I have rented most of my life, yet I have had both wonderful experiences and horrible ones as well. What has in every case determined my happiness has been the relationship and personality of the landlord.
You have found the perfect home for yourself, or your family. It’s the right location, has the layout you were hoping for, and everything on your list of needs to be happy. Wait don’t sign yet. There is one more thing you need to ensure you will be content, what is the landlord like?
You can tell a lot about the owner by how they have cared for the property. If things are in disrepair, find out if they will be repaired before you move in. If you get a promise to do it in a few weeks time, get each repair noted in writing and when the repair will be completed. A landlord who shows his apartment with needed repairs may promise to fix them and never do so.
In the case of an individual who has purchased the property and restored it, you may find they have an unusual attachment to their property. You may find they are not able to let go and see this as your home, to live in as you want. I n those cases, you will find they are constantly checking to make sure you haven’t changed or damaged something, remember what if felt like to have mom checking up on your room when you were little?
Here are a few of the problems I have run into over the years:
- Refusal to properly take care of maintenance issues. In this case be prepared to pay for upkeep on your own. If you ask about having the cracked window repaired before you assume the lease and they tell you, like I was told, to just put tape over it, move on to find another property.
- A personal attachment on the part of the owner to how they have painted the home and refusal to allow you to change any colors. In one home I rented the second bedroom was painted pink had nursery wallpaper border. Since I had two sons I wanted tor remove the border and repaint. I was refused, but knowing the law, did it anyway.
- I had a landlord who drove by regularly and would stop to ask whose car was in my driveway. She believed I should never have guests over and then informed me I could never have over night guests. Guess how well that went over. the law protects us and allows us to have company even overnight guests on the premises.
- The same landlord would drive by and call on her cell to tell me she wanted the window closed, or that my lights were on and that I, a night owl, should be in bed earlier so as not to use so much electricity.
- I had one landlord who seemed like the perfect fit when meeting him. He lived across the street and said he was available at any hour if I had a problem. His apartment was well maintained and he wanted to be informed of any problem as soon as it was noticed. After renting the apartment I learned quickly enough he was nosy and wanted to be in my business constantly One day he informed me my son and his family must leave before 8 pm as that was when he went to bed and he would not allow guests on the property when he couldn’t watch what went on.. I even caught him going through my mail. It was time to move, I had miss judged him and couldn’t be happy there.
Not all individuals who own property develop an unnatural attachment to their properties. and yes, even some management companies can very controlling insisting you must have the same uniform window treatments as every one else, or insisting on only certain types of furniture or planters will be allowed to sit outside.
So how do you find the right fit?
- Know how you will want to use and decorate the areas you will be inhabiting. If you have a grill, ask if it is allowed and where on the property it can be used.
- If any utilities are included in your rent, be sure to get permission for any extras you have such as a freezer before hand. Have permission written into the lease before signing.
- Ask how much of the lawn care is your responsibility, or if you are responsible for snow removal.
- Inform the owner about your habits. I tend to be a homebody but will have overnight guests such as my grand-children or an out-of-town relative a couple times a month. If you get any resistance, face it now not later.
- Know the law. Get a copy of your states rental laws, they are free. If you are new to renting you can get started here, then pick up a copy of your states landlord tenant act from your local municipal office
- Most of all go with your gut. If when you meet the owner, or manager, you get a feeling, good or bad, let that be your sign to either walk away or sign on the dotted line.
Your home is your home while you live there. But if your desire when seeing the apartment is to start changing things, other than paint colors, you may want to consider the option of owning.
Are you a renter? What made you decide to rent?