Secrets You Can’t Keep From Your Landlord: Time To Fess Up!

Is it bad to tell little white lies here and there?Does it count as a lie if you are simply withholding certain bits of information? Ignorance is bliss. Right? Young people use this phrase to emphasize on the point that sometimes it is better for you if you do not know all the facts about a situation. If you have ever kept silent on a matter instead of fessing up after doing something borderline questionable or outright unethical,you are not alone! We learn to tell little white lies from our childhood days as a coping mechanism to stay away from being punished for doing something bad.We learn that as children, sometimes confessing of our wrongdoings can land us in hot water. So, instead of learning how to deal with the consequences of our actions head on, we try to weave a web of lies to hide from it, even though our lies will usually come to surface anyhow at one point or another. Here’s a fact of life- lies don’t stay hidden,but the truth always comes out. 


Another coping mechanism that people have adopted is to “play dumb”. Let’s put this in to context. If you are a renter, and you accidentally cause a mishap and break the stove, what do you do? You have a few options. You can either:


    1.     Try to fix the problem by yourself.

    2.     Play dumb, and pretend like you don’t know how it broke and complain to your landlord about the issue.

    3.     You fess up and tell your landlord that you broke it, and work together to repair the problem.


In an ideal world, most people would (and should) pick option 3, however you would be surprised at how inaccurate most realities actually play out. Even for the most “truth-professing”and righteous citizens, in the heat of the moment would pick anything but option 3. Interesting, isn’t it? Turns out as human beings, we would rather do anything to avoid trouble and confrontation than to deal with it in an honest manner. In no way do we condone this behaviour, but we are simply highlighting a significant phenomenon prevalent in our society in terms of how people deal with their interpersonal relationships, especially in business-like,contractual settings. The landlord-renter relationship is excluded from this.Renters tend to think that it is OK to stay quiet about their rental dealings,whether it’s losing the house key, jamming the toilet, or turning the home in to a pet hostel, because the home “technically” belongs to them for this given period of time stated on the lease contract. Contrary to what you believe, there are certain things you really should (and must) reveal to your landlord right away because you will be found out one way or another. 


Here are some secrets you should never try to hide from your landlord, or risk landing yourself in serious trouble and even getting evicted.


Youve adopted a pet,or a few

Is your rental dog-friendly? Maybe you have no idea because when you first signed your lease and moved in, you didn’t have a pet of a any kind. It wasn’t even a question on your mind probably! Now, after living there for a few months and have gotten settled in, you find that living by yourself is getting a tad lonely. One day,you walk by a pet adoption event and have your eyes glued to the cutest little puppy you have met, it’s love at first sight. You just can’t resist and end up taking your new little bundle of joy home. You probably have no idea whether pets are allowed, or maybe you do because your landlord had expressively stated that no pets are allowed. What do you do? What do most people do? They pretend to be ignorant of the truth. The mentality is that it’s better to be caught red handed naively than to be caught knowingly, so most of us choose the lesser of two evils. We can’t resist our own desires like bringing home a pet,therefore we sneakily bring a pet home and hope that we never get caught. How many of you have been in this predicament?


It’s no surprise that some tenants do sneak in pets, either because they are not allowed in the rental according to the lease policies, or they want to avoid paying a hefty pet security deposit. Sneaking pets in to your home can have dire consequences,for many reasons. You can literally get evicted or in most cases, slapped with a large fine. Bringing unauthorized pets on to a property usually doesn’t stay under wraps for too long. At some point, the dog will grow in size, start barking and alerting neighbours and property management, and in worst cases, pets who are not yet trained (mandatory growing pains) can seriously damage your rented property. This is why landlords who allow pets typically always required it to be stated on the lease contract in addition to a pet security deposit fee. You cannot possibly hide a living, breathing thing in the house and hope to never get exposed! Not only is it not healthy for the pet to be kept cooped up, it’s unfair to the landlord who is rented out the property to you. For the sake of all parties involved, the wise thing to do is be honest and fess up!


You have moved a new roommate in to the home

There’s a reason why landlords screen potential tenants before renting a property to them. The background check that every tenant goes through is crucial to ensure the safety of the landlord and his property. If you are to live with another person, both people’s names must be printed on the lease for this reason.Bringing in unauthorized house guests that end up staying for long term and becoming roommates is pretty much the same as illegal aliens entering a country without proper paperwork. You can get in to really big trouble for it!


If your decision is to live with another person or multiple other people, you need to give your landlord the chance to screen everyone who will be living under the roof, otherwise you risk yourselves getting evicted. Landlords are very cautious when it comes to this because unscreened tenants could be detrimental to them. An unscreened tenant could behave a criminal background, a dirty history with the law, or just someone who’s personality is disrespectful in the eyes of the landlord. As much as you may love your new roomie, you should make sure that you give your landlord a chance to meet him or her as well. After all, the property you are renting doesn’t belong to you,it belongs to your landlord who has the ultimate say in the matter. More tenants in one household represent more wear and tear on the property as well,and some properties may even have restrictions on the maximum number of occupants allowed to live in one unit. 


