This information does not constitute legal advice.
The relationship between the renter and the landlord does not have to be tense and wrought with difficulty. Each needs the other to survive. Partners do better than enemies. Attitude and approach are keys to success. Humans have a tendency to respond to people in the same way they are being treated. Rudeness gets very little in the long run.
Politeness and respect go a long way in building a positive relationship. It is hard to respond nicely or positively to a demanding person.
- Be sure you know the name of the owner as well as the agent (if there is one).
- How would they like to be addressed? Mr., Ms., Mrs., by first name?
- Don't be presumptuous and use a first name if you haven't been asked to do so.
Know how the communication system works. They all differ.
- Who should you call for repairs, problems, and concerns?
- In an emergency?
- In a non-emergency?
- Who will be responsible for responding to your concern?
- How long should you expect a response to take?
- Does anything ever need to be in writing?
Keep a telephone/visit log that records EVERY concern/complaint to the landlord/agent. The log should include the following information:
- Date of call
- Time of day of call
- Which roommate called—It can be useful for the same person to call about the same problem. (When different people call, the stories get confused.)
- Name of the person you talked to
- Exactly what was reported in the call
- The response to your question about when the problem will be addressed
Know what type of repair you need done.
- Is it dangerous?
- Is it costing you or the landlord money?
- Is it cosmetic?
- Would it just be nice?
- If you can identify the kind of problem it is, that will assist the landlord in determining how soon it NEEDS to be handled. Everyone thinks their problem is most important.
Report things that are wrong as quickly as possible.
- Don't wait until the problem has existed for several days/weeks. Something little is a lot easier to fix than something that has grown bigger than it needed to be.
Patience is a virtue.
- Remember you are not the ONLY customer.
- Be reasonable in what you expect about how soon the problem can be corrected.
- If you are not satisfied with how it is being handled, call again.
- ATTITUDE always matters - no matter how many times you call.
Carry out your end of the bargain. Know the specifics of the lease and any house rules.
- Respect the property.
- Take good care of the residence and grounds.
- Keep music and noise at a reasonable level for others in the area.
- Follow the rules. There is no reason to think you are an exception.
- Make ALL payments on time.