How to Pick a Good Landlord
Typically we see this from the other perspective (ie. how to pick a good tenant) but a landlord/tenant relationship is a two-way relationship based on trust, openness and compromise. As a tenant, whether you have a child, a pet or play a musical instrument, are finding yourselves, more often than not, categorized (and sometimes your category comes with an additional price-hike added to your rent to boot). Finding a great landlord is just as important as finding a great employer or a great school for your kids.
Here are some questions to ask yourself while searching for that great new place. If you happen to be a landlord, here are some tips on how to be a great one.
1) Could your landlord-to-be be your friend? If you met this person outside of looking for a place to live, could you see sharing a beverage, a sports game or a good laugh with them? Why this is important: This means you are comfortable enough to go to them with concerns.
2) Is your landlord-to-be familiar with landlord/tenant laws? Having a set of rules is healthy. These rules are typically in place to protect you both so your landlord being aware of their responsibilities means you don't have to beg them to replace something they should be replacing.
3) Will your landlord-to-be be accessible? In an emergency, your landlord needs to be accessible. An alternate phone number or numbers should be provided to you for this purpose.
4) Does your landlord-to-be provide transparency? Whether you're moving into a rental house or a high-rise apartment, you should be looking for transparency in the operations. A great way to achieve this is by utilizing a great online property management system (hint, hint). As a tenant, the majority of your concerns are going to be a) Did I pay my rent? b) Something's broken c) My neighbors are loud and/or are doing something they're not supposed to be doing. Being able to do all of this in the dead of night in your pajamas would make it that much easier, wouldn't it?
5) Does your landlord-to-be provide a lease? This one seems like a gimme, but you'd be surprised at how many don't. Renting a place shouldn't be done on a handshake. Your lease is the first step to protecting you and your family if things were to get hairy with your landlord.
6) Is your landlord-to-be flexible? Life occasionally happens. And a landlord who can't understand that probably shouldn't be your landlord. If a one-time (and I stress, one time!) late payment of rent would set your landlord in a tizzy then further tizzies are afoot when something else unplanned happens.
7) Has your landlord-to-be ever been a tenant? People who know what it's like to rent instinctively will make a better landlord.
Of course, short-term renters can afford to be relaxed with landlord requirements but if you're looking for a long-term home to place your rump, ensure your landlord will contribute to your happy stay, otherwise it may be worth it to move on.
Have you had a great landlord? What made them so awesome? Answer in the comments below.