4 Keys to Dealing with Your Landlord

by AJ Pettersen · 7 comments


If you’re a renter, or are planning on renting in the future, you’ll need to deal with a landlord. Though there are many different types of rental situations, there a few ways to deal with landlords that’ll almost always apply.

Be Adamant

When my wife and I moved into our first place together, we settled on a small one-bedroom apartment. The complex was a run-of-the-mill operation with cheap rent. Getting in touch with the maintenance man was fairly easy, and most problems were solved quickly.

At our new townhouse, things work a bit differently. Upon arrival, we found out that the owner had accrued late charges on past-due HOA fees. In addition, the water heater needed to be cleaned and the fridge repaired. It wasn’t exactly what we were expecting. The landlord was supposed to be the owner, but she thought the real estate agent would be able to take care of things. We had to be quite adamant with the agent and the landlord to ensure every problem was solved. After a while, we got everything sorted out and back to normal.

When you have an issue at your rental unit, you need to pursue a solution. It’s in your best interest (and is your legal right) to have problems fixed. If your landlord is being difficult, present the lease showing their responsibilities. If they fail to hold up their end of the contract, you may need to pursue legal action.

Be Friendly

This may sound contradictory to the first point, but it’s not. Being adamant doesn’t have to mean being angry. Getting on the good side of your landlord will help ensure that all goes smoothly. A few friendly words can go a long way in making sure you both get what you want.

My wife and I have been in contact with our landlord often to fix all of the problems listed above. By being friendly and understanding, we’ve been able to get everything taken care of. If we’d been difficult, she may have responded differently and not wanted to help us out as quickly.

Be Legal

Read your lease and understand what it says. If you don’t know what some of it means, have someone with a legal background explain it to you. By understanding your lease, you’ll know what your rights are. Leases usually have a section covering everything from broken appliances to breaking a lease.

A lease is a legally binding contract between you and your landlord. Understand your rights and get problems taken care of soon after they arise.

Be a Good Renter

Overall, just being a good renter is essential in dealing with your landlord. Be respectful of their property and their time. By establishing a good relationship with your landlord, you’ll be able to fix problems quickly and live happily in your unit.

How do you deal with your landlord?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Property Marbella says:

    Take references on your landlord before you sign any agreement. Via the internet today, you can find lots of information positively and negatively.

  • @pfinMario says:

    It’s too bad there isn’t a public forum where people can review good and bad landlords. When I move into a new building, I have to give a living history so that the new landlord knows what sort of tenant I’ll be; it’s odd that there’s no way for me to get the opposite

  • Jim says:

    Great Post A.J. As a landlord, I would welcome all these scenarios, it would make leasing my properties a much more enjoyable investment. The keys from a landlord perspective is to do a good background check, find good quality tenants, do what you say your going to do, and provide them with all the necessities to live in quiet enjoyment.

  • Kate says:

    Here in Toronto there is a vacancy rate of under 2%. This is because a shoe box sized condo on the 61st floor with no access to the out of doors save the elevator sells for $300,000. The house across the street for me is for sale for $1,600,000. This is NOT Beverly Hills. So the way you deal with a landlord is with your hat in your hand, because there are 100 people lined up behind you to happily accept your keys. Oh, and by the way, check out the phrase “key money.” You’ll need to know it.

    • @pfinMario says:

      I know exactly what you’re talking about as someone who lives in New York. Are you afraid of not having your lease extended when your contract’s up or of them kicking you out mid-contract?

  • Alex C says:

    I like to negotiate with my landlord. Often times, many of us take the price as fixed with no room for negotiation, which may some times be true.

    I have had my rent lowered a couple times and when they could not lower it, I made sure they threw in some upgrades to the apartment to justify the increase in rent.

    So if I had advice for some people, never simply accept the asking price. Find room for negotiating. To have a successful negotiation you are going to have to prepare.

    A few things that you may need are the rental prices of other places to compare the one you are negotiating, if you have been living at your place for awhile then talk about the type of renter you are, and lastly figure out what you want so you do not settle for less than what you hoped for.

    • @pfinMario says:

      It never hurts to ask (and I always do), but I’m going to guess the negotiations you’re talking about don’t in New York. With rent control and low occupancy rate, most landlords here don’t feel like they need to bend very much to fill an empty space.

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