How to Be a Great Tenant: Important Information for Prospective Renters

When you are looking to rent a new house or apartment, it is important that you understand what it means to be a good tenant and present yourself as such. There are many things that you should know before signing on any dotted line as a tenant. This article will give some tips for being a great tenant and making sure your landlord doesn’t regret having rented to you!

Read your lease carefully and understand it

It’s important to understand what your lease says before you sign it. Some things to consider are what the rent is, when and how often the landlord will ask for an inspection of the premises, if pets are allowed on the property at all or just in certain areas like a fenced backyard, the length of the lease, and what happens when it expires. Understanding all of the terms of the lease will help avoid disagreements in the future. If you don’t clearly understand what your rights and obligations are going into the agreement, you are setting yourself up for failure.

Pay rent on time

This is an easy one! If you don’t pay rent on time, or can’t afford to make the payment for some other reason in a timely manner, your landlord has grounds to evict, and even if they choose not to begin eviction proceedings immediately, you will not be considered a good tenant. Residents who are struggling to pay rent should be proactive about communicating with their landlord so they can work out a solution. Your landlord will likely be a lot more understanding you have a history of on-time payments and you are proactive in the event of a hiccup.

Be respectful of the property and neighbors

Of course, you want to take care of your home and not disturb the neighbors. The basics are simple: don’t be loud past a reasonable hour, keep the outside of your property looking nice, and don’t allow the property to be damaged.

Don’t make modifications to the property without permission from the landlord 

Generally, your lease will not allow you to make any modifications or additions to the property without specific permission from your landlord. If you make modifications without permission, you will be in violation of your lease and could have to pay to have the property put back like it was. For example, if you paint without permission, your landlord will likely charge you to paint the property the same color it was when you moved in. If you do want to make changes, discuss them with the landlord and point out how they can improve the value of the property. You can also offer to pay more rent or to sign a longer-term lease as an incentive for the landlord to allow you to make the modification. It’s still up to the landlord whether they will approve the changes or not.

Maintain a good relationship with your landlord by communicating any maintenance issues promptly

If there is something wrong with your property and you need to get it fixed, you should contact the landlord as soon as possible. If it’s something, such as a water leak, that could cause further damage to the property and you don’t report it, you may be held liable for any further damage caused. If it’s something that is annoying or just doesn’t work, you should still report it as soon as possible. Your landlord can’t fix something that they don’t know is broken! Your landlord likely wants to keep you happy and comfortable so that you will stay in the property for a long period of time.

Keep your place clean and tidy

It may seem obvious, but one of the most important things you can do to be a great tenant is to keep your place clean. There will always be some messes around the house or apartment and it’s impossible for anyone to live in perfect harmony with clutter-free spaces all the time. But if your landlord comes in to make repairs and sees a dirty place, it can be hard for them to trust that you will take care of the property and be a good long-term tenant.

Don’t Hassle the Landlord

Your landlord is likely a busy person, and while they may be willing to do favors here and there in order for you to feel more comfortable at home. You should never take advantage of them like this. It’s important that your relationship with the landlord stays beneficial rather than strained by constant requests for help. As stated above, you certainly need to make your landlord aware of any needed repairs, but some things take time. Once your landlord has acknowledged your request, give them a reasonable amount of time to make the repair before bringing it up again. Some repairs and maintenance will be your responsibility. For example, you are probably responsible for changing light bulbs so this is something you wouldn’t bother the landlord with.

Don’t Break or Violate the Lease

If you want to be a great tenant, it is essential that you do not break or violate the lease agreement in any way. It’s important that your landlord has trust and faith in you as an occupant of their property; if they think that there may be some risk involved with renting to you then this can lead them to deny your application. This is another reason it is important to read and understand your lease. You don’t want to unknowingly violate your lease and be labeled a bad tenant.

Ask Questions

If you have questions that come up before signing the lease or during your tenancy, don’t hesitate to ask! Your landlord would rather you ask questions than do something that causes problems between the two of you.

Communicate openly, directly, and honestly

Open and direct communication work best in business relationships. If you have a problem, talk to your landlord about it. You want your landlord to know that they can trust you and believe in you as an occupant of their property and good communication will help build that trust. Your tenancy is based on mutual respect and understanding and it’s impossible to have that without direct communication and honesty.

Give notice before moving out so the landlord can find a new tenant quickly

Giving your landlord as much notice as you can before moving out is a great way to show them that they are important to you and appreciate all the trust, energy, and time they have invested in building a relationship. Your landlord will appreciate you for this as well. If you work with your landlord and they are able to find their next tenant before you even move out, they are likely to be much more lenient on security deposit deductions as well. You might even ask your landlord if they will provide an incentive if you help them find their next tenant!

Leave the property as you found it

Finally, leave the property as you found it or better, ready for the next resident to move right in! This includes squeaky clean, everything in working order with no damages to walls, floors, ceilings, windowsills, etc. If you are aware of anything that will need to be fixed, working with your landlord to get them taken care of before you move out will be a huge help!


We hope that this article has provided you with some insight into what it takes to be a great tenant. If you are looking for a property to rent in Northwest Arkansas, check our available listings here! Good luck in your search for an apartment or rental home!

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