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Engel & Völkers Licence Partner Hong Kong, Real Estate Agency > Blog > The Many Phases Of A Happy Landlord-Renter Relationship

The Many Phases Of A Happy Landlord-Renter Relationship

People tend overlook the importance of a good and healthy relationship with their landlord but it’s actually more important than many  of us give credit for. Establishing and maintaining a good, healthy, solid working relationship between you and your landlord should be on the priority list if you want a good experience in the rental journey.May we add that your relationship with your landlord doesn’t just end when you finish your lease terms - great referrals can come from your former landlord even long after you no longer live on their property.


There are a few key stages to establishing, building,and maintaining a good landlord-renter relationship, from before you sign the lease to after you move out when the lease ends. Here are a few tips on how to create a genuine and trusting partnership through all phases of renting:


Viewing The Property

This is the very first stage and beginnings of the potential landlord-renter relationship. It starts as soon as you open up the communication channels with this person who could potentially become your new landlord. You have seen the listing and the photos, and your attention has been captured. You reach out your phone and dial the mobile number listed under the property for rental. The phone rings. Once. Twice. And again. The landlord picks up. “Hello?"


How do you answer back? 


The logical and civilized answer is of course to answer back politely and professionally but you would be surprised how many people seem to forget to act like decent human beings and be respectful.


This is the start. This is the very first time that you have the chance to make an impression on the person who may be renting you your future home. Whether you make a good or bad impression is entirely up to you but the first impression is ever so important. Getting off on the right foot and making a healthy impression is especially important if you are really,really interested in renting the home in question. If you are searching for a home to rent in a highly competitive market, it’s even more crucial that you know how to stand out from the crowd in a positive way so that you will get picked for the place. 


First impressions are so important that a landlord will pick their rental candidates according to it.  If a potential tenant clearly has poor hygiene and dresses in a way that is not soothing to the landlord, it can signify to the landlord that the person is not serious about renting the place and further more will not take good care of the rental. If the person cannot take good care of himself or herself, how can the landlord expect their rental to be well cared for? 


Be punctual on the actual day of the viewing, if not a little early (always helps). Your future landlord also has a schedule and it is not fair for you to make them wait incessantly because you just couldn’t be bothered to show up on time for unjustified reasons.


Setting a good first impression is a two-way street.As much as you are being judged for how good you will be as a potential tenant,this is also your chance to gage whether or not you will have a positive experience with this particular landlord if the two of you end up in a working relationship. You can use this time to ask questions to help gain better insight. There is a lot that you can observe about a person if you pay attention in the right areas. When you were making the appointment, were you able to get a hold of the landlord right away or was it a difficult process that took hours to days until you received a call back? If it is the latter,then you may want to proceed with caution. You don’t want to be in a working relationship with someone who you can never get a hold of. What if there is an emergency situation with the property, or you need repairs but the landlord is a complete Houdini?


When you walk in to the viewing, pay attention to all the little details. How well-kept is the property? Are there a ton of things broken? Any signs of major wear and tear on the walls and exterior surfaces? Is the property clean? Does it smell nice? Does it smell like something has been rotting in there for weeks? Are there any bugs around? All of these signs can give you great insight in to who your landlord is and what kind of a person they are. You don’t want to rent from someone who doesn’t take care of the property. 


Don’t be afraid to ask your landlord questions and voice reasonable concerns. If the landlord is evasive in answering your questions, then you may want to be careful and rethink renting the property. A good landlord will be transparent with you and helpful when you ask questions and voice concerns. They should be prompt in responding to your phone calls and text messages. It is not possible to have a health relationship, whether personal or work, with someone who seems to have something to hide and unreliable. 

Applying For The Property

The first stage is over. We assume that if you have gotten to this phase, you have successfully impressed your landlord and vice versa. You have decided that you like the property and will move forward with the paperwork in renting this particular unit from the landlord. 


What comes next?

Now is the time to actually apply for the rental. This starts with first filling out the lease application. In a competitive market,if you really want to show that you are serious, it’s crucial to do this step as soon as you have made your decision to go with the particular rental. You will need to submit an application fee along with the application Once the application is submitted,you will also need to provide other documents (proof of income, proof of address, references, credit report…etc) to your landlord.


Make it a point to be extra prepared. Don’t wait for your landlord to ask you and chase you to come up with the documents. If you have everything ready to go, it will show your landlord that you are a serious contender who is also responsible and prepared, which can make you stand up in a pile of other applicants.


Once your application gets approved, you will be given a lease to sign. The biggest mistake renters make is not reading the lease agreement thoroughly and understanding everything detailed in it - anything from security deposits to pet policies. Renters are usually so overjoyed with being approved and having a new home to live in that they completely forget to read through the lease. 


Although many renters will sign the lease as it is,there is actually a great deal of room for negotiation if you can be bothered with the process. You can negotiate everything from security deposits, pet deposits, to the monthly rent. Anything can be negotiated, as long as it is done respectfully and with logic. Remember that once you sign the lease, that is it. The lease is final and agreed under the law once you put your signature on there, so remember to negotiate all of your needs and requests before you sign the lease. 


Moving In And Becoming A Resident

Just because you have sealed the deal, doesn’t mean that your responsibilities end here. After you have signed the lease is when it is even more vital to solidify you and your landlord’s working relationship.


There are a number of things you can do to be a good tenant.


The number one factor that drives a wedge between landlords and tenants, causing the relationship to break down is rent. Yes,rent. When rent is not paid on time as agreed on the lease terms, it can manifest in an ugly way with the landlord getting annoyed an angry at the renter’s irresponsibility, hence causing tension in the relationship. Although everyone slips up every once in a while, you should aways make it a priority and a good habit to get your rent in on time, on the agreed date of each month. If you really cannot meet your rent on time, be courteous and diligent in explaining your problem to your landlord and give them a time frame for when you will be able to pay them the rent. Be humble and apologetic in your approach.


The second most important thing you can do to be a good tenant is to make sure that you are taking extra good care of the rental property. Respect the property, respect your landlord. The number one thing to keep in mind is that this rental property is not yours to do as you please.This is a borrowed property that is owned by someone with whom you are in a working relationship with. Do not trash the apartment, do not break anything. If you do break something, be sure to repair it without troubling your landlord. If you want to make alterations to the apartment, always ask for permission first!Even if you have good intentions and believe with all your heart that you are doing a good deed by improving on your landlord’s unit, don’t take liberty in to your own hands. Always communicate well and often with your landlord for anything that pertains to the rental, because you do not own the apartment. You are only renting it for a specific amount of time. 


Moving Out And Moving On

Every landlord-tenant relationship has a start and an end, it is part of the cycle of real estate renting. Unless you plan to renew the lease, when the lease term is over, people will move out and move on.Whether you are planning on renew your lease or move on, it is necessary to give your landlord ample time early notice, which is 30-60 days in most cases,so that he or she can make proper arrangements for future tenants.


No matter how you decide to end the lease, be sure to end it on good footing. Don’t just clap your hands and walk out, be sure to do your due diligence by cleaning up the rental thoroughly before returning the keys back to your landlord.


You can always keep in contact with your landlord to tie up any loose ends at a later time, such as collecting mail, left over belongings or requesting for future referrals.

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