I wrote a post about what it’s like to work from home as an apartment manager. I wrote about the pitfalls and potential downsides to my job, and the response from you amazing readers was phenomenal.
After reading all your comments, I got inspired to write a post on what I as an apartment manager and landlord look at when I classify someone as a “good tenant.”
I thought long and hard over this and did some research of my own, eventually narrowing it down to six key points:
1. A good tenant pays rent on time
This kinda goes without saying, but the fact remains that people still don’t pay on time. You need to pay your rent on time and in full in order to stay in your apartment. You signed a legal, binding contract to rent from us, and you need to hold up your end of the deal. End of story, that’s it.
Now, we will work with you to negotiate a payment agreement in some cases, but eventually, you still have to pay up. So pay on time and we never have to deal with that, or evict you. Either one sucks for everyone involved.
2. A good tenant keeps the apartment in as close to the condition they find it in as possible
I’m pretty cool with most things. Our contract allows people to hang stuff up, but not to paint. Other places allow you to paint. Your apartment should have policies and rules when it comes to this stuff and you should get a copy of everything you sign (I’ll reference that later on). These copies are your lifeline when it comes to moving out. They detail what you need to do, when you need to do it, and what happens if you don’t do exactly what it says.
The basics are simple: clean up after yourselves and don’t destroy the place. If you abide by this, you should be good.
3. A good tenant takes DETAILED notes and gets copies of EVERYTHING!
Like I said, these copies are your lifeline and guideline. They protect you as much as they protect your landlord and the owners of the apartment. You should get a copy of your lease, anything else with your signature on it, plus a copy of any rules and policies in place.
Also, if your apartments have a charge sheet for repairs (usually anything above normal wear and tear is charged to you), get a copy of that too. That way, if something happens and you get charged for it, you can double check to make sure they aren’t ripping you off. Plus, it helps for other stuff, like residency if you are on a visa, lower tuition if you are a college or university student, and life reasons.
Know your rights, know when to use them and how to use them properly.
4. A good tenant understands that the people around you are human, including your landlord
People mess up, they do stupid shit. They’re human, and each and every person you will meet will be different than you in many ways. So don’t expect everyone to act just like you. And when you eventually are disappointed (let’s face it, you will be), don’t flip out. This is life.
You will never love all your neighbors; in fact, you most likely will not even like them. But, you do have to live with them until one of you moves. Take this as an opportunity to grow as a human being and as a global citizen rather than a new reason to bitch about something.
Of course, if the stupid shit is incredibly bad or dangerous or flat-out terrifying, please report them to the proper authorities, then bitch in a written statement to use later on in a potential court case. I fully encourage that form of bitching, and kudos to you for standing up for your rights!
5. A good tenant is not afraid to ask questions, nor are they afraid to demand answers
If you don’t understand something, speak up! It’s your obligation to make sure you understand what is expected of you, so ask for clarification whenever you need it. Never feel embarrassed to ask questions. In the same vein, don’t be afraid to demand answers. If something doesn’t feel right or sit well with you, tell us and we can work together to fix the problem.
If you don’t mention it, nothing gets fixed and you remain frustrated, neither of which are good for anyone involved, especially you the renter. You have to live with it, so be proactive.
6. Most importantly, a good tenant acts like a grownup
You are old enough to lease an apartment and sign a legal document. The simple fact is that you making these decisions means you have some responsibilities in your life. So act like an adult! Don’t blame others around you for what you are on the hook for.
Now, we do understand that life happens (job loss, etc.) and you can’t necessarily control that. However, this does not mean you have the right to delegate your personal responsibilities to other people, especially those who don’t live with you. You made the conscious decision to move here, so act like an adult and take responsibility for your actions.
I know that there are many things that go into identifying someone as a “good” tenant. There are variables depending on situation, location, and your own background. However, based on what I do and where I am, these seem to be the six most basic tenets that a good tenant needs to have in my opinion.
To my fellow landlords and apartment managers, please feel free to elaborate on your experiences in the comments below. To my renters, these are not set in stone rules, but guidelines to keep in mind that should take you through a lot of rental situations with little to no hassle or fuss.
Anyone else have tips for being a kick-ass tenant?