When it comes to renting an apartment, many of us focus on renter rights – and with good reason! Your rights as renters are very important and the Residential Tenancies Act secures your right to live in a safe, clean environment. However, it is also a good idea to think about what you can do to be a good renter to your landlord and as well as your neighbours.
Cultivating a good relationship with those in your building will make your home life that much better. Let’s take a look at some things you can do to be the best renter possible.
Read and Understand Your Lease: Leases can be a dry read, but they contain very important information. Your lease will outline things you can and cannot do, such as keeping a pet or subletting. It will also give you information on who takes care of what. For example, do you live on the ground floor with a patio and access to grass? You will want your lease to say if you or the landlord is responsible for mowing that grass. A good landlord will go over the lease with you and help to clarify any questions or concerns you may have.
Be Considerate: This can range from cleaning up after your pet to simply not being a noisy neighbour. You don’t want to be “that” person that everyone else in the building complains to the landlord about! Think of the type of neighbour you would want to share a wall with and then do your best to be that person. This also applies to parking spaces – don’t park in a spot that hasn’t been assigned to you (and don’t take up two parking spaces with one car!). And try not to battle with your neighbours over trivial things, either. The more neighbourly disputes you can sort through without involving your landlord, the better. Trust us, he/she has many more important things to deal with.
Channel Your Inner Handy-Person: If there’s something small that needs doing in your suite, like curtain fixes, draft prevention or lightbulb changes, try handling it on your own or with the help of a friend. Anything structural, electrical, or plumbing-oriented must be handled by the building manager, but for smaller things, be reasonable and respectful of your landlord’s time and put on your resourceful hat.
Pay on Time: This is the very foundation of being a good renter. If you pay on time, you won’t have to worry about being chased for rent money by your landlord. Put your cheque in the rent box (if there is one) one or two days before it is due. You may also wish to give your landlord post-dated cheques in case you may be away or are forgetful! If you know that you will need to pay your rent late one month, let your landlord know as soon as possible – the more notice the better. Life happens, and many landlords will be willing to give you a grace period of a few days as long as you are upfront and honest with them.
Don’t Break the Lease: A lease is a legal document, and your signature confirms that you are going to stay in the apartment and pay the rent for the amount and time indicated. It is true that sometimes things arise that are beyond our control. In these cases, it is best to speak to your landlord directly. Don’t just put up an ad to try to sublet the apartment without letting your landlord know what is going on. Remember that honesty goes a long way, and your landlord will be much more willing to give you a good reference on your next apartment application if you treat them with the same respect you expect them to give you!
The RentSeeker.ca Team