As a follow up of our last monthly blog post Tips for being a great landlord in Seattle here is the opposite end of the spectrum :)
Every Seattle landlord wishes for high-quality renters. Hence, they take every prospective applicant through thorough tenant screening procedures to determine the perfect fit. Prospecting tenants should do all they can to impress the property owners by excelling past the selection process and becoming great tenants. If you are a renter, the following are exciting tips on how you can be a great tenant in Seattle.
When renting property, you will have to provide personal information about yourself. Such may include credit history, employment background, income status, criminal history, as well as past tenancy records. Even though you wish to provide a positive impression, it is in your best interest for you to provide truthful and factual information. After all, your landlord will further investigate you, to determine whether or not you meet the criteria. Moreover, even if you manage to get through the screening using falsified records, eventually the truth will come out, leaving you in an embarrassing situation.
Go through the lease agreement
Every prudent landlord has a well-crafted lease agreement, which tenants must sign before moving into the house. Bearing
in mind that the agreement is legally binding, and will be a major determinant of the tenancy relationship, it is critical that a renter understands what the clauses therein state. Take your time and scrutinize each and every clause in the contract and make sure you not only know them but that you are willing to abide by them as well. If the agreement has provisions that are unclear or make you uncomfortable, seek clarification. Only sign a rental lease whose terms you fully understand.
Be conversant with the Seattle rental laws
A novel way of being a great tenant is to understand the local landlord-tenant statutes. Such familiarization will inform you of your rights, limits, and duties. Furthermore, it will protect both you and your landlord from contravening the law. For instance, knowledge of the 'Just Cause' legislation enlightens a tenant of what can warrant an eviction. As a result, the tenant can do all in his or her power to avoid violating those acts. It is worth noting also that the State of Washington does not have rent controls, which means a property owner can increase the rent as he or she deems fit. However, many municipalities govern the amount of a rent increase in a specified time period.
Pay rent promptly
A primary source of disagreements between tenants and landlords is late or unpaid rent. For this reason, if you wish to be a great Seattle renter, be sure to pay your rent promptly, using the allowable methods on the lease agreement. A brilliant trick is to prioritize your rent expenses above all the other expenditures that you might have.
Maintain respectful interaction with the landlord or agent
Throughout the tenancy period, make an effort to preserve constant communication with the property owner or management company. Such communication helps to form a personable, yet professional relationship. However, try and limit the interactions to a need-to basis. For instance when the landlord calls or pays you a visit, when you wish to send seasonal greetings, or when you want to air your concerns on relevant matters. In all of these interactions, make sure to use courteous, professional language and follow the proper communication procedures.
Keep all documents safe
When you enter into a Seattle lease agreement, make it a habit of safeguarding all documents relating to the tenancy. These include the rental contract, records of the condition of the property when you moved in, rent payment receipts, bill payments, as well as payment vouchers for repairs and maintenance services. Likewise, if there are any new agreements which you and the landlord enter into, but are not in the lease contract, make sure you have them in writing.
Take good care of the property
Once you move into the property, you assume full responsibility for it throughout the lease. For this reason, handle the asset with great care, like you would your own. Do not damage or misuse it. By so doing, you will ensure a mutually beneficial landlord-tenant relationship, and also minimize the cost and frequency of carrying out maintenance services. Be sure to familiarize yourself with how to operate the appliances and any other functional items in the home.
Notify the owner of your plan to move out or terminate the lease in good time
When you enter into a Seattle rental agreement, the assumption is that you will occupy the property to the end of the lease period. However, nothing bars a tenant from terminating the contract before its maturity. Nonetheless, as a sign of good faith, it is only fair for you to inform the landlord of your intention well in advance, so that he or she can follow through to ensure a flawless and friendly lease termination. Besides, bearing in mind that in the future you might require favorable referrals from previous landlords, it is in your favor to end the agreement well.
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