How to Spot a Good Landlord

Finding an honest and considerate landlord is key to being happy in your new home.  A good landlord will ensure that everything is in order, will not nickel and dime you for typical landlord responsibilities, and will be there to help when any issues arise.  Before signing that lease, make sure you know a bit about your landlord and how he/she operates…once you’ve signed on the dotted line, the chances of backing out are slim. A great property with a difficult landlord may not be worth the hassle, while a less than ideal fit may be improved by the presence of a great landlord.  Make sure to keep this in mind throughout the whole process, and remain on the lookout for any red flags.  These tips for how to spot a good landlord will help you identify the characteristics you’d be wise to seek (and avoid) in future moves.

1. Honesty and transparency

How to Spot a Good Landlord

Having a landlord who is upfront and open with you from the outset is ideal.  While some of us are natural judges of character, others need a little help with decoding body language and social cues.  Learn to spot the signs of a liar and ask questions thoughtfully.  Asking the same question a couple of different ways can reveal inconsistencies while listening for an abundance of details can reveal a speaker who may be overcompensating.  While you hope to hear nothing but good news from a potential landlord, full disclosure of small issues are a sign of a trustworthy and transparent speaker.

2. Availability

How to Spot a Good Landlord

Pick a landlord who is easy to contact. You aren’t going to want to play phone tag for days when you have a problem with your apartment, so test your landlord’s responsiveness early on.  Inquire about the best way to reach them, then find a few reasons to reach out, taking note of response time, friendliness and helpfulness.

3. Flexibility

How to Spot a Good Landlord

A flexible landlord will be more understanding and more willing to work with you in the event that any issues arise.  It goes without saying that any landlord will expect you to follow any rules outlined in your lease, but it will be beneficial to have one that is willing to be lenient about minor issues or in the event of an emergency.  While flexibility can be beneficial for landlord and tenant alike, be aware that there is a difference between being flexible and being irresponsible.  A landlord should be comfortable being held to the same standards as the tenants.  As a tenant, don’t be shy about negotiating certain terms and adding landlord responsibilities to the lease.


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4. Skillfulness

How to Spot a Good Landlord

Whether your landlord is handy in his own right or has a trusty handyman on call, you deserve prompt and skillful solutions to household issues, as outlined in your lease.  Along with the actual repairs, make sure the landlord keeps you informed of any issues, renovations or improvements in your unit and common areas, planned or otherwise.

5. Trustworthiness 

How to Spot a Good Landlord

When renting a home, you and your landlord should have a trusting relationship with open communication.  He/She should be given reason to trust that you will pay rent on time and respect his property, but you must be able to trust them as well.  Be sure to outline ground rules with one another, and make sure both parties are clear about their expectations.  Because they own and manage the property, most rules are set by the landlord but that does not mean you shouldn’t make your thoughts and desires known.

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