How to Be a Good Tenant?

As a tenant, it’s important to know your rights and responsibilities.

It can be difficult to know what you’re supposed to do as a tenant, and many landlords take advantage of this fact. 

Our guide will teach you everything you need to know about being a good tenant, from paying rent on time to taking care of the property. We’ll also provide tips on dealing with difficult landlords and getting the most out of your rental agreement.

1. Read Your Lease Agreement

Many landlords require their tenants to sign a lease agreement. This is a contract between you and the landlord, which outlines your responsibilities as a tenant.

You should always read a lease agreement carefully before signing it. If you don’t understand something or there’s something that doesn’t sound right, make sure you ask about it first! Ask the landlord to explain anything that you don’t understand.

Be sure to ask your landlord if there are any additional fees before signing the lease. These could include an application fee, pet deposit, or cleaning fee. You should never be charged for something after you’ve already signed a lease, so make sure this doesn’t happen!

See Also: Rental Laws and how they affect your Tenancy

2. Don’t Break the Lease Agreement

It’s important to follow through with what you agreed to in your lease. Breaking the terms of a lease agreement could result in consequences, such as eviction.

If you’re going to be late paying rent, make sure you contact your landlord first. Please don’t wait until the last minute and expect that everything will work out on its own.

Let your landlord know if you’re going away on a trip beforehand. This way, they won’t worry about the property being unattended.

Make sure you get post-dated cheques from your bank before paying rent. You don’t want to come up short when giving your landlord their payment! If at all under some circumstance you need to break the lease you may get guidance by reading our article on how to break lease without penalty.

3. Pay Your Rent on Time

One of the most important things you can do as a tenant is to pay your rent on time. Paying rent late will get you into trouble quickly, especially if it becomes a habit.

If you’re unable to make your rent, let your landlord know beforehand. In some areas, landlords understand that problems come up and may offer you a grace period.

If it seems like your landlord is constantly chasing down rent payments, you might want to consider renting from someone else. Not paying rent on time is an easy way to get evicted and should not be taken lightly! What you need to do on being Evicted is explained in our Article Things to know about Home Eviction.

4. Treat Your Rental Like You Own It

Taking care of your rental unit is crucial to being a good tenant. If you always return the property in the same condition that it was in when you moved in, your landlord will likely want to keep you around for a while!

Many things go into taking care of an apartment. Here are just a few:

  • Don’t let your pets damage the property. If you bring in a pet, be sure to inform your landlord before you move in.
  • Fix any damages that may occur due to normal wear and tear (no one is perfect!)
  • Don’t do anything illegal! Roommates sometimes get into trouble for things that their other roommates or houseguests do. This counts as breaking the lease agreement and will get you kicked out of your apartment.
  • Make sure that anything you bring into the apartment is clean and sanitary. If you smoke, properly dispose of cigarettes and ashes so that they don’t present a fire hazard.

5. Keep Your Unit Clean

Living in a rental unit can be unpleasant if it’s very dirty or cluttered. You should always try your best to keep your space clean and organized. If you notice that there are things that need to get fixed, such as damaged floorboards or faucets, let your landlord know right away! It might not be easy to find time to clean with your busy schedule, but you must avoid living in a cluttered space. If the unit is very dirty, try to get together with other tenants and do a once-over cleaning of the apartment before moving out. This way, the landlord won’t be left with an unclean rental unit after you move out!

A clean home is a healthy home! Ensure to dust the surfaces, vacuum the floors, and empty your garbage regularly. If you smoke or have pets inside the home, make sure to clean up after them regularly.

You need to treat the rental unit like it is your own home. Be considerate of other tenants living in your building, and make sure that everyone holds up their end of the lease! You wouldn’t want people smoking in your bedroom or using your kitchen sink as an ashtray, would you?

Also See: Giving Move Out Notice to Landlord

6. Get to Know Your Neighbors

Sometimes it can be difficult to get along with your neighbors. Depending on how close you are living to one another, things could become awkward. If you see some tension between yourself and other tenants, talk with the landlord about the issue. They might be able to offer advice on how best to resolve any problems you have.

If the issue persists, it might be best to find another rental unit if possible! Getting along with your neighbors can make or break a good living environment. If you don’t get along with some of your neighbors, try to do something nice for them once in a while to show that you are not completely unsociable! This good deed could turn things around and make your landlord happy.

7. Keep Your Landlord In the Loop

Your landlord is an important part of keeping a good, healthy environment for yourself and other tenants living in the building. If you want to be a good tenant, you should always keep them in the loop! Letting your landlord know when something in the apartment needs to get fixed will help them keep up on repairs and upkeep.

Always try your best to maintain good relations with your landlord. If you have problems paying rent, let them know before it is too late. If possible, work something out to not jeopardize your rental unit! Don’t be afraid to ask your landlord about the rules of the rental unit.

