Tips for Tenants: How to Take Care of Your Rental

Olivia Back

Being a great tenant is beneficial for both you and your landlord. Taking care of the property that you’re renting can save you money and help the landlord keep their home in great condition, even when they aren’t the ones living there.

Don’t Flush Baby Wipes

This is a very common mistake we see with our tenants. Even wipes that say they’re able to be flushed can do a lot of harm to the plumbing in the home. Baby wipes don’t break down, so instead of dissolving like toilet paper, it will clog the drains. Even if it does make it all the way through the pipes, it can become more of a problem as your pipes age. It also causes problems at water treatment plants.

Know What You Are Responsible For

Locking Yourself Out

We’ve all made the mistake of accidentally locking ourselves out. As frustrating as this can be, the cost for the locksmith is usually paid for by the tenant. This is something you need to be prepared for if it happens to you.

Internet Installation

Tenants often ask us for assistance with setting up their internet. However, landlords are not responsible for setting up your internet or helping with installation. This is something that will need to be handled directly with the provider.

HVAC Filters

Changing the HVAC filter on a regular basis is key to the health of the heating and air system. On average, you should put a new filter in every 6 months. You might want to consider changing it more frequently if the home is larger or you have pets.

If your smoke detector starts to beep, it likely means the battery needs to be changed. This is also a tenant responsibility. If your smoke detector is in a hard to reach space (i.e. tall and vaulted ceilings), reach out to your landlord for the best course of action.

Landscaping

Be sure to check your lease for your landscaping responsibilities. Some owners hire a gardener that will come weekly or monthly so the tenants don’t have to worry about it. Some will require that you maintain the landscaping yourself, whether it be making sure the sprinklers run regularly or watering plants.

Clean Regularly

One of the best things you can do for yourself and your rental is to clean regularly. This will help with the longevity of the home and its appliances. Cleaning the oven, microwave, and refrigerator are often overlooked but are common sources of a high cleaning bill after you move out.

Make sure you are properly ventilating your bathroom. Mold and mildew can grow easily in a humid room and cause damage to your shower and bathtub. It’s also important to know the difference between mold and mildew to properly address the situation. If you start to notice any minor microbial growth, you can review these home remedies. If you think you have a mold issue, contact your landlord ASAP.

Take care to clear any calcium buildup from faucets (shower and sinks). You can do this by mixing white vinegar with water and letting it soak for 30 minutes.

Note HOA Rules and Regulations

Living in a neighborhood with an HOA can be an adjustment for some tenants. HOAs typically have strict rules and regulations that must be followed. This can be anything from designated move in and move out days to what you’re allowed to have on your balcony. If you break one of these rules, even accidentally, there are hefty fines.

If you have questions or concerns about any of the HOA rules, it’s best to contact the HOA directly. Contacting your landlord or property manager will only prolong the process, as your landlord likely is not as familiar with the rules as the HOA themselves.

Garbage Disposals

Knowing how to reset your garbage disposal can save you and your landlord a lot of time. Many tenants often think a professional will need to come repair it, but in most cases it can be resolved with a simple reset.

If you turn it on and you don’t hear any noise, you’ll want to reset the breaker on the bottom of the disposal under your sink. There should be a button (often red) for this. If you turn it on and instead hear a humming sound, you’ll need to unjam it with a garbage disposal wrench. Make sure you turn off the unit prior to doing this.

Good Life has a short video on how to reset or unjam a garbage disposal.

Notify the Landlord of Big Issues

If there are major maintenance issues at the property, it’s best to let your landlord know as soon as possible. Big issues can turn into bigger issues if left unattended. Some tenants don’t want to bother their landlord with complaints, but typically the landlord will appreciate your concern for their home.

Keep Everything in Writing

Any correspondence with the landlord should be in writing. This makes it easier on both parties, especially in regards to lease renewals, roommate changes, and maintenance issues. This can also help you in the event of a landlord-tenant dispute, especially if it goes to court.

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