In a word ruled by urban legends and the occasional true story of bad experiences, it’s not surprising that the landlord/tenant relationship is seldom one made in heaven. Baxton Property Management in Hobart, which has 100 years of collective experience serving the interests of both its client owners and the tenants who occupy their rentals, has a good grasp on what landlords would like their tenants to know.
Where there’s Smoke there’s Sometimes Fire
Statistics show that one in three Hobart residents are tenants. And as the rental vacancy levels are very low, there are probably quite a few more on waiting lists to rent. With that many tenants in the Tasmanian capital alone, there is a good chance that some of these stories hold at least a measure of truth.
There probably have indeed been landlords who have ignored complaints or requests for repairs, and those who have crossed the line when it comes to tenants’ privacy. And others have taken an unreasonable stance on what tenants may or may not do while occupying their rental property. But most are simply running a business to get a return on their investment, or are in search of some extra income.
There have also been horror stories about tenants along the line. Stories about severe damage to property, tenants that skip town without notice, and a bigger number who pay their rent late, or not at all. Perhaps the tenant who occupied your rental before you moved in, was one of them. But you wouldn’t behave like that, would you?
What Landlords Want Tenants to Know
Landlords are people: They, like everyone else (including you), want to be shown respect. And that goes for respect for their property, their person and their personal time. While, sometimes, a landlord or property manager may turn out to not deserve it, that doesn’t apply to every rental property owner or landlord. Give them the benefit of the doubt, like they do when they give you the keys to their property.
Landlords do run background checks and speak to those you’ve cited as references, but they are still taking a leap of faith that you will pay your rent regularly and on time, and that you will treat their property well. You can also run background checks on prospective landlords, by speaking to previous tenants (or the neighbours). But there will still be an element of chance involved on your side, too.
There are terms and conditions attached to any deal. Landlords are no different from other service providers, whether it’s internet providers, energy companies or anyone else who provides something you need but will never own, in exchange for payment. And every contract you sign comes with terms and conditions, and guarantees. The same applies to rentals. Both the T and C’s and the guarantees are in the residential tenancy agreement you sign before you move in. These take the form of the legal rights and obligations of the landlord, and of the tenant.
Owners need to be informed. If something goes wrong with the property or services, landlords or their property managers need to know. Anything that affects the property, or your use of it, is important to you, but it is also vital to the owner or their managers. The property is a valuable asset to one, and a source of income to both, so they will do their best to fix it. But they also need you to be honest about the nature of the damage and what (or who) caused it, so they can organise the right repair. If you have used something incorrectly, jammed it or ignored the instructions, come clean on what’s caused the breakdown, blockage or break. Landlords have seen it all, so they will probably know when you’re painting the wrong picture of the event.
They’ve got a life. Although they need the information, owners are not always able to take a call. They may be on a plane, in an important meeting, or dealing with a problem for another tenant. And their ability to answer isn’t necessarily going to change because they are bombarded with calls. Especially if the issue turns out not to have been urgent.
They know you’ve got a life, too. As landlords are protective of their own privacy, most have no desire to invade yours beyond making routine inspections of the property to check its condition. Provided you are looking after the property, not causing a nuisance, and you pay your rent on time, the owner will be happy to leave you to your own devices.
However, when your life happenings affect your paying the rent on time, it’s different. Rent is at the core of the rental operation. Talk to your landlord or to the property manager. Unless this is their first rental, the landlord has probably seen many tenants with issues such as illness, retrenchment, a breakup or some other one of the many things that can disrupt your life and finances. And it’s in their best interests to help you find a solution. Getting a new tenant involves costs, a vacant property affects cash flow, and setting in motion a notice to vacate takes time and trouble.
It is often hard to keep the rental relationship between tenant and owner amicable. Baxton Property Management in Hobart, which manages $1billion in rental property for investors and private owners, has built a reputation for finding ways to balance the needs of both tenants and owners. For more information on their services, visit the Baxton website.
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