Renting a property can be a minefield, but when you've got landlord issues, things can really become a nightmare.
To have a successful tenancy period, you must foster a good relationship with your landlord. As part of this, making a good impression in your first tenancy month is vital.
Many people are unsure exactly what they can and cannot ask their landlord. Asking questions benefits both you and the landlord as not only can you suss each other out, but you can also get to know each other too. There are no laws against what you can ask, but here are some questions you might want to avoid if you want to make a good first impression.
1. Is there a grace period for my rent?
Asking questions like this before you've even moved into the property will immediately get you off on the wrong foot with your landlord, raising doubts in their mind about your suitability as a tenant and your availability to pay the bills.
Of course, you want to be able to foster an open and honest relationship with your landlord, and, as a result, issues with this type of question are generally about semantics and phrasing. Instead of phrasing it as a question about “grace periods”, instead it is wise to talk about late fees and asking specifically “when they take effect”. By doing this, the question is phrased more around the finer details of the contract rather than your own misfortunes and leeway.
2. Can you ask the neighbours to turn it down?
Neighbours can either be angels, non-existent friends or pains who prevent you from enjoying your tenancy. If you have noisy or nagging neighbours then it’s best to try and resolve the issue with them directly first; your landlord will certainly appreciate it. Only contact your landlord when you really need support, especially if they are violating a clause in your lease. Landlords like to see proactive tenants who aren't calling them out to help with their every whim and call.
Landlords can’t evict your neighbours straight away (if it’s their property), so it’s important to work with your landlord so that they’re not trying to solve the issue on their own if you’re the one that’s experiencing the problem. Instead of asking them simple questions like this, ensure that they’re your last resort.
3. When can we get a pet?
It’s best not to jump into this question straight away, especially if your lease states that you’re not allowed pets in the first place. Many landlords don’t allow pets because it reduces the marketability of their property in the future; especially because of the mess and damage they cause as well as any allergies they may provoke in prospective tenants.
After a few months when you've proven that you’re taking good care of the property you can re-approach the situation but be sure to remain open and honest with your landlord and use phrases like “we were thinking of” and “it would be great if” rather than the blunt “can we get a pet?”
4. Can my boyfriend move in?
Over the course of your tenancy, you may develop a relationship, or one may become far more serious than you’d originally thought. Of course, we all have boyfriends and girlfriends to stay over for the night, but there’s a marked difference between the odd night and a permanent tenant. If someone is going to be living with you, you must inform your landlord.
If you don’t inform them, you could void your tenancy or make sections of it invalid. Honesty is the best policy here, and the relationship between you and your landlord is all about trust. In an ideal world, it’s always best to wait until the end of your tenancy before changing living arrangements, but if you simply can’t wait, make sure you approach your landlord about it correctly and never keep secrets from them.
5. So, tell me everything about you...
Yes, it might be important to be open and honest with your landlord, but you need to ensure that you’re never intrusive. Before you move in it is highly likely that they’ll perform a background check on you, and you might want to find out a little bit about them as well.
Most of what you need to know, however, can be found on internet forums and discussion boards rather than asking them directly anyway. There’s no harm in trying to figure out (politely!) what they’re like before you move in so that you can prepare in advance for any difficulties that you might face with them, but just be wary about what types of questions you’re asking them directly.
So, there we have it, 5 questions you should avoid to ensure that you make a good first impression on your landlord at the start of your tenancy.