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The easiest and most cost-effective way to pay rent is to use our Resident Portal. Schedule one-time or recurring rent payments via ACH (eCheck) at no cost (FREE).
To submit maintenance requests, please use our Resident Portal. First, take a few pictures with your cell phone of the problem you are reporting and attach them to your maintenance request.
Renter’s Insurance is required. You can use our Master Liability Police at a cost of $12.50/m. Or you can obtain Renters Insurance from an insurance company of your choice, e.g., State Farm Insurance.
For your convenience, this link will take you to a list of some utility companies where you can find phone numbers and website links. Please let us know if you do not see the utility company you need.
Read Your Lease
It sounds so simple, yet few tenants actually do it.
Read your lease cover to cover before you sign. Signing a lease isn’t like checking a “I read the terms and conditions, blah blah blah” box on a website. Your lease contains rules that affect your day-to-day life, such as how many people can live in your apartment, whether pets are allowed, and how many nights a month you can have guests over. You need to know exactly what the rules are. Who’s responsible for changing the air filter? Shoveling snow off the sidewalk? For mowing the lawn? Your lease should spell out each party’s responsibilities. Reading the lease will also help you identify potential problems before they arise. Most good landlords will work with you on the terms of the lease if you have questions or concerns.
If you know you have a special circumstance, such as a family member or friend who visits regularly, tell the landlord in advance. If the landlord makes a verbal agreement with you, such as promising to take care of the lawn, make sure they put it in writing in the lease. Then ask for a copy of the lease for yourself as soon as you sign it. A well-written lease will help you avoid any tenant’s rights issues after you’ve signed and committed.
Finally, make sure the lease includes a move-in/move-out condition form. You and the landlord or property manager should walk through the property together before you move in and document the exact condition with photos. After you move out, repeat the process, referring to the original form and photos, so you have documentation of exactly what damage existed before you moved out. This can help you get as much of your deposit back as possible.
Treat Your Rental Like You Own It
Taking good care of your rental paves the way for friendly relations and more flexibility from your landlord.
Landlords are often receptive to tenant requests for property modifications and updates if they add value to the property or significantly extend your tenancy. Landlords who know you take good care of the property are much more likely to approve these requests. You can even offer to do the work yourself and make home improvements without breaking your lease. Treating the property well will also ensure that you get your deposit back when it is time to move. While normal wear and tear is to be expected in rental units, avoid causing significant damage to the property.
Pay Your Rent on Time
Nothing makes a landlord happier than a renter who pays on time every month.
Before you sign the lease, make sure you can actually afford the rent – not just in a “normal” month, but also in your tougher months, when you have large annual insurance payments due, huge holiday shopping bills, or unexpected medical bills. Use a rent affordability calculator to run the numbers.
Pay your rent online, or make sure you have the check in the mail a few days before it’s due to avoid postal or bank delays. You might even get some brownie points for paying a few days early. Landlords can increasingly report rent payments to the credit bureaus, which can hurt your credit score if you miss a payment.
Buy Renters Insurance
Even if your landlord doesn’t require it, you and they’ll sleep easier at night knowing you have your own coverage.
Many leases require tenants to buy renters insurance.. Renters insurance gives you an easier way than suing the landlord to recover money for damaged or stolen items. If a roof leak ruins your TV and you have renters insurance, you can file an insurance claim instead of considering small claims court. Also, all tenants should have renter’s insurance, regardless of how the landlord feels about it. Find out how much renters insurance you need and why it’s important to have coverage.
Get Permission Before Bringing in a New Pet
Landlords don’t like pets because they cause greater wear and tear and add a greater risk of damage.
It’s not personal, and it’s not because they hate animals. If your lease prohibits pets, call your landlord to negotiate an exception, just as you would for any other change in the lease. If your landlord still refuses, you can offer to pay an additional security deposit, a small monthly pet fee, or a one-time non-refundable pet fee. Get permission in writing, in the form of a lease addendum, so there are no misunderstandings later about the pet’s right to live in the property.
If your landlord absolutely, positively won’t budge and you’re determined to adopt a dog or other pet, then when your lease comes up for renewal, give your landlord notice that you’re not renewing and find a pet-friendly rental for your next home. What you should never do is sneak a pet into your rental unit. Besides the fact that it’s dishonest, your landlord will find out sooner or later. If they discover that you’ve violated the terms of your lease, they’re far more likely to file for eviction, fail to renew your lease, or dramatically raise your rent when it comes time to renew.
Don’t Break the Lease
Most renters think of breaking a lease in terms of major violations like not paying the rent, cutting out early, or subletting without permission.
