We spend a lot of time on The Tenant’s Voice (TTV) looking at the issues tenants face with landlords and letting agents and what can be done about them. However, have you ever thought about what you might be able to do in order to be a better tenant? With the New Year upon us perhaps it’s time to consider a few New Year’s resolutions to make your relationship with your landlord the best it can be in 2015 – here a few suggestions.
- Pay your rent on time. Ok this seems basic but this week Shelter published statistics indicating that 3 million households in the UK a worried about missing their January rent or mortgage payments so it’s a very pertinent issue. If you can’t make a rent payment for whatever reason then the best approach is to tell the landlord or agent. If you are able to, give them a date on which they can expect the money and a reason that will reassure them it won’t happen again. Most landlords will want to keep good tenants and will be able to be flexible through a few lean months.
- Remember that it’s not just the landlord who is responsible for the property. A good tenant will treat a property like his or her own, including making sure that it’s secure when empty and that steps are taken to keep it in good condition. For example, don’t leave the door shut and the extractor fan off after a steamy shower – make sure you properly ventilate naturally damp areas to avoid mould and damp patches. If you don’t then you might find yourself paying for it at the end of the tenancy.
- Be a good neighbour. Most landlords simply want a good relationship with a tenant who isn’t going to cause them any problems. Achieving this will depend on the extent to which the landlord meets their own legal obligations and respects the tenant’s rights but the more you respect the local community where you live, the better the relationship with the landlord is likely to be. Don’t drop litter in the neighbour’s garden, have loud parties frequently or walk around on wooden floors in heeled shoes. The more respect you show for your neighbours the more good stock you’re likely to be building up with the landlord, especially if it’s their former home and they remain close to their former neighbours.
- Understand your tenancy agreement. How many of us have been guilty of just wanting to get the keys and move in, barely glancing at the tenancy agreement as a result? Ok, so there is rarely an opportunity to negotiate this document but that doesn’t mean that you can ignore it. You need to understand what your rights are, but also what your responsibilities are. Some of them can be obscure, such as getting chimneys cleaned or not using certain types of nails for wall hangings. You can save everyone a whole lot of hassle if you know what you need to do when you move in, rather than trying to ‘fix’ things at the end of the tenancy to save your deposit. And remember, if you don’t understand anything in your tenancy agreement then ask a question about it – this is a legal document that can be enforced in the courts so it’s important that you know what is involved in signing it.
If you have any questions about your renting situation or you’d like the views of our community then why not consult our forums. We also have some very useful Help & Advice guides on everything from rent to repairs.