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4 Ways To Get To Know A Landlord

When going through the process of renting a home, it is common for the landlord to have a series of requirements to ensure that the renter is a responsible individual. They are going to ask questions, ask for references, and have information on the renter’s financial stability, history of work, and credit. Just like a landlord has the freedom to get to know the tenant, it is important for tenants to take the time to get to know their landlord. A bad landlord could result in maintenance not being completed, security breaches, and a lack of privacy. Here are 4 ways to get to know a landlord.

 

  1. Complete a background check on your landlord. A renter is not typically able to have a landlord complete an actual interview where the landlord has to fill out an application and answer a series of questions. But the renter can have a background check completed on the landlord. A background check can provide a plethora of information, depending on what the renter wants to have checked. It can provide you with information on the landlord’s criminal, financial, educational, marriage, and employment history. It will help the renter know whether the landlord is someone who can be trusted, verifying their character and making known any risks.
  2. Ask questions. Though an official interview cannot be completed, a renter has the freedom to ask the landlord questions. A landlord is not obligated to answer these questions, but there are specific questions that, if a landlord refuses to answer, should cause you to question the landlord’s renting services. A landlord should be willing to answer questions such as:
    • Who should take care of the maintenance? If you are living in a home for a year, there are bound to be a few maintenance problems. A landlord who is slow to develop an answer on who is going to take care of the maintenance is a landlord that should be questioned. A landlord who quickly answers, replying that himself/herself or a company will take care of the maintenance is a good sign. It means the landlord is prepared and ready for the first maintenance problem you have. Make sure there is a written agreement on who, you or the landlord, is going to pay for and take care of the different types of maintenance problems that could potentially occur. Are you, the renter, responsible to take care of the air conditioner or the windowpanes if they break? Find out what your and the landlord’s responsibilities are going to be, then have them written down and signed.
    • How long did the last renters live there? You will want to know some information on the last renters. Knowing how long a renter stays in a place can help you know whether the last renters enjoyed living in that apartment or house. If the histories of renters only stay in that rental for one year at a time, the home may not be a good place to settle down for a couple of years. If the previous renters stayed in the home for an even shorter period of time than a year, the renter should provide you with the reason he or she left if it has nothing to do with the rental (i.e. job, financial, family problems, etc.).
    • What kind of neighborhood is this rental located in? If a landlord really cares for his property, he or she is going to have some information on the neighborhood that the rental is located in. A landlord who does not know the area is a landlord who does not care deeply about his property. A landlord should have at least a little information regarding other people living in the area, restaurants, parks, traffic, and more. If the rental is an apartment connected to another apartment, be sure to be asking questions about your neighbors. Do they have children? If so, what ages? Do they have pets? A screaming child at six in the morning or continually having to deal with the neighbor’s dog’s litter could be a breaking point for some renters.
  3. Talk to the neighbors. Just like the landlord should have some information on the neighbors, the neighbors may have some information on the landlord. The neighbor is going to know whether the landlord seems friendly and responsible. If the landlord greets the neighbors on a regular basis with cordiality: smiling, asking how they are, petting their dog, then the prospective renter is going to know that the landlord is at least a nice person. Then, if the neighbors see the landlord going to check on the rental on a regular basis, that can be a good sign of a responsible landlord. If the neighbor has any complaints, take those as red flags. Any lack of care for the building or less than well-mannered behavior is going to make it difficult for you to enjoy the rental. In addition to talking to the neighbors about the landlord, make sure to discuss the property as well. Do they remember the past renters having any specific complaints or problems with that particular property?
  4. Complete an online search of the property and landlord. There are multiple websites available that provide information and reviews on landlords and their properties. The information that a prospective renter finds online should not be considered fact or true for all people. There are cases where the reviews are fake. And there are situations where there may be one renter who exaggerates or hyper emotionalizes their experience. Why should you still look online for information? Because if you read the reviews with a grain of salt there is helpful information to be found. Look for complaints or compliments that are listed by several individuals. If you find a compliment or complaint seen in a series of reviews, that specific characteristic is something to be very aware of when looking at the property and meeting the landlord. Then try to test out whether or not that complaint or compliment is actually true.

 

Signing a lease for a rental for a year seems like a short time when considered with the perspective of one’s lifetime. But having a year lease with a landlord that is difficult to work with is going to make that one year last far longer than it should. Take the time to make sure that you have a good landlord, who is going to treat you well and take care of the property.

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