Tenancy 101: Five Ways to be a Good Tenant

“The ache for a home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”-Maya Angelou

So you have finally found the perfect place to rent. What is next?

Well, initially you would probably focus your attention and most of your energy to ensure that your tenant rights are respected—and you are right to do so. After all, you are holding up your end of the bargain by routinely paying your monthly rental fee, so you would reasonably expect your landlords to treat you with a degree of respect and ensure that your rental spaces are up to par. While there is nothing wrong with this, it is also best to cultivate a good relationship with your landlord and neighbors. Not only does this foster an amicable culture, but it would also mutually benefit everyone. Consequently, it would mean lesser headaches for your landlord while you can also count on them should you ever have any concerns or issues about your rental property. Furthermore, having a friendly relationship with your neighbors promotes a sense of community and would generally make your life in your rental property much easier.

When it comes down right to it, being a good tenant and having a positive relationship with your landlord would generally make your life in your rental property much easier. Remember, you might be paying to rent the space, but at the end of the day your landlord still owns it. So, treat your property with as much respect as you would expect from your landlords—regardless of whether your living quarters is a room for rent in Cebu or a Makati apartment for rent. Here are some of the ways you can be a good tenant:

1.) Read your lease.

Your tenant’s rights are meant to protect you while your lease agreement is meant to protect your landlord. Legally speaking, if you commit a breach in any part of your agreement, you can be sued or legitimately evicted. With this in mind, it is best to thoroughly ready your lease. And by thoroughly, we mean every paragraph, every sentence and every word. Make sure you understand the context and what it entails. Take note: Your lease agreement would become legally binding once you sign it. In this regard, be sure that you and your landlord are in agreement with every section before you affix your signature onto the document.

2.) Changes to your lease should not be made arbitrarily

Before making any sort of changes to your rental property, be sure to notify your landlord first. Understandably, you might get a tad bit bored with your wallpaper—especially if you have been in the same unit for quite some time. However, this does not mean you can immediately tear down the existing paint. Remember to always refer back to your lease should you wish to incorporate any changes. If your lease contract explicitly states that you are not in authority to make changes such as having pets or tearing wallpapers down, be sure to get a WRITTEN EXCEPTION from your landlord. This serves as your protection should your landlord find cause to sue you stating that you breached the lease contract. Be sure to have it in writing and keep it. You might need it should you move out.

3.) Pay your rent on time

Nothing can be more infuriating to a landlord than a tenant who cannot pay their rental dues on time. Asking for extensions during emergency situations can be overlooked, but do not make a habit out of it. Make sure to routinely pay before your rent is due or on its due date. After all, you would not want any surprise visits from your landlord and it certainly would make the atmosphere awkward from the both of you. Should any financial snags prevent you from paying on time, let your landlord know ahead of time. More often than not, they would be very understanding.

4.) Be respectful

“Do unto others as you would have done to you”. While this adage might seem cliché, it is very much applicable to you. Be courteous and respectful and your landlord will likely treat you in the same manner. If you have any issues with your neighbors, as much as possible resolve them without the assistance of your landlord. Do not be passive-aggressive and address the problem head on. Your goal is to find a resolution and never to prove a point or see who was right. Remember, fostering an environment of peace begins with a good relationship with one another—including your neighbors.

5.) Treat your rental as if it was your own

Although your rental is yours only temporarily, treat it as if it were yours. Take care of the property and try to maintain and preserve its condition back when it was rented out to you. Apart from ensuring that you get your deposit back once you finally move out, it would also put you in the good graces with your landlord. Keep it clean and maintain it. Understandably, your rental unit will go through the typical wear and tear, but you should not cause any undue major damage to it. Not only would this eat your security deposit, you might even be asked to pay for it out of your own pocket.


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