Your first tenant-landlord relationship can be the harsh reality behind landing the apartment of your dreams. The foundation of any relationship is shaped by first impressions, so make sure to do your research before move-in day and start off on a good note. Establishing a tenant-landlord rapport can take time but will prove beneficial if any problems arise or any repairs need to be done while leasing.
Luckily, nationwide housing advocacy organizations serve as great resources for veteran landlords and first-time renters alike. Brendan Saunders, director of advocacy and organizing at the Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs in Winnetka, Ill., spells out the proper roles of landlords and tenants.
I found the perfect place. Now what?
The first thing I would recommend is researching the property to see if there are any code violations. Landlords have the privilege of learning more about potential tenants through screenings and background checks. Tenants have the right to check out potential landlords as well. Do this by talking to other tenants that live in the building while you’re viewing the property.
What is the difference between a landlord and the building manager/superintendent?
The landlord of a building is the owner of the property and the person responsible for paying the taxes on the property. Some larger buildings have superintendents or managers that the landlord hires for the maintenance of the building along with various other responsibilities.
What is the best way to communicate with my landlord?
Constantly communicate with your landlord both verbally and through written correspondence via e-mail or letter. Any agreements made between the landlord and tenant should be put in writing. For example, if tenant and landlord agree that, if the tenant shovels every time it snows, the tenant gets a reduction of rent, this needs to be put in writing for the safety of both parties.
What is my role as a tenant?
The main responsibility of a tenant is to understand that a landlord’s property is [his or her] investment. In the case of smaller properties, the building is most likely the landlord’s place of residence as well. Do your best as a tenant to respect your landlord and the property.