There is no single way to describe landlords. While they are into the same business, like leasing condo spaces, their approaches are unique. No two landlords are ever the same, and if you’ve spent your whole adult life on rented properties, you know exactly what that means.
That is the beauty, or the curse, of being a tenant. There are different types of landlords you have to deal with, and it could either be an enriching or a distressing experience. Either way, you have to know how to deal with them, and you have to work towards smoothing out the landlord-tenant relationship for your own sake. Remember that you are the other half of the whole equation, and you are most likely to benefit the most if the relationship is a healthy and friendly one.
So, which of these is your landlord?
Missing in Action
Has your landlord gone totally MIA on you? Was the day of your contract signing the first and last day you’ve ever seen him or her?
For some tenants, this could be a good thing. After all, you want to feel like you have some sense of control over your own space. But a landlord that is MIA all the time, much like a ghost landlord, is not always a good thing. There are issues and concerns that you would like to thresh out every now and then.
What to do: Get his attention by sending him messages and emails. You can also ask property managers for help in reaching out to him. If there’s a problem involving the unit, you can send him pictures along with a note. Withholding or delaying rental payments will obviously merit his attention, but that may not be the best way to go.
Excuse me? Are we friends?
On the other end of the spectrum is a landlord that is too friendly that it hurts. You know that landlord who just knocks on your door and then chats away? That landlord who asks personal questions and just way too comfortable that you are thinking of having a spare room just for him? These landlords can get on your nerves sometimes. That is probably their idea of making you feel at home, but you are not always in the mood for friendly banter and you’d rather just shut everyone out, right?
What to do: Make it a point to set limits especially with visits. Tell them that while you think visits are generally okay, there are days when you might not be available, such as work weeks. Make it clear to them that you are busy. It would also help to set schedules. Giving a number where they can contact you, rather than visiting you, is also an option.
All about the paperwork
Leasing is business. And landlords do take that seriously. Managing a business also means managing piles of paperwork, like contracts and receipts on top of each other. This is not really bad, in fact, it should do both parties — landlords and tenants — a favor. This documentation means protection. This contract and rental house rules for tenants also keeps the relationship a bit more professional.
What to do: One way to deal with landlords who are obsessed with paperwork is to make sure you follow the rules and the provisions of your contract. You can’t simply skirt your way around this type of landlord. Make sure you pay rent on time and keep your end of the deal. Remember that it’s a businessman you are dealing with.
The Control Freak
Oh, these types of landlords are not only annoying, they could also border on dangerous. You’d find their rules unreasonable and ridiculous most of the time. For example, landlords who will set a curfew on your visitors or limit the number of people you can invite at a house party. These are also landlords who sneak on you to check if you took out the trash, or would check with building staff if you’re home or not or if you have guests over. And of course, he is very clear on his no-late-payment policy on rent.
What to do: Any tenant would want some sense of control over his or her rented unit. S/He wants to be able to invite friends or family over. S/He wants to be able to live life on her/his terms. If you can, tell your landlord upfront that the rules are unreasonable and work on a middle ground. If the contract does not necessarily state those restrictions, you have to make that clear to your landlord. If s/he continues to freak you out with her/his senseless rules, do yourself a favor and move out.
The Spy Who Drives Me Crazy
Unless your landlord is James Bond or Jason Bourne, he/she has no business spying on you. The sneaky landlord who is always out in your hallway or seemed like he/she is waiting for you in the lobby all the time is easily one of the worst types of landlords. These landlords act like it is a coincidence they are in your hallway or your doorstep. Truth is, they are checking if you’ve been tidying up the house, having an extra person there regularly, cooking food with foul smell, listening to music past your bedtime, etc.
What to do: Again, these are landlords who won’t get your signals even if they’re too obvious. You can’t sweet talk them, too. You must talk to your landlord about it and make sure he/she understands that you don’t approve of such invasion to privacy.
Leader of the Rumor Mill
Landlords who love to gossip are no fun, especially if they consistently gossip about their tenants. These are landlords who talk about your dating life, your line of work, your payment history, the food you like, etc. to other people as if he or she is hosting Entertainment Tonight.
What to do: Do your best to secure your privacy. Lock your doors and close the shutters, if you must. Find another place to meet up with friends. And don’t answer her personal questions and make it perfectly clear that you don’t want to talk about them.
Your Second Parent
The leasing business is a personal business. It is, after all, welcoming some stranger to live in your house. And therefore, there are landlords who like to give personal touches, and would like their tenants to be like an extension of their family. These landlords make sure that everything’s fine and that your needs are always covered. These landlords would not mind a one- or two-day slip on your payment. These landlords may even bring you home-cooked meals, or invite you to family gatherings.
What to do: Sweet, huh? Don’t abuse it. If they allow you to be late on payment once, don’t make it a habit. This landlord-tenant relationship is rare, so don’t ruin it. Always be respectful and go to at least one of those gatherings if you are invited. And please, take care of their home, for they trusted you with it.
Being a landlord makes them somewhat a jack of all trades. And one of their skills would be fixing things. These landlords have all the tools to fix your clogged sink, leaking pipes, busted bulbs, jammed locks, etc. Call them once and tell them what’s the problem, and soon enough they will be knocking at your door armed with a tool kit that will solve them all.
What to do: Don’t abuse your landlord’s willingness to help. Of course, it also saves them money on repairs, but if it is as easy as changing your bulbs, please don’t come calling like it is an emergency.
The Neat Freaks
Landlords are protective of their properties. That is acceptable. But being too obsessive-compulsive might be a little too much. As a tenant, you have a responsibility to make sure that the condo space is maintained well. But unfortunately, there are landlords who are simply neat freaks. They are the type who would run their fingers on the windows to make sure they are not collecting dust.
What to do: It is always a good thing to keep your place spotless. But a neat freak can drive you crazy. So you have to send the message that you are doing everything you can to keep the place clean and orderly. Your standards may be a bit different, but drive home the point that you are completely fine with your place and that you appreciate your landlord’s concern.
The Leasing Pro
This is probably the type of landlord you could hope for. The friendly and thoughtful ones may be a long shot, but you certainly could appreciate a landlord who is a pro. This type of landlord is all about business. He collects rent, lays down his rules or even keeps your suggestions, attends to repairs, not MIA but not annoyingly sneaky or friendly either. In short, s/he has mastered to strike a balance.
What to do: Keep it professional, too. Don’t be late on payments, don’t ask too many favors, and obey the rules. If you keep your end of the bargain, your landlord-tenant relationship will be one to emulate.
Landlords play a vital role in making sure that you get to enjoy condo living to its optimum. For who would care about the lovely amenities if the landlord is acting all irrational and crazy? But, remember that a healthy relationship is a two-way street. In as much as there are different types of landlords you have to deal with, there are also different types of tenants that landlords must do business with. Be a good and responsible tenant, and leave your landlord with no choice but to act the same way.