10 ways to keep your landlord happy

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Follow these tips and ensure a trouble-free relationship with your landlord.

Some people seemingly lurch from one ‘bad’ landlord to another. We hear stories all the time about how awful some landlords are and to be fair, there are those who disregard the law, who rent out properties that need renovations or repairs and who continually make unreasonable demands. However, there are generally two sides to a story and there are things some tenants do which would irritate the most patient of landlords. There are several golden rules that those who want to ensure they have a happy, trouble-free tenancy should never break:

1. Pay the rent on time - every time.

The landlord may be sympathetic and understand that you are in a bind, but this doesn’t mean he doesn’t need the money you owe. He has bills to pay and bond repayments are still going to be deducted from his bank account, regardless of whether your rent has been paid or not.

2. Keep the landlord abreast of any problems with the property.

Accidents happen, cupboard doors fall off, stoves break and pool pumps go on the blink. Some things will be the tenant’s responsibility to repair and others will be for the landlord’s account. Landlords generally want to know what’s happening to the home and tend to get a little antsy if problems are only noted during an inspection. To keep a healthy business relationship going, inform the landlord about any problems/repairs as soon as they crop up.

3. Maintain the garden and pool.

Nothing screams neglect quite like an unkempt garden. Keep the lawn mowed and weed the beds on a regular basis.

4. Keep the noise down.

Landlords don’t enjoy getting complaints from the neighbours. Be mindful of those around you and if you are planning a party, contact the neighbours and let them know that things will be slightly noisier than usual. Keep an eye on where your guests park if you live in a sectional title complex and don’t allow them to block access roads or park in someone else’s parking bay. Watch your children. Children get excited when they play and this can lead to a plethora of complaints. If you live in a sectional title complex, teach your children where they can and can’t play and ask them to be mindful of the neighbours when it comes to noise. Dogs can also be a bugbear for neighbours. Don’t allow them to bark incessantly or to wander around the complex at will.

5. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Don’t complain to the landlord about every little thing that’s faulty. Take the time to repair minor things and don’t try and claim back every last cent once the repairs have been completed. We’re not talking about the cost to repair a geyser here, we are referring to things like replacing tap washers and the like.

6. Get permission for repairs.

Don’t call people in to undertake repairs unless you have permission from the landlord to do so. Likewise, don’t undertake repairs and then deduct the cost from the next month’s rent without the landlord’s consent.

7. Always be polite.

No one, not even a landlord, enjoys being screamed at. Keep your cool and explain whatever problem you may have in a calm, even-toned voice. Remember landlords aren’t available 24/7 and just because they haven’t gotten back to you within an hour or two doesn’t mean they don’t care and are purposely ignoring you – it simply means they have a life and it may not be a convenient time to deal with your problem.

8. Listen to the landlord.

If there’s a no smoking rule in place, then don’t smoke inside. If the landlord has explicitly said that there may be no pets on the property, but you’re unsure if the rule extends to your beloved goldfish – ask.

9. Tell the truth.

No one likes hearing excuses, so if the property has been damaged because of something you or your family have done, own up and offer to pay for the repairs before being asked to.

10. Treat the property with respect.

Look after the home as if it were your own. Keep things clean and tidy and if you struggle with housework, at least ensure the home looks acceptable when you know the landlord is popping in. Renting a home is a bit of a two-way street and the landlord will generally do far more for you if he sees you’re making every effort to keep the property in pristine condition.

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