Do unto others as you would like done unto you. This is what the Bible says and is also a good maxim to live by. If you want people to be polite then be the same. If you would like to receive then give. It is as simple as that. That means that if you expect a good landlord, you should also be a good tenant. You cannot be the kind of tenant who pays rent late every month and still expect that your grievances will be given priority. That is not how the world works. Below are a few reminders in no particular order.
1. Pay on time
Rental houses are an investment. This means that the landlord expects money every month. If you do not pay or pay late then you inconvenience the landlord. This is why you should make sure that your income can support your rent while also leaving some money for savings. The rental agreement will usually indicate when your rent needs to be paid. This is most of what is required for you to be considered a good tenant. However, it is not enough.
2. Do not damage
Some tenants will leave a house in shambles. The sink will be clogged and so will the toilet. The tiles will be chipped in all sorts of ways. The sockets will be popped out of their respective places. There are accidents then there is blatant carelessness. You might pay your rent on time but if you are the kind of tenant who is always breaking things then expecting that the landlord should fix on his/her own dime then you should take stock of yourself. If you break something, at least offer to pay for half, if not all of it.
3. Be a good neighbor
Your neighbors will determine your experience at the house. Do not be the kind of neighbor that no one likes. Here is the thing; if you are ever in trouble those neighbors will be first in line to help you. If you are a snob or are constantly annoying everyone then no one will care about you or your property. Neighbors will constantly complain about you thereby causing the landlord headache. In some cases, this might get you evicted. If you are evicted for being a bother then word might get around and it will be hard for you to find a house nearby.
4. Respect Everyone
It costs nothing to respect people. This is regardless of their status in life. Give the caretaker, watchmen and any other people in the building their due respect. Whether you like a person or not does not matter. Be respectful. You do not have to chum up to them but do not look down on anyone.
5. Be Considerate
You want to play music but the next door neighbor has a new born who sleeps during the day. Is it really necessary to play it at full volume despite the fact that you pay rent? It is just common courtesy to be mindful of other people. You may be within your rights to do most things but then again it is not necessary if it aggravates the people who live around you. Reverse the situation, would you want someone blasting music at full volume after you have been working through the night? Or have a hangover?
6. Use of Utilities Appropriately
There are some buildings where utilities like water and electricity are shard and are therefore paid for in lump sum by the landlord. In this case, everyone should be careful not to be unnecessarily greedy. If there is water rationing and the caretaker asks that everyone only get 60L of water then do that.
7. Portray a Duty of safety
You owe everyone who lives in the building a duty of safety. That means that you have to turn off the gas before you leave the house. If you have a hot plate, leave it switched off. If there are children on the floor do not leave dangerous things lying around the floor. Do not let unsavory characters into the building. At times it may be inadvertent but then vigilance is required. Basically, do your part in keeping everyone safe and they will do the same for you.
If you have a problem, let the relevant party know. If you have a problem with your neighbor, talk to them calmly. If you think you will be late on the rent, talk to the caretaker or landlord. Life happens sometimes, no need to hide from it. If you want to move, give notice. Do not just up and do things without thinking about the impact. Communication is a big part of keeping relationships with neighbors and management cordial. Again, it will cost you nothing to be cordial. In fact, it will be beneficial for you.
9. Allow checks
Landlords like to check on their properties lest damages get to exorbitant levels. Therefore, if you are asked to allow the landlord or caretaker to inspect your house it is okay to oblige. This person is just trying to take care of their building. They are also trying to make sure the walls do not collapse around you while you sleep. It is okay though to tell the caretaker to come back at a more convenient time.
10. Be Clean
Have you ever lived in a rat infested building? It is creepy and disgusting. You are constantly anxious that a mouse will chew the tips of your fingers while you sleep. Those little things will chew off your entire finger and you will only realize it when you try to scratch your head in the morning. So, observe cleanliness. Do not leave garbage lying around the house Do not leave at the door either. The landlord should provide disposal avenues. If not, lobby to get them. Cleanliness is an important step to living a disease free life.
Do not expect that your landlord will care or be nice to you if you are a terrible tenant. Being a good tenant is really based on being a human being and common sense. Happy living!