Finding a fair-priced rental in a competitive market with all desired amenities is difficult, but many jump on the opportunity as soon as the costs match their financial restrictions. However, the management team is another highly important factor to consider when renting.
Living in a beautiful high-rise with a rooftop pool and full-sized gym isn’t beneficial if common areas are constantly closed. Older buildings are notorious for minor but frequent maintenance issues – which can be extremely time-consuming for tenants to deal with if management fails to complete their duties.
Review the following three tips to avoid difficult landlords and create positive rapport with responsible and helpful property managers (PMs).
1. Avoid Slumlords Whenever Possible
Take some time to read reviews online to understand the kind of relationships current tenants have with the landlords. Tenants might feel personally offended if their landlords aren’t willing to engage in friendly conversation – unless they know it’s simply the way they handle business. Multiple negative reviews are red flags. Professional PMs usually don’t receive negative backlash, and avoiding uncaring owners is worth the extra upfront research. Ask previous tenants or current neighbors for helpful information regarding their experiences with the management team. Opinions may vary, but negative patterns shouldn’t be ignored.
2. Be Polite
Tenants who treat their landlords with kindness are more likely to receive kindness in return. Most leases last at least 12 months, so maintaining healthy relationships with a PM is important, especially for lessees who plan on leaving. Developing a friendly relationship with the maintenance staff expedites repairs and can lead to bonuses including discounted parking or free storage space.
Renters located in expensive or growing markets like Atlanta should foster PM relationships for discounts. Atlanta’s median rental list price is $1,253 per month and has increased significantly since the beginning of the year when rent was only $1,100. As the rental market continues to grow, landlords can choose to honor existing lease prices for tenants who want to resign, or remarket the same units at higher price points. Although landlords might lose $100 per month, offering lease extensions with rent stabilization so tenants don’t pay more based on increasing market values gives PM companies ease of mind. Responsible and respectful tenants are more likely to receive lease extensions at the same prices, regardless of increasing market value.
3. Pay on Time (or Early)
Most landlords depend on their rental incomes to fund monthly mortgages. Lawful lease agreements outline the specific dates rents are due. Late rent is not only disrespectful to a landlord’s business practice, but can cost fees or cause immediate eviction. Medical emergencies, legal issues and other instances are all legitimate reasons for late rent. However, renters should discuss concerns with landlords as soon as possible – not the night before rent is due. Depending on company policy and tenants’ history of timely payments, landlords may allow a few extra days for responsible leaseholders to organize their finances.
Some difficult landlords refuse to change their ways regardless of tenant behavior. In these unfortunate, yet rare cases, tenants should review contracts to understand potential penalties and move forward with new PM companies. Most of the time, however, thorough due diligence, polite behavior and prompt rent allow prospective tenants to develop stress-free working relationships with their landlords.