But even “minor” lease terms count. That’s another reason why you need to know what’s in that legally binding lease you signed. While a landlord can technically evict a tenant for breaking any term of a lease, most landlords are reluctant to evict because it’s time-consuming and expensive. However, the more you abide by your lease, the better chance you have of living peacefully with your landlord. If there’s a clause in your lease that you want to change, pick up the phone and call your landlord. Talk it over with him/her and remember that you have a business relationship and everything is negotiable.
No one is immune to financial hardship, so if you know you may have to pay late for a month, let your landlord know as soon as possible. If you’ve paid on time before, you’ve established a track record of reliability and trustworthiness, so your landlord knows he can count on you to pay. This extra flexibility when you need it is all the more reason to build a good relationship with your landlord from the start.
The line between “normal wear and tear” and “damage” is blurry, but generally speaking, damage is caused by a single incident (such as a red wine spill on the carpet), while normal wear and tear is gradual (such as a slight discoloration on the carpet where there’s the most foot traffic). Expect the cost of the damage to come out of your security deposit – a surefire recipe for annoying your landlord. And if the damage you cause is more than your security deposit, you’re legally liable for it.
Keep Your Unit Clean
Nothing raises landlords’ hackles faster than walking into a rental property to find it filthy.
Most rental properties are worth at least hundreds of thousands of dollars, so finding such a valuable asset mismanaged is cause for alarm. Follow a simple weekly cleaning checklist to keep your home tidy and your landlord happy. Do a more thorough spring cleaning once a year to get rid of the dirt and clutter that inevitably builds up over time. If you have pets, make an extra effort to keep your unit clean, especially when you’re expecting the landlord to visit. Pet owners often become desensitized to pet smells, but your landlord will notice them. If your landlord finds your unit in a clean condition, he will trust you more. And more trust equals more bargaining power when it comes time to renew your lease.
Get to Know Your Neighbors
Meeting prospective neighbors is a great way to learn more about both the neighborhood when finding a new apartment to rent.
After you move in, knowing your neighbors can have additional benefits. For example, if you or your dog are unusually loud one day, a neighbor who knows and likes you will politely ask you to keep it down. A neighbor who doesn’t know or like you is more likely to complain to the landlord. Despite your best efforts, sooner or later everyone does something to annoy the neighbors. Small problems like this can seem like a much bigger deal by the time they are escalated to the landlord. Avoid this altogether and give your neighbors your cell phone number so they can contact you instead.
Knowing your neighbors can also help you look out for each other. If you have to leave town for an extended period of time, your neighbors are likely to keep a better eye on your unit if they know you. Friendly neighbors also do small favors for each other, such as signing for UPS packages.
Let the Landlord Know About Maintenance Problems Immediately
Yes, landlords hate getting bad news about expensive repairs. Who wouldn’t?
But experienced landlords budget for them and know they’re a reality of owning real estate. They also know that regular home maintenance helps keep any property in better condition and increases its value. Many property problems get worse if left unchecked. A small roof leak can quickly worsen, causing damage to drywall and flooring, and even creating a mold problem. Tenants are often the bearers of bad news to their landlords. It’s part of the relationship, and good leases make it the tenant’s legal responsibility to notify the landlord immediately of any maintenance issues.
Don’t Hassle the Landlord About Small Staff
A roof leak? The landlord needs to know right now. A burnt-out lightbulb? Go to the store and buy a bulb.
I hear landlords complain all the time about tenants who keep calling them about the smallest things. They call because the smoke detector has no batteries, or because they clogged the toilet and didn’t even try to plunge it. Adults know how to change a light bulb or batteries and how to use a plunger. You want your landlord to treat you like a responsible adult, so don’t give them any reason to think you’re not.
Put Felt Pads on All Furniture Feet
Flooring is expensive, and it scratches and tears easily.
One of the things that homeowners think about, but renters often don’t, is protecting the floor from their furniture. For the cost of a few dollars for a pack of adhesive felt pads and five minutes of sticking them to the bottom of furniture feet, you can protect your unit’s floors from scratches – scratches that could otherwise come out of your security deposit.
Leave the Property in the Same State in Which You Found It
As a landlord, when I walk into a newly vacated rental unit and find the tenants have left it dirty, it makes me cynical about humanity.
I know it wasn’t dirty when they moved in, but some tenants just don’t respect other people’s time or property enough to leave their apartment in the same condition they found it. These tenants often find the cost of cleaning the apartment deducted from their security deposit. And guess how the landlord will respond when future landlords call to ask about the tenant’s housing history? Be respectful and clean the property after you’ve moved your belongings. Hire a cleaning service if you don’t want to do it yourself. Your landlord will notice, and they’ll be more likely to overlook a small hole in the wall when deciding how much of your security deposit to refund.
Utility Companies and Online Resources
The following directory provides information about utility companies and other resources often needed to arrange a smooth transition from one property to another. Let us know if you need any help: