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5 Ways to be a Responsible Renter
This post is sponsored by MetLife Auto & Home. All opinions and content expressed here are all my own.
Benjamin and I may be homeowners now, but we are no strangers to years of renting. I rented in college, and while I lived in LA and Phoenix (and that short time in Albuquerque I forgot about), it’s like your rite of passage to adulthood! While I enjoy owning a home because I can personalize it; truth be told, it can be expensive – this statement is coming from a homeowner and a landlord. When things break, it’s up to you to fix it – when you need a new roof, a new AC, you are responsible. Renting and homeownership have their perks, you just need to be very aware of what you can afford, in case those things happen, and where you are in life.
If you are renting because it makes sense right now, or you don’t have the desire for homeownership and those expenses, I raise my glass to you my friend and say yes, you enjoy it!
Here are some tips I’ve learned as a landlord and a renter with some of my personal stories. Cheers to being an awesome renter!
1 / Read your lease + HOA rules
Know when you need to pay your rent and when rent is considered late. Are you allowed to even keep visiting pets? Can you sublet, are you responsible for maintaining the landscape, you may have some property upkeep duties, know what they are.
There may also be HOA rules, if your property belongs to an HOA – so, parking on a certain side of the street, visible trash on the property, or even weeds may be out of bounds! You will be responsible for HOA penalty fees, if you break them, so know what those rules are to keep neighbors and your wallet happy.
2 / Change your air filter
There is an air filter for your AC and you should know where it is. Dare I admit that in college I had no idea of the existence of one, nor what it did, and never replaced an air filter during our three years of living there. I’m so ashamed, but I had no idea! So that’s why I’m telling you, just in case.
You should change your air filter every 1-3 months for allergies – it changes the air quality inside, and it helps your air conditioner run more efficiently, translating to a lower electric bill and keeping the AC running properly. Set a reminder on your calendar – I do it for our home. Know the size of your air filter and buy in bulk. There is also an on-line air filter subscription service that will send you a filter when it’s time to change.
3 / Have renters insurance
Be smart and protect your property from theft and accidents that result from covered causes (check your policy), and fire. Also, and I’m not an agent, but, generally, if guests got injured on the property, policies generally provide coverage from lawsuits and also medical expenses they may want you to pay for.
Insurance is just that, peace of mind and protection in case a disaster happens – but, hopefully will not. It will give you peace of mind for those things you cannot control! There’s lots of resources online, but I find MetLife Auto & Home (mydirect.metlife.com) to be simple and easy to understand. Renters can get quotes instantly without having to talk anyone and they can apply for insurance coverage immediately.
4 / Know temporary ways to personalize your space
If you’re not a fan of the vertical blinds and want to warm up your space, add curtains for warmth. Want more personality? Try temporary removable wallpaper – I’ve used it in one of our closets and laundry room! It can come right off when you move; your landlord won’t even know.
If you don’t like the tile in the bathroom, search tile wall stickers – you can replace the current tiles with designs, or make them a solid color. Also check if you can paint your walls, change cabinet knobs, or do any improvements. I’ve heard of landlords who will allow paint colors, as long as they are approved (we do this) and also any improvements, if the renter wants to absorb the upgrade cost. It never hurts to ask, but always ask for permission first if it’s semi-permanent.
5 / Communicate with your landlord
First, always pay your rent on time, or even early, especially if you are heading out of town. Second, don’t forget to stay in touch with your landlord about any potential repairs coming down the pike or extended travel where you may be absent or the property needs to be checked on. As soon as something breaks or is on the verge, let your landlord know as soon as possible.
Our renters have always been so wonderful with giving us a heads up if they think an appliance is acting strangely and are gracious when we try to get there as soon as we can with a repair person. Your flexibility to be there so someone can service the appliance or allow the landlord be there to help get it done makes repairs easier when things do break – and trust me even in our own home we experience the breakdown of appliances, it’s just the natural progression of the lifetime of an appliance.
Thank you MetLife Auto & Home for sponsoring this post.