You want an easy, comfortable living space. You want privacy. You want your requests seen to with speed and efficiency. You want to end your tenancy on a good note with a glowing reference from your landlord and the full return of your bond. You want to be acknowledged as a good tenant.
Disregard, for the moment, all the legalities, regulations, obligations and conventions involved in residential tenancy. Being a good tenant comes down to practicing the basic principles of good manners and ethical behaviour: pay your rent on time, take care of the property and don’t disturb the neighbours.
Here is how to build or strengthen rapport with the person who has provided you with a home:
On the very odd occasion it might happen that your telephone, electricity,
gas and rent are all due concurrently and you find you are not capable of paying your rent on the due date. If you find yourself in this situation, get in touch with your landlord or agent immediately and let them know. Tell them when they can expect to receive the back rent. Be honest - landlords and agents will do their best to accommodate very sporadic delays, but if you find yourself falling behind regularly you should think about moving to somewhere cheaper.
It goes without saying that you should keep the interior of your home clean but this ought to extend to the outside as well. Mow the lawns, do a bit of gardening, keep the walls and driveways clean and properly dispose of rubbish. You should have pride in your home, in how it appears and its place in the aesthetic design of your neighbourhood.
Where possible, submit requests to your landlord or agent in writing and keep a copy. Keep copies of any written responses from your landlord or agent as well as all receipts received. This keeps things civil and clean and helps avert any disputes and misunderstandings.
There is nothing worse than living in close proximity to people who have no consideration of anyone besides themselves.
Always be aware of your neighbours and strive to be courteous and sensitive. Don’t play music too loudly or late at night. Do your neighbours have children? Turn the music down earlier and be aware of your language. If you are having people around and expect it might get slightly boisterous let any nearby neighbours know – drop a note in their mailbox a few days prior explaining that you’re having a celebration and that you’ll do your best to keep a lid on it – give them your phone number and invite them to drop in on the night for a drink. They probably won’t but they will appreciate the warning and will be far less likely to call the police with noise complaints as a result.
Let them know as soon as possible in writing of any repairs that need doing. Also remember that flexibility is a valuable characteristic. If the maintenance you require is not urgent and your landlord agrees to see to it as promptly as possible, be relaxed about it.
Be adaptable and consider what you can do until your landlord is able to arrange the repairs: Leaky tap or roof? Put a bucket under it and use the water on your garden; Cupboard door falls off? Put it safely out of the way and hang a curtain; Oven not working? If you have something you must bake that cannot wait a few days, ask a friend or neighbour to use theirs.
These basic, fundamental guidelines are an uncomplicated and effective means of ensuring that relations between you and your landlord remain solid for the duration of your tenure.
Moreover, quality tenants are regarded as invaluable by landlords, which means that being considered a first rate tenant can be acutely beneficial. Good tenants can expect greater security regarding their home – fewer or smaller rent increases, longer leases or renewed contracts, greater flexibility, improved references and a substantial sense of stability.
When all's said and done, it is alarmingly easy to be a first rate tenant and you will find, when you exert a little extra effort (which is less effort than common sense), that your conscientiousness will benefit everyone – including yourself.