First-year college students often look forward to living independently and finally breaking free from their parents’ restrictions. However, once they move out of the residence halls and into a home or apartment of their choice, landlords often take the place of the parental pressures they thought they’d so recently escaped. For this reason, renters must learn the many tips and tricks they can use to manage living with difficult landlords.
“The tenant is very protected by the tenant laws more than the landlord these days, but landlords can take advantage by (requiring) a larger deposit than necessary,” realtor Emily Piemonte said. “The tenant has the right to an attorney or to contact the fair housing department to help them understand the laws.”
Before signing a lease agreement, renters should read through the document carefully and make sure they fully understand every aspect of what they are authorizing.
“Wear and tear on carpets, painting, bathrooms, etc. needs to be specified in the agreement,” Piemonte said. “Whoever pays utilities and any costs per month above rent agreement should be inserted. When a landlord wants to look at a unit, he or she must specify notice time to enter in writing, excluding emergency entering. The prospective tenant should know when rent increases, the cap on amount per specified time and how many times per year this occurs. Repairs and reimbursements are all defined in the agreement. The tenant can add or deduct clauses in the agreement upon speaking with the landlord before signing.”
Even when sufficient time and diligence have been put into the rental process, difficult landlords may still show their true colors later in the game.
“Maria is the Piedra del Sol landlord and she has been difficult,” integrated marketing communications junior Andrew Robinson said. “The Jacuzzi has been broken all year and her excuse is that it’s too expensive to buy a new part. The elevators are broken every weekend and they never get fixed. There is vomit in the stairs that never gets cleaned up by the cleaning crew that only cleans the courtyard. We get written notifications for wet suits on our balcony, music complaints and she even has written us up for parking our bikes outside our apartment.” When asked how he has dealt with these issues he said, “My three other roommates and I reread the lease.”
In a situation like this, creating a positive relationship with the landlord and adhering to every written notification could prove helpful. In an event that the landlord becomes unyielding, remember the aforementioned laws that have been set to protect the tenant. Further actions can be taken in severe circumstances. However, a little calm and professional communication with an unresponsive landlord can sometimes go a long way.
“Overall, our landlord has been very flexible with us about rent, but there have been some issues with the house that we have had to deal with, like no screens on the windows and little stuff like that,” kinesiology sophomore Max Monroe said. “At first, he ignored our complaints, but then our landlord took us more seriously when we wrote out a list of what needed to be fixed and we calmly talked to him.”
Negotiation and positive communication is key to a successful tenant-landlord relationship. What landlords want most from their tenants is rent that is paid on time. Above all, being a respectful tenant is equally as important as being a respectable landlord.
Renters should know the parameters of their lease, be considerate of their neighbors and be responsible for their guests. They should keep the apartment or house they live in presentable and avoid being overly demanding. If there is a problem that can be fixed without the aid of maintenance or contacting the landlord, it should be repaired by the tenant.
When deciding on a rental unit, knowing and approving of the landlord is just as important as accommodations. However, when landlord troubles cannot be avoided, following these steps should help ease the woes many tenants face.