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Understanding your landlord’s point of view
Understanding their point of view for less conflict and a better relationship
Sometimes it’s easy to give landlords a bad rap. Maybe you’ve had a bad experience in the past where your landlord was less than professional, neglected responsibilities, or flat out did something that was sketchy or illegal. We hope that’s not the case of course. The better you understand your landlord’s point of view, the better you can avoid hot buttons and conflict.
Get inside their head for a minute (we know this might be a bit uncomfortable). It will help you to improve your landlord-tenant relationship, and best of all — enjoy renting and living just a little more.
Your landlord’s point of view
1. Empty apartments or units
Just think about it. If an apartment sits empty for too long a time, the landlord isn’t collecting rent on that space. Rent is how your landlord makes money. When the unit sits open, they’re not bringing in any income to cover expenses. They may even be paying for advertising to fill said space which is costing them too.
2. High turnover rates
High turnover rates cause problems for landlords everywhere. Why? Because they’re losing money. Not only does a tenant leaving create a gap where rent isn’t being collected but expenses are still being accrued. To get inside your landlord’s head, you should know that tenant turnover can cost them as much as $1000-$5000 per unit by the time repairs, advertising the rental, routine cleaning, and prep for the new tenant are included. So, your landlord really wants to keep you if you pay on time and live to the rental lease agreement.
3. Late or no payments
Landlords depend on rent to keep their operation running smoothly. A large percentage of the rent payment actually cycles back into managing the property (see the table below). Late and especially missed payments jeopardize their ability to effectively keep up with their bills.
4. Unexpected repairs
While landlords can count on having to fix things from time to time, no one likes to wake up to a call at three in the morning about a burst pipe that’s gushing water all over. Why would it be any different for your landlord? When things break it costs time and money to fix them. And, it’s a hassle for both of you. It’s your right to request repairs and live in a safe and habitable unit of course.
5. Dealing with problems
The life of a landlord can be a stressful one. And while there are plenty of great renters (like you!) who pay on time, follow the rules, and don’t cause damage, there are some who will undoubtedly abuse the rental unit. Finding a dog despite a no pet policy, repeated noise complaints, and late payments are all situations landlords must deal with and decide whether or not they warrant eviction.
6. The eviction process
While this isn’t a fun situation for the renter, it’s a headache for the landlord as well. They must make tough judgment calls on whether or not to start the eviction process, make sure they are in compliance with all laws, and file paperwork to get the case in court.
Not only are there fees involved to file the paperwork, but it is also a time-consuming process. Once everything is settled, there’s a good chance they’re out more than a couple month’s worth of rent. The truth is, there are very few bad renters that intentionally violate rules repeatedly or cause damage. All things considered, your landlord would much rather keep you as a tenant if possible.
7. Not staying current with the law
In a world where laws change regularly, landlords must find time in their already busy, multi-hat roles to keep up to date with ever-evolving tenant-landlord laws for your state or city. Not knowing or fully complying with the law can be a costly mistake. As a renter, you want to take the time to understand your protections and renter rights. Landlords need to do the same.
How much of your rent does your landlord keep?
As you might have noticed, many of a landlord’s fears surround money or lack thereof. And for good reason. To understand your landlord’s point of view, you need to understand where the rent money goes. And, they don’t pocket nearly as much as you might expect, usually only around ten percent of what you pay in monthly rent.
Where does the rest of your rent payment go then, you might ask? The money you pay your landlord goes, in turn, to pay the mortgage on the building, insurance, repairs, utilities, and property taxes – which ultimately help fund community resources such as the local school district, police and fire departments, and road construction.
Odds are your landlord is not pocketing as much money as you think. In fact, it doesn’t take much for them to lose money on the rental each year. Here’s how your rent payment breaks out.
|How your rent payment is used||Mo||Year|
|Lease agreement – the rent you pay||$1,000||$12,000|
|Expenses like cleaning, advertising, repairs, insurance, property taxes, property management fees, etc.||$500||$6,000|
|Debt service – Mortgage and interest paid on the property||$333||$4,000|
|Profit or free cash flow for landlord||$167||$2,000|
Of course, they will eventually make money if the property increases in value, but it could be years before they see a penny of it.
Ways landlords minimize risk
Landlords know there are inherent risks involved with becoming a landlord. That’s why the best landlords know what to look for and what to do to keep their investment and livelihood safe. Successful landlords know the importance of doing these things:
- Selecting trustworthy tenants — and treating them well to keep them!
- Maintaining the property for quality and safety
- Being properly insured in preparation for disaster
Making your tenant-landlord relationship work
So, you just learned about your landlord’s point of view or perspective. Now you may be wondering how to keep the relationship with your landlord in good working order.
If this article hasn’t already made it abundantly clear, receiving rent is important to your landlord. So paying on time each month is truly key. And if you’re hit with some unexpected bills, and need a few extra days to scramble the cash together, keep the lines of communication open. If you are struggling to pay rent during COVID-19, then it’s even more important to work with your landlord. You are eligible to seek eviction protection by signing a declaration form as to your situation and a substantial loss of income on a form. Forms are available via the CDC website.
If you’re clear about your situation and have a history of on-time payments, your landlord will be more likely to cut you a break than if you are consistently struggling to make rent and or if you don’t bother to let them know. Other simple ways to stay in your landlord’s good graces include: knowing the terms of your lease and following it, treating your rental with respect, reporting major issues, and taking care of minor inconveniences like changing a light bulb yourself. All in all, a little common sense goes a long way!
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