It might not be the first thing on your mind when you move into a new property, but the enduring relationship you have with your landlord can have a huge impact on your renting experience.
Just take it from our real-world renter, Thomas who says:
“When I think about my positive experiences whilst renting, I automatically think of my landlord in the final year of university. He was great.”
Read more on Thomas’ rental experience and hear from other real-world renters in our blog, real-world renters: Your rental experiences.
However, if relations do turn sour it’s always easy to blame your landlord. But there are steps you can take to prevent this and cultivate a mutually beneficial relationship.
Here are our five top tips to build a positive relationship with your landlord:
1. Communicate effectively
Clear communication makes all types of relationships easier. Establish early on how your landlord prefers to keep in touch, they might respond better to emails, phone calls or even face to face contact. Make sure you find out the best way to reach them for general enquiries and for emergencies and in turn, communicate how you prefer to be contacted.
If you have any early concerns about the house, make sure to communicate them to your landlord before the tenancy agreement is signed. For instance, if you are going to be living in the smallest bedroom and you think your rent should be reduced, bring it up in conversation with your landlord so the issue can be debated and resolved through effective and constructive communication and dialogue. Transparency is key to a positive landlord-tenant relationship.
Honesty is also vitally important. You are living in this person’s house and they are trusting you with possibly their most prized possession, so if there are issues with the house or the tenancy make sure to communicate them promptly to your landlord. Most of the time they will want to be kept in the loop about any important developments or issues within their property. If they feel you are hiding things from them it could have a detrimental impact on your relationship.
If you are struggling to pay your rent, perhaps due to having your salary reduced through the furlough scheme or being made redundant due to the COVID-19 pandemic, remember that honesty is the best policy. Your landlord might be more understanding if you communicate openly with them and perhaps, you’ll be able to come up with a solution or payment plan together.
Our money saving guide to real-world renting includes advice on how to get your finances under control, income hacks and tips to boost funds, information on the financial impact of coronavirus, advice on what to do if you are struggling to pay rent, and what your rights are as a renter during coronavirus.
Paul Shamplina, Founder of Landlord Action, says:
“A lot of people are facing financial uncertainty at the moment, but in my experience it’s best to face up to those problems and have that difficult conversation with your landlord as soon as possible; you never know, that transparency could end up strengthening your relationship with your landlord.”
2. Play by the rules
Abiding by the principles stated in your tenancy agreement will undoubtedly help you stay in your landlord’s good books.
It might sound simple, but by paying your rent on time you are both minimising aggravation for your landlord, who doesn’t need to chase you for the payment, and demonstrating your commitment to maintaining a positive relationship.
Consistently not paying your rent on time will almost always have a negative effect on your relationship with your landlord. Remember, they also have bills to pay and could be relying on your rent for other costs, so abide by your tenancy agreement and pay your rent on time.
If your landlord is receiving complaints from neighbours about antisocial behaviour in their property it is unlikely that you will be their favourite tenant. Remember to bear other peoples’ needs and expectations in mind and try to play by the rules so that your behaviour doesn’t reflect badly on your landlord and put a strain on your relationship.
3. Have realistic expectations
If there is an issue within the property, it’s easy to demand a quick fix from your landlord. But remember they are just a person, with other time and financial commitments, and they are probably doing their best to rectify the situation for you.
Try to manage your expectations of your landlord. If you make requests for things to be fixed or furnishings updated, it is highly unlikely that changes will be made immediately. Remember to be patient and try to make allowances, especially in the current climate.
If there is an urgent danger or an emergency within the property, then of course you should expect an immediate response. But if the issue is something less pressing – a cracked tile or a missing bedside table, then try to be a patient and understanding tenant, without harbouring unrealistic expectations of your landlord and the speed with which the property can be tended to.
4. Be polite and professional
It goes without saying that one of the most important ways to cultivate a positive relationship is to be polite, respectful and maintain a professional relationship.
When you meet your landlord for the first time, make sure to ask polite questions to get to know them in a professional capacity, perhaps about their occupation, their family or their expectations of their tenants. By showing an interest in their life you are developing a positive relationship and a good foundation for a tenant-landlord relationship that could go on to last many years.
Also, remember that when you ultimately move on to live in another property you might require a reference from your previous landlord. That is another reason to keep relations cordial with your landlord at all times, and not resort to arguments or unpleasantries.
The deposit return period at the end of a tenancy can be a stressful time, sometimes with increased tension between landlords and tenants, that’s why at Ome, we offer a free dispute resolution should you find yourself in this situation.
5. Do your bit
It might not be your name on the deeds, but nevertheless the property is still your home, so it makes sense that you would muck in to help keep the property in great condition.
This could simply be taking the bins out regularly, cleaning, or reporting any serious damage; anything that could help avoid a more serious and expensive issue in the future.
These tips can help you to maintain a great relationship with your landlord, and in the words of Paul Shamplina, Brand Ambassador of Hamilton Fraser,
“A happy tenant is a happy landlord!”
Read more about the importance of communication between tenant and landlord in Paul’s blog, ‘Communication is the answer’.