finding the perfect landlord

Landlords screen tenants by asking them to fill out an application, conducting background checks, and looking up a credit report.

But can tenants screen their landlords?

It is, after all, a two-way relationship. It’s important to know whether you can rely on a landlord to help with repairs. Or if an emergency happens, you need to be able to get ahold of a landlord right away.

Having a positive relationship with your landlord can go a long way. If you’ve had a bad experience with a management company or landlord in the past, then you know how frustrating it can be.

Below are some tips that’ll assist you in finding the ideal landlord.

Gauge Their Trustworthiness

You need an honest landlord. An honest landlord is transparent about the condition of their rental property. They should be upfront about potential issues like cell phone reception, maintenance problems, and pest infestations.

Gauge the honesty of your landlord with these tips:

  • Ask questions about the apartment before you see it. Don’t waste your time if it’s a place you can’t see yourself living.
  • Schedule a viewing. The landlord should be on time,  if they show up late, that could be a bad sign.
  • Make sure everything the landlord told you about their property is accurate when you visit. Have a mental checklist when you look over the apartment and see if everything matches the description the landlord gave you on the phone. For example, if the landlord said the air conditioner works, turn it on while you’re there to make sure.
  • If something in the apartment does not fit the description, or if something they told you is inaccurate, it could be a sign that other things could be wrong in the apartment. You don’t want to find that out the hard way down the road.

Remember, it goes both ways. Landlords should also be able to trust their tenants, so it’s important to pay your rent on time, take care of the apartment, and be respectful to other tenants in the building.

Make Sure a Landlord Provides a Number  

It’s common for a landlord to prefer to communicate over email, especially if you find their property listed on craigslist. However, if you’re interested in moving to the property and schedule a time to meet and visit, make sure you get their phone number. Why is getting a phone number so important?

  • A landlord should always provide a phone number so you can ask more questions about the apartment before you decide to fill out an application. It’s also smart to have a number in case of an emergency.
  • If a landlord is not willing to provide a phone number or doesn’t return calls promptly, that’s a bad sign. If a landlord doesn’t offer a number or is horrible at returning calls, both are signs that they’re probably not going to be very reliable.

Find Someone Who is Punctual

We briefly mentioned this while discussing why it’s vital to gauge a landlord’s trustworthiness, but another way to tell if a landlord is good at their job is whether they are punctual.

  • When a landlord is on time, it’s a good sign they are professional and organized.
  • Whether they show up late or arrive on time will also tell you whether they’ll be there in the future when a repair comes up. Think about it: If the toilet or shower stops working, you’ll need someone you can count on to fix it in a timely manner.
  • If they don’t show up on time or take forever to repair something, they won’t be a reliable landlord.

It’s easy to be critical, but remember there are a lot of busy landlords. Sometimes it may be best to give them the benefit of the doubt. If they are late to show you around the place and they still strike you like someone you can count on, then they’ll likely apologize and provide a valid reason why they were late.

Use your best judgment and get a feel for their personality. You want to learn all that you can and feel comfortable both with the landlord and property before signing a contract.

Quiz Them About Their Tenants

Respect is important to have between a landlord and their tenant. A positive relationship will help the living arrangement go smoothly. To get a good sense of how the landlord feels about tenants, ask them a few questions like who lives next door and if the property is quiet.

If a landlord speaks poorly of other tenants, it could be a sign that they don’t respect them. If that’s the case, they may not respect you either.

See if They’re Friendly

Life won’t be fun if your landlord isn’t friendly. Having a nice landlord will make it easier to reach out to them if something goes wrong at your apartment.

Plus, having a good relationship with your landlord will help you if later you decide to move. You’ll need a good reference from your landlord. If you build good rapport now that’s a good sign they’ll recommend you to new landlord later.

To assess their attitude, you’ll initially get a good idea when you speak to them on the phone and later when you meet them to tour the apartment. If the landlord recommends nearby stores or restaurants, that’s a good sign they want you to feel welcome in your new home.

However, just because a landlord isn’t super outgoing doesn’t mean they’re not a nice person. It could just mean they’re an introvert. Everyone has a different personality,  just because you don’t hit it off right away doesn’t mean you can’t have a positive relationship in the future.

Make Sure They Ask Questions

When a landlord screens people to live at their apartment, they should ask the applicant questions. A few they might include are:

  • What do you do for a living?
  • What is your annual salary?
  • What is your rental history?
  • Do you have any references?

If a landlord doesn’t ask you any of these questions or doesn’t seem like they care, then you should be concerned. There’s no way a landlord can learn about a new tenant without asking questions.

Landlords see their properties as an investment and should want to rent to people who will take care of the place. If they don’t take the time to ask you questions, then they probably don’t care about their property or tenants.

Ask Other Tenants About the Landlord

One of the best things you can do to discover if a landlord is reliable is by asking other tenants. While visiting, introduce yourself to someone at the property. A few questions you might ask are:

  • Are you happy living here?
  • Does the landlord take good care of the property?
  • How often does the landlord raise the rent?

If you’re not comfortable asking specific questions, keep them general. You should be able to get a good sense of whether it’s a place you can see yourself living at or not.

It’s essential to have a great landlord if you want to have a positive living experience. Do your homework, not only by learning about the apartment and city, but taking the time to learn about your potential landlord.

Ask questions and use your best judgment to make sure the tenant-landlord relationship will be a healthy one.

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