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The search is over! Congratulations on your new home. You have landed your dream apartment, signed the lease and moved in officially. The hardest part is over, but your responsibilities as a new tenant do not end on the dotted line. Maintaining a good relationship with your landlord is an integrated part of having a quality experience as a tenant, which will make your life that much easier for any future housing needs and requests.
Renters often under estimate the power and importance of building a good relationship with their landlords and the ways that it can affect their day to day living experience. Although disputes between landlords and tenants are not uncommon,it happens much too often for anyone’s liking and causes havoc for both parties involved. It takes a great deal of energy and time to deal with displeased landlords, which is definitely not a situation you want to get tangled in. Why enter in to hostile combat if bad blood can easily be avoided simply by respecting and following lease terms and policies set out from the start?
It is in your long-term best interest to remain friendly with your landlord, so here are some necessary insider tips on how to develop and maintain a harmonious relationship with your landlord:
Easy enough right? It’s common sense to be polite in social situations and this applies to landlord-tenant relationships. Tenants who treat their landlords with kindness are more likely to have their requests met hence enhancing their living situation. The nicer you are to someone, the more responsive they will be of your needs and in helping you in a timely manner. Most leases last a minimum of a year to two years - it makes sense to invest time in building solid rapport. Even if your landlord is a tough cookie, don’t fight fire with fire, shower them with kindness and wait for their reciprocation. This works the majority of the time, and regardless of its effectiveness, we should always treat people nicely anyway.
If your lease agreement clearly states that you must pay rent by the 1st of each month, then you should act in good faith and live up to your word. Nobody likes to receive payment that is due chronically late, it makes you unreliable and untrustworthy as a home-renter. When you sign your lease, you are for all intents and purposes entering in to a trusted agreement like you would in any other contractual business deal. Your landlord is not a friend who is lending you the apartment as a favor; therefore it is your duty to uphold your side of the agreement - meaning pay rent on time consistently.
Let’s put it in perspective. Would you like it if your employer paid your salary late every month? Doubtful.
People have to routinely pay bills and keep up with life’s expenses, and that includes your landlord. When payment is habitually submitted late, it results in a toppling domino effect that creates problems for other people who are dependent on you to fulfill your most minimal obligations. Don’t be selfish lest you want your reputation tarnished. If late payment is a onetime occurrence, the issue can often be overlooked. Landlords are not loan sharks dressed in devil’s clothing, so practice the art of having an open communication channel because everything can be solved with the proper approach, which brings me to the next point...
Good Communication is Key
Treat your landlord with respect, as you would with any other human being. If you need something,ask for it nicely. If there are issues with the apartment that need to be dealt with, communicate your concerns in a non-demanding way. Don’t behave with aggression and crucify your landlord for every little problem you find because often times they are genuinely not aware of the problems if not told. I have seen many incidents where tenants feel that it is their right to verbally abuse and threaten their landlords to fix problems in the apartment that only occurred after they had lived there for some time. If the problem is seriously impacting your life - with management, neighbors, kitchen appliances,air-conditioning, noise levels, or whatever else - it is even more crucial that you and your landlord have a good relationship set forth already. Landlords are more willing and helpful than people give them credit for, and many are committed to providing their tenants with the best living standards possible.
Open communication is only effective if both parties are mutually respectful and act with integrity.If you are facing issues with fulfilling your rental obligations - maybe you are financially unable to meet rent on time for one month, or you need to terminate your lease early - don’t try to evade your landlord by avoiding all possible means of communication. Screening incoming calls, ignoring emails, and skipping out on rent will only further exacerbate the issues at hand. Instead,be transparent, explain your problem humbly and try to come to an agreement how you aim to solve it.
Respect comes in many forms and extends beyond just the lease agreement. Specifically in Hong Kong’s density-rich housing options, it is vital to be mindful of our neighbors.The better we operate as a community, the happier everyone’s lives will be. Pay heed to your noise levels, cooperate with the other residents in your building,be nice to management staff, and abide by the laws. If you behave disrespectfully in your community, chances are your landlord will hear of it because they are the ones who own the property by law and will be held responsible for your wrongdoings. Always be considerate of all parties involved.
This is an especially important principle when it comes to home rentals. The policies and rules are laid out in black and white for a reason; so that tenants follow the guidelines with respect and vice versa. Landlords usually keep up to three months of security deposits as a safety precaution because people tend to think that if the home is not theirs then they can treat it however they please. Bad experiences have taught landlords to be extra careful.
It’s understandable that as tenants, you want to create a “home” and make the rental as personal as possible by making minor to borderline major alterations -drilling closet systems in to the walls, hanging up picture frames and wall art, repainting the walls a different color, replacing light fixtures - this is all completely fair but make sure to check your policies and ask your landlord before the commencement of any DIY home projects. Although most policies do forbid alterations of any kind, you would be surprised by how accommodating some landlords can be if you make the effort to build a good relationship with them first. It never hurts to ask, and the worse that can happen is that you will be denied or asked to return the rental to its original form upon move-out on your own dime. Everything can be negotiated as long as you act tactfully.
Whatever you do to the apartment; just bear in mind that you do not own the place. Apartments have been returned to landlords at the end of a lease term in frighteningly bad shape: stripped door hinges, broken doorknobs, horridly scratched and stained floors, holes in walls, broken appliances, garbage and leftover junk scattered for landlords to clear up and the list goes on. Landlords have to use money to fix the nightmarish state of the apartments that are returned back to them, and where do they get the money from? That’s right, your security deposit. Whether you care to get your deposit back is entirely up to you, but it doesn’t mean that you can trash the place however you want. Be respectful and treat your rental as you would your own home.
Be A Team Player
Most landlords own more than just one property; in fact, they usually oversee a multitude of other tenants who are also leasing from them, which sums up to a lot of management work. Take in to account that they probably lead very busy lives as well. Although it is the landlord’s job to help you do things that concern your rental, they don’t always have the time and resources to be as efficient as they would like to be. For example, if your washing machine is broken, you can easily help make some calls to service providers and repairmen to expedite the process. Sometimes, certain variables really are outside of your landlord’s control, and two pairs of hands multitasking are always better than one. Respectively, minor issues and non-emergencies like light bulb replacements and carpet cleanings can be easily taken care of without your landlord’s help. Let your landlord focus on the important stuff.
Sometimes fate isn’t always so generous and we are confronted with landlords who refuse to cooperate regardless of (positive) tenant behavior. In these extreme cases(usually rare), the only thing you can do is review your lease contract to figure out any loopholes. Worst scenario is that you will need to find a new property with a better landlord, but this is usually a rare exception. As long as positive communication is reinforced, the relationship between landlord and tenant can be highly satisfying.
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