If you are planning on having houseguests or a party, make sure to talk with your landlord beforehand! If they say no, respect their decision. Don’t be rowdy when hosting guests in the building so that everyone can maintain a healthy environment during your stay.

8. Let the Landlord Know About Maintenance Problems at The Earliest

Letting your landlord know when maintenance problems arise in the rental unit is very important.

If you leave it up to them, then they might never get around to fixing that broken faucet or damaged floorboard! If you notice that something needs to be repaired immediately, contact them.

Make sure that everything is in writing. You want to give your landlord all of the information they might need if there is an issue with the rental unit. If you don’t document what happened, then your landlord will not be able to help you out!

9. Don’t Hassle the Landlord About Tiny Items

You rent a unit to live in it and not have to fix anything yourself. You might be upset about a broken cabinet lock, but don’t nag the landlord too much! If they are a good landlord, then they will address any issues with your apartment if they can.

If something is really important, then let the landlord know about it! Keeping them in the loop is always a good idea. If something happens that needs their immediate attention, let them know right away. However, if you notice something is broken or damaged but not imperative to your living situation, don’t bother letting them know.

10. Put Felt Pads on All Furniture Feet

You might not think it is such a big deal, but furniture feet sliding around on the floor can be very annoying. When you get new furniture for your rental unit, make sure to put felt pads on all of the furniture’s feet! This will keep them from sliding across the floor and making noise. You also need to keep your household items in mind.

If you have any glass tables or other glass furniture in the rental unit, make sure to put felt pads on their feet so that they don’t break!

11. Buy Renters Insurance

When you’re renting, it is important to have renters insurance. It will cover any damages to your rental unit or things stolen from the apartment! Keep in mind that you should also get renter’s insurance if you rent a room through Airbnb or similar websites.

Homeowners insurance does not cover property damage when it happens in a rental unit. Ensure that you are covered by renters insurance to keep yourself protected in case of emergencies.

12. Follow the Rental Unit’s Rules

You might be tempted to break a rule when renting, but don’t do it! If your landlord is good about enforcing the rental unit rules, they will come down on you quickly for breaking them. You want to make sure that you follow all of the rules enforced in the rental unit. If you break the rules, your landlord might consider not renewing your lease or evicting you!

13. Seek Permission Before Bringing in a New Pet

If you want to bring a new pet into your rental unit, then make sure that your landlord permits you first! It doesn’t matter if it is a goldfish, Goldendoodle, or iguana: you need to get permission from your landlord first before bringing any new pet into the rental unit.

Your landlord might not be the biggest fan of the idea, but do your best to convince them that a pet would make a great addition to the rental unit! If they don’t want a pet in the building, you will have to get rid of it or move into another pet-friendly unit.

See Also: Moving with Pets

14. Leave the Property in the Same State in Which You Found It

When you leave the rental unit, make sure that everything is in the exact same state as when you moved in! You want to avoid having problems getting your security deposit back by leaving the rental unit in great condition when you move out. Your landlord might not immediately check for damages after you move out, but they will keep track of them and expect to be reimbursed if they find any.

You should also notify your landlord when you vacate the apartment about when they can expect to receive the keys back. Leaving them with plenty of notice will help avoid miscommunications or problems between both parties!


Making sure that you are a good tenant will benefit both parties in the end. If you are a good tenant, your landlord will be happy with you and consider renewing your lease or giving you another chance if they had any problems before. Being a good tenant makes life easier for everyone involved, and it is much easier than having to deal with a bad tenant!

How to Deal with Difficult Landlords

If you struggle with a difficult landlord, the following steps will help you put your best foot forward.

1. Communicate Clearly

Make sure that you communicate clearly with your landlord about any issues in the rental unit or with your rent payments. If there is something wrong in the apartment, then make sure to let them know about it so that you can resolve the issue together.

2. Be Respectful

Even if your landlord is difficult, you should always be respectful in your interactions with them! You want to avoid making unprofessional or childish comments when speaking with your landlord. Try to stay calm and explain what is happening in a level-headed manner.

3. Be Patient with Your Landlord

Your landlord might not be used to dealing with difficult tenants, so you will need to be patient with them! Explain the issue again calmly if they don’t seem to understand it at first, and give them time to process what is happening.

4. Document Everything

You want to document any interactions with your landlord to prove them later on if needed! Take screenshots of any conversations, keep track of all communication in email, and keep records of everything related to the issue.

Also Read: What are the Rights and Obligations of Tenants and Landlords | Best Apartment Movers in the USA

Written by

Rostislav Shetman is the founder of 9Kilo Moving. He has been in the moving and relocation industry for more than 25 years, making him an expert in his field. Rostislav started as a helper, dispatcher and driver and has worked his way up to owning his own company. He takes great pride in his work and enjoys helping people relocate across the United States of America. When he's not working, Rostislav enjoys spending time with his family and friends. They are the light of his life and bring him happiness every day.