To be, or not to be the perfect tenant….that is the question. Why would someone want to be a perfect tenant? Well, other than the obvious, I think that the majority of tenants that are living in rental homes want to own at some point. This is not to say that apartment dwellers don’t want to own, they do. But for the sake of this article we’re going to focus on rental houses.
So what is a perfect tenant? A perfect tenant is a tenant that pays their rent each month on time, maintains the property well, reports any repair items quickly to minimize further damages, gets along with the neighbors, and finally, a perfect tenant, leaves thier rental home in excellent condition when their lease ends.
Short but sweet. It really is that simple. Now here’s where it gets complicated….or not. Whywould anyone want to be a perfect tenant beyond paying their rent on time? Well for starters, when you pay your rent on time it saves you a ton of money. No one wants to pay late fees. It’s a penalty that is a waste of good money for a tenant and can add up over time. Late fees are like speeding ticket fines; very painful, very expensive and nothing to show for it once paid. But late fees are meant to be painful, in the hopes that the tenant wont pay late again, thus saving them money. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather save that $50 – $100 dollars. If I’m going to throw it away, I’d rather throw it away on that gorgeous pair of shoes I’ve been eyeing online. I know sometimes it can’t be helped, but careful planning and budgeting before leasing a home will help minimize these wasteful fees.
Another benefit of being a perfect tenant is minimization of stress levels. OK, so your dog/kid/job/etc will probably continue to stress you out but your home should be your sanctuary, and living in a home free of worry. Most tenants neglect to report such things as repair items because they are afraid to call the landlord when they’re late on the rent, or worse, can’t pay the rent at all, and that’s just plain stressful. If you’ve lost your job it’s better to make arrangements to minimize the stress of having to find another job while avoiding the landlord. Moving in with family is an option, but many hate to move in with family, and would rather lose a limb before doing it. It’s trading one stress for another, but in this case, you know it’s going to be short term, just as long as you can find another job. But what if you don’t have another family member to move in with….or would really prefer to lose a limb instead? Then quickly, make an arrangement with the landlord, explain your situation and down grade your rental to something you can afford. Your landlord may even be willing to work with you by lowering your rent for a certain time period, giving you time to get back on your feet.
And a landlord working with you is also a benefit of being a perfect tenant. Do the math, a bird in the hand….If you’ve been paying your rent on time for years and all of a sudden you have a hickup, don’t you think your landlord would be willing to work something out with you? Probably. What if you’ve been a tenant that’s been late repeatedly, do you think the landlord will still be willing to work with you then? Probably not. They may decide to take their chances and get a new tenant.
And finally, when you’re ready to buy, you’ll get a positive verification of rent if you’ve been a perfect tenant and paid your rent on time. That’s got to be worth something....................................................................................................................................................
Andrea Davis is a real estate broker with 16 years experience working in the Atlanta real estate market, specializing in residential rentals and property management, residential sales and short sales. Andrea is passionate about educating buyers, sellers and renters throughout their home acquisition process and maintains blogs at Georgia Homes For Rent, $100 Down Foreclosure, and her company site CHRAtlanta. Andrea firmly believes in the power of education and lives by the motto "knowledge is power". Andrea's goal with this blog is to help Landlords and Tenants alike navigate through the rental home process to get the best from your rental home.