It’s almost par of the course to have a few spats with your landlord in NYC. The issues can range from the major to the minor and if left unresolved the relationship can become irreparably damaged. The importance of a good relationship with your landlord should not be understated. Some bad blood between you and your landlord puts not just your security deposit at risk but also your reference letter for your next apartment. Respect is a two-way street. If you want a good business relationship with your landlord, you’re going to have to make some effort.
1. Pay the rent on time
Best to start with the most obvious one. Chances are your landlord has to make monthly mortgage payments on the property. If they can’t pay in time, they’ll be charged interest which is why making your payments on time is so important. When you sign a lease, you are entering into a trusted agreement just like any contract. Imagine this in perspective, how would you feel if your employer paid your salary late every month. Develop trust with your landlord by ensuring you pay your rent as close as possible to the 1st of the month.
2. Keep good communication open
Over time issues will pop up that will need to be addressed. If you want your landlord to respect you then show them respect by communicating any concerns or requests to them in a polite and non-demanding way. When there’s a problem, don’t berate them aggressively as they may be genuinely unaware of the problem until you tell them. Your lease will clearly state what you are and aren’t responsible for. Having good communications with your landlord will allow you to iron out any problems that are of common interest to both of you.
3. Provide access to the apartment when necessary
When it comes to rent-stabilized apartments, landlords sometimes have a problem with this. Tenants have good reason to be worried about construction harassment. But if it’s got to be done it’s got to be done. If the adjoining apartment has a mold problem that can only be dealt with by accessing your apartment, then you should be there to open the door and let the work continue. Just make sure you have good communication with your landlord so you can schedule visits at appropriate times for everyone.
4. Be reasonable and don’t pick petty fights
The policies and rules of your rental will be clearly laid out in your lease. Have respect for these and if something isn’t covered in the lease then double-check it with your landlord first. It’s fine to make minor alterations such as painting the walls or setting up shelving units. Just check your policies first before starting any DIY projects. Most landlords are very reasonable about accommodating small changes. The worst that can happen is that you’ll be denied permission or be asked to return the apartment to its original condition upon moving out. It’s better not to pick petty fights over small things. Preserving the relationship with your landlord should be the first priority.
5. Keep the apartment in good condition
On moving in it’s a good idea to take photos and document the original state of the apartment. This will prevent any issues being raised if there’s a dispute later about whether something was there before or after you moved in. When it’s time to move out, patch up any holes left from nails or other small changes made over your time there. It’s also a good idea to do a walk-through of the apartment with your landlord before departure so you can be sure you’re both on the same page.