask first. ‘Do it now, ask later’ doesn’t really work when we’re talking about assets worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many landlords would be happy to accommodate artwork being hung up, blockout curtains being installed or extra towel racks in the bathroom.
4. Sometimes things happen that are out of the landlord’s control. There isn’t a property on the planet that hasn’t had something go wrong at some point. No-one can predict a hailstorm that damages the roof, or the neighbour’s tree roots eating into the pipes. The trick is to work together to resolve the issues; the landlord should act quickly, and the tenant should be patient and allow access when needed.
5. Everyone is an adult, so use adult voices. A tenant losing their cool about a malfunctioning garage door won’t encourage their landlord to fix it faster. Polite language and open lines of communication will garner far better results.
6. If something is broken, tell us why. This is a brilliant one, because no-one wants to confess that the bathroom pipe is blocked because they cut their kids hair in the bath. However, knowing what really happened helps landlords fix problems faster.
7. Don’t break the rules. Landlords put rules in place to protect their tenants and their property. This is especially true for properties in estates with covenants or unit complexes with body corporate regulations.
8. Knowing about problems early stops them becoming major issues. A landlord who knows the gas cooktop is having trouble firing up can fix the issue before it stops working completely.
9. If renters ask, they often receive. Landlords want their tenants to be happy, so if a renter requests an air conditioner or security screens on the windows, there’s every chance the landlord will be happy to comply. As long as it’s a reasonable request, it’s often a case of it serving both landlord and tenant well.
10. Respect must go both ways. Landlords will look after their tenants, as long as their tenants appreciate that they don’t own the property. It’s a two-way street, and when handled well, leads to a long and harmonious tenant/landlord relationship.
Clearly, these 10 points are based on two things: respect and common sense.
A relationship based on these principles is one that is most likely to remain amicable and favourable — and isn’t that what all tenants and landlords want in the end?
You can help us (and help yourself)
Small and medium businesses and startups have never needed credible, independent journalism and information more than now.
That’s our job at SmartCompany: to keep you informed with the news, interviews and analysis you need to manage your way through this unprecedented crisis.
Now, there’s a way you can help us keep doing this: by becoming a SmartCompany supporter.
Even a small contribution will help us to keep doing the journalism that keeps Australia’s entrepreneurs informed.