Your Responsibilities As A Tenant
I firmly disagree with the statement: nobody likes a brown noser. I do! And I happen to know that most great landlords do too. As a tenant, you have several legal responsibilities you need to uphold, but beyond that, there are some best practices and kindnesses you should also keep in mind to make your landlord’s life as easy as possible.
Tenants, the key to a successful long-lasting tenancy is no different than that of a healthy marriage—respect, responsibility, and reciprocity should stay top of mind.
And landlords, it’s important that if your tenants are taking these steps, you acknowledge their hard work with big thank yous and by being the best landlord you can possibly be.
Here’s everything you should be doing as a tenant to blow the socks off your landlord:
1. Lead With Honesty
From the day you start communicating with a potential landlord, to the day you move in and then when you move out, honesty is always the best policy. If you’re honest from day one, you’re encouraging open and honest communication from your landlord as well. Say you’ve broken something in your unit, being upfront about it immediately will help you get it fixed right away so you can go back to living comfortably. By lying about breakages, you’re only shooting yourself in the foot the next time your landlord needs to visit the property or for when you move out. Eventually, it’ll catch up with you and leave a bad taste in your landlord’s mouth, impacting future reference checks.
2. Pay Your Rent - ON TIME
When tenants miss rent payments, this puts landlords out, particularly if they’re using your rent payments towards a mortgage. If your payment is late, then their mortgage payment is late, which results in them paying late fees. Occasionally, it’s understandable that you may encounter problems with your work like a late pay cheque or sudden unemployment. Stuff happens, but make sure you communicate this with your landlord. Remember number 1? Honesty is the best policy. Let your landlord know as soon as you can that you anticipate your payment being late so they can plan accordingly. They’ll appreciate your honesty in the long run, hands down.
3. Get Tenant's Insurance
Most landlords will require this before you move into their property, but just in case they don’t, I highly recommend you get tenant insurance anyway. It’ll protect all parties involved should anything happen to the unit whether theft, human error, or natural disaster.
4. Upon Move-In, Email A List Of Unit Inspections
Maybe the closet doors are coming off their tracks or there’s a kitchen drawer that doesn’t close properly. Even if it’s little things, on the day that you move in, be sure to email your landlord a full list of everything that isn’t in proper working condition—politely. It will show your landlord you care about the unit and have the intention of taking ownership of any damages caused throughout the tenant (hopefully none). Plus, you’ll be able to discuss how to resolve these issues too, so your home is as comfortable as possible from the get-go.
5. Treat The Rental Like It's Your Own
Give the space a through clean once a month and when maintenance is required, don’t sit on it. Kindly call or email your landlord to let them know right away. If you’re sending an email about something that’s broken, including photos is always best practice.
6. Don't Overcommunicate
Keeping in touch with your landlord to stay on top of maintenance is perfect. However, emailing them often with little things like a burnt-out lightbulb or a wobbly shelf can overwhelm a landlord, who is often managing multiple tenants at once. Try your best only to reach out when you can’t make a quick fix on your own and require professional assistance.
(or for a quick hello or holiday greeting once in a while!)
7. Follow Your Agreement
You read it. You signed it. Now it’s time to uphold your end of the bargain! That means, if your lease agreement says no smoking in the unit, you can’t smoke in your unit. If it says no pets and you agreed to that, then you’ll have to wait until you move to bring home a fur baby. Ultimately, it’s to both you and your landlord’s benefit for you to follow your lease terms—you’ll get to work with a happy landlord and your landlord will feel respected.
Have questions about your tenancy or lease agreement? I can help. Over the years, I’ve assisted hundreds of clients with finding the right place, decorating their space, and even renting out their unit to tenants. Feel free to get in touch if you need a hand with all things renting related and beyond.
Lara Stasiw • Real Estate Agent & Home Design Connoisseur
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