What To Look For in a Landlord
When landlords and property managers are looking to fill a vacancy, it’s standard practice to thoroughly vet prospective tenants. This process allows the landlord to ensure that whoever moves into their property is a good fit and won’t cause any trouble.
What you may not know, however, is that as a potential applicant, you should be screening your new landlord just as thoroughly. Landlords have a lot of influence over the properties they rent out, and unfortunately an awful landlord can make living in even the most idyllic property feel like a nightmare.
Here are some of the most important qualities to keep an eye out for in a good landlord.
They’re Willing to Communicate
Asking your potential landlord questions is a critical way to get the information you need to make your decision. When talking to a prospective landlord, pay close attention to how they respond to your questions and their overall demeanor.
It’s a good sign if the landlord seems patient and willing to answer all of your questions directly.
It’s a bad sign if they seem shifty, they beat around the bush, or if they act like you’re wasting their time. A good landlord will want to be sure their potential tenant is a good fit, which means taking the time to have a simple conversation.
In order to gauge your landlord’s communication style (and gather some critical info) consider asking them the following questions:
How much notice do you give before entering the property?
Do you know if there is any construction planned nearby?
How has rent varied over the years?
How long have you owned the property?
Are utilities included in the rent?
These are just a few questions you should ask to gauge what type of landlord they are and whether they can be trusted.
Other People Like Them
One of the best ways to find out if your potential landlord will be a good fit is by asking current tenants how they like them. This may not always be possible, but if you have the opportunity to do so, don’t pass it up.
You should also make sure to do your research online. Depending on where you live, you may be able to find reviews for the property and the management (aka the landlord), and these can shed light on any potential issues you may face.
Be sure you also look up the public records of your potential landlord online. These can tell you if they’ve been involved in any legal trouble.
They Ask You Questions
It can be a red flag if a landlord isn’t interested in learning much about you. After all, you’ll be moving onto their property and could pose a huge risk for them. Thoughtful landlords and property managers will ask questions to gauge your current situation and learn a bit about your personality.
Some questions they may ask you include things like:
What’s your employment status and history?
What’s your rental history?
How much do you earn each month?
Do you have a criminal record?
Can you provide references?
These questions are a good sign that the landlord cares about their property and are interested in finding a great fit.
They Seem Friendly
In a perfect world you would never be late on a rent payment, have an emergency, or have anything else go wrong, but sadly that’s not reality. Having a kind landlord who seems approachable and understanding can make tough situations easier.
We’re all human, and while you hopefully will never need to pay your rent late, communicating with a friendly landlord about your situation is a lot more appealing than with an unfriendly one.
They’re Punctual and Organized
Your landlord might be friendly, but are they organized and punctual? These are crucial qualities in a landlord, and they can shed light on what your relationship will look like if you end up moving in.
A punctual and organized landlord is far more likely to handle your repair requests, keep maintenance up to date, and get back to you in an appropriate timeframe than someone who shows up late to your very first meeting.
This is a business relationship above anything else, and you want to find a landlord who is competent, thorough, and organized.