Come & Knock On Our Door: Everything You Should Know About Your Landlord
Well. We suppose you don’t have to love them. It actually might be a little awkward if you did.
Landlords, love them, loathe them, or otherwise, are a fact of life when you’re renting an apartment in New York (or anywhere else, for that matter). So knowing how to deal with them and to keep the peace will make life entirely more pleasant for everyone: you, them, the other tenants, your friends, their friends, and so on. Kumbaya.
We all have in our minds images of crazed landlords, like Mr. Roper on Three’s Company. He was the extreme of the extreme. Most landlords aren’t like that at all (and that’s a very good thing). They’re happy to have you in their homes, they want you to be happy to be there.
When you’ve found a new place to live and are ready to go all in, here are some things you should think about, so you and your landlord can live in a state of sunshine and rainbows (or a reasonable facsimile thereof).
Make sure you read the lease. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t do this. Read it all the way through, boring as it may seem. You don’t want any surprises down the road, and it’s best to know what’s expected of you as a tenant. READ IT.
It’s the landlord’s job to make sure your home is safe, peaceful, and clean. That’s their responsibility to you, and it’s reasonable for you to expect those conditions (within reason, of course). If your appliances malfunction or if there’s something wrong with your plumbing, heating, or something else, your landlord should fix it, and they should fix it promptly. You can easily find out about your building’s history and what the environment is like by downloading a Revaluate Livability Report (a smart thing to do before you sign on the dotted line!)
Your security deposit is for repairs and cleaning after you move out. It is not your last month’s rent. This is important. When you put down a security deposit at the start of your lease, you’re setting aside money in case you do damage to the home or if, when you move out, you leave the place an utter mess (people do this, strangely). The security deposit is held to cover those fees if they’re necessary. If you keep your place in good shape and clean it up when you leave, you’ll probably get all (or most) of your deposit back. If you take off and expect your security deposit to serve as your last month’s rent, you’ll be in a heap of trouble, which could include lawsuits, fees, and all sorts of unholy mess. Don’t do it.
Just because you’re allowed to have pets, don’t think you don’t have to mind them. Lots of buildings allow pets now (which is awesome), but make sure your furry friends aren’t “marking their territory,” so to speak, all over your apartment. YOU certainly wouldn’t do this, so don’t let your pets do it either. The smell from cat pee or otherwise is nearly impossible to get out of carpet or flooring, so if it happens enough, your landlord is gonna have to replace the carpet in your place altogether (see “security deposit” above), and nobody wants that.
You’re living in their home. Don’t forget that. You might live there, but they own it. While they’re generally required to give notice, remember that they have the keys and have access to your home. Always. They might need to show the apartment to prospective tenants, enter in order to fix something, or any number of other things. So don’t get all in a huff if they have to enter (they really don’t need your permission).
Most landlords are not slumlord freaks of nature. These are people who have invested money in a home or building and they are stoked to have people living on their property. Get to know your building. Download your Revaluate Livability Report. Pay your rent on time, follow the rules, avoid late fees when you can. Do this stuff and yours will be a world of glitter, unicorns, and whirled peas.