Another reason that landlords tend to stay away from multiple tenants, that are not a family, in one household is because they fear that the property will turn in to a party location with tons of unknown guests coming in and and out, especially in the cases of young tenants. Landlords like to go with the safest bet, and one occupant per unit is usually the safest bet for them to ensure that their property stays in mint condition even after move-out.

Youve clogged the toilet or something is leaking

We admit, it’s embarrassing to have to call your landlord (well,anyone of that matter!) to confess that you have just clogged the toilet. It’s no fun, that’s for sure. But you cannot ignore these problems and hope that it goes away. First of all, it’s absolutely unhygienic. Second, it’s disgusting and again unsanitary to have a clogged toilet just sitting there for months and months without attention being paid. Most people will try to fix the problem by themselves by plunging a toilet pump in there but if you don’t know what you’re doing (as most of us are not toilet-unclogging experts), you usually end up with an even bigger mess that you first started with. Our professional advice is to leave the unclogging for the experts. Most tenants don’t like to report on their plumbing and leaky fauce tissues because they are afraid of the embarrassing involved, as well as the repairing fees for the fix. Typically, if a plumbing problem is your fault, you are the one who is responsible for the repair charge. However, in most cases,the landlord is responsible for fixing all other plumbing problems.


Some problems like plumbing issues don’t fix themselves,and will only grow in to a bigger, nastier and more expensive disaster if you just let it marinade and fester. Plumbing issues are one of the worst things a renter and landlord needs to deal with, which is why you should never just keep quiet about it! Plumbing problems can leading to water damages to the walls,floors, and ceilings. Mold can start to grow from it and then you have created a  problematic health hazard all on your own.Your plumbing bill will only grow and grow if you don’t report the problem right away. Save a penny, lose a dollar. You might save a little in the beginning, but end up losing a whole lot in the end. This is why landlords and property managers will want to know anything small issue that arises before the problem becomes to big and too costly to fix. Nobody will laugh at you for clogging a toilet, trust us, it happens to everyone! It’s more embarrassing to have to deal with a health hazard in your home because you couldn’t be bothered to address the problem when it first started. 


Theres water flooding on the floor

Certain places in your home should never have any water traces and residue. It’s never a good thing when you find water in places that are outside of your sink, shower and bathtub. If you find water leak age any where in the home, you should report to your landlord right away. Water leakage can mean that there’s a bigger underlying problem that could end up damaging the infrastructure of your home. Pay attention if you see water dripping from the ceilings, or water creeping up underneath your hard wood floors.


You have bedbugs or some other pest infestation

Bedbugs is one of the worst things people need to deal with in their homes. Bedbugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals and humans. Bedbugs are a nuisance once they enter your home.Because they tend to live in groups hiding in mattresses, box springs , bed frames, and headboards where they have easy access to human blood to feast on during the night. Bedbugs can scatter throughout your home and become a problem for human and pets. Bedbugs are an infestation problem and requires extensive extermination to rid the problem entirely. Some tenants don’t want to report on bedbugs infestation because they think that they have got it all under control (this is usually highly inaccurate). DIY methods often fail, resulting in an even worse bedbug problem with the passage of time. 


Since bedbugs is not a cause of a home lacking in cleanness, most times the landlord will pay for extermination costs. The only time you would pay for the fees is if there’s hard evidence that you brought in the bedbugs, like bringing in a dirty couch or mattress you found on the side of the street. Finda professional exterminator to help you rid yourself of the bedbugs. This is something that you cannot wait on and should tell your landlord immediately.


You lost your house key and/or security fob


Most tenants will lose their key at one point of another. It’s actually quite common. Your landlord will most likely charge you to replace your lost key or lost fob, but the fee for doing so should be stated on your lease policy anyway.There shouldn’t be any hidden and additional charges that you are not aware of. When I was a college student living in university apartments, at least a handful of students would lose their keys or security fob on a daily basis. The charge was always USD$100 to replace, all across the board. We knew of the charges and it was entirely up to us to be more careful with it. If you’re worried about someone finding your key and using it to enter your property, you can consider paying to have your locks changed.Keep in mind that this will cost you more than a simple replacement key.However, unless your address and apartment number is attached to the key, the chances of someone knowing which home to open is pretty slim.


Either way, if you lose your house key or security fob to your building, alert your landlord or property management right away so thatthey can be made aware of the issue and help you fix the problem.


It is also advisable to tell your landlord and get approval before doing any of the following things:


    •       Subletting the property to people not named on the lease

    •       Advertising the property on home/apartment rental platforms, such as, AirBnb

    •       Charging people to live in your home

    •       Doing any cosmetic or structural modifications and altercations to the property

    •       Removing any parts of a property

    •       Installing water bodies, such as water beds,aquariums, swimming pools or spas

    •       Ensuring that the breed of Dog or pet you want to bring home is allowed. In some places, large dog breeds such as Pit bull,Doberman, and               Mastiffs are forbidden to own in residential properties.

  What white lies have you tried to tell your landlord to keep them from finding out about your secrets? It’s possibly time to fess up and tell the truth!

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Engel & Völkers

Hong Kong, Real Estate Agency
Shop A, Ground Floor, 95 Caine Road, Mid Levels
- Hong Kong
Company License: C-035745
+852 2561 3616

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