What does it mean to be a good renter?

Whether you are taking a vacation to a pristine Florida Beach and staying in someone’s home, looking for an apartment to rent for a college student – or trying to find the perfect home to suit your family, renting is big business. According to statistics, the rental industry in the United States alone is booming, while the real estate market is down. A recent Census Bureau report indicates that around 51% of all Americans are renting their permanent dwellings. And, millions of dollars are being spent each and every year by folks utilizing rental properties for their dream vacations.

The trick for most landlords however, is to find good renters. Often times, the rental industry – landlords and the people that rent get a bad wrap. You often hear about property owners being slumlords, and refusing to fix leaky toilets or leaving their homes in poor condition. And property owners often complain about renters who do not pay their bills on time, take responsibility for the dwelling and who leave utter messes for the property owner to repair when the least is up. It’s true, when it comes to renting – there is a good side and a bad side for both landlords and tenants.

However, if YOU are the one looking for a rental – you should know what being a good renter means. If you are a good renter, chances are your landlords will not only appreciate ‘your business,’ but will also be more compassionate and helpful when it comes to upkeep. For instance, if you know your rent is going to fall short one month – there’s a better chance your landlord will be willing to ‘work with you’ if the house is clean and kept up than there is if the place looks like a band of gypsies moved in.

Being a good renter comes down to respect. If you are renting a beach home, or a family home – you should respect the fact that someone is ALLOWING you to live in HIS OR HER property for a fee. And you should respect the property enough to keep the basics running smoothly. Here are some further tips for being a good renter.

Treat the place as if it was your own. If you wouldn’t shoot a BB gun at the walls inside your own home, then don’t do it inside of someone else’s. If the toilet begins to leak, which will eventually rot the floor – take action, whether you call the landlord to let them know, or try to fix it yourself. If you break something, fix it! Fast. In other words, this is your temporary home – and the way you treat the home is a reflection on you.

Always ask before performing work. Don’t expect a landlord to reimburse you for paint because you didn’t like the color of the bathroom walls. And don’t expect your landlord to simply be thrilled that you added a hall closet, or decided to redo the floors in the foyer. Asking permission BEFORE doing any work, even if the work is considered an ‘upgrade’ is simply polite and respectful.

Keep the outside looking up. Listen, landlords catch a lot of flack if the outside of their dwelling is a mess. Chances are the province where the home is located sends a letter to the landlord, not you – if grass is not maintained or there is excess trash in the yard. Plus, when a tenant allows the outside of a home to be shabby, the neighbors become agitated at the landlord. Depending on your lease agreement, you should take time to make sure the outside looks clean and orderly.

Pay your rent on time. If you are going to be late, or short with a payment – don’t wait until the rent is due, or hide for several days afterwards trying to avoid your landlord. Keep them posted if problems come up. Either they will work with you or they won’t. If you are honest and up front, and tend to pay well – most landlords will work with you from time to time. Call your landlord as soon as a financial problem arises.

Report problems quickly. As mentioned above, you may not be responsible for fixing them – but allowing a roof to leak, a faucet to drip, or an electrical outlet to spark only creates bigger (and more expensive) problems the longer it goes on. Be proactive. After all, YOU are the one living there and you are the one who knows what needs to be fixed, not your landlord.

Leave the place nice. Seriously. Whether it’s a vacation rental, or a home you have been living in for a few years – leave it in rentable condition. Not only will this help you get your deposit back, but you will also create a good reference in case you wish to rent in the future. And believe it to be true, landlords talk to one another and will tattle on you if you are a nightmare of a renter. Leaving a mess for someone else to clean up is just plain rude.

Basically, you should treat rental properties as if they were your own. Not only does this show that you have respect for other people, but also shows that you have respect for yourself. Bottom line is that it is a privilege to rent a property from someone else. They are doing YOU a favor, and your actions should be gracious and respectful.

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