blue white checker top anthropology ripped jeans sitting on top of kitchen counter

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.

blue white checker top anthropology ripped jeans sitting on top of kitchen counter

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!

blue white checker top holding keys to home

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.

lease agreement

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.

changing air filter adjusting nest thermostat

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 ( 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.

on computer

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.

temporary wallpaper removable

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.

blue white checker on phone

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.

blue white checker top keys in yellow door of home

Thank you MetLife Auto & Home for sponsoring this post.

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive antique shopper. You can typically find her in her garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next epic party.


  • brianne

    These are such great tips! We rent our apartment and so know all about following the rules, much different than owning a house!

  • Sara Welch

    We rented for only a short time before we bought a house. We had wanted to go into our marriage owning a home and skip renting altogether, however, that didn’t work out. These are amazing tips for those still renting!

  • AnnMarie John

    I haven’t rented for a long time! But my daughter is currently living in a rented apartment right now and I should definitely have her read this. It’s good to have insurance especially since you’ll never know what can happen!

  • Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle

    The first and most important thing any renter should do is read their contract. You have to know what you’re getting into so you know if you can even do it!

  • Christie Cronan

    This is such great information! I was a very conscientious renter, but I had some friends who played it a little more fast and loose. Great info here!

  • Pam

    Being a good renter is so important. Even though you’re living there, it’s not your property so you have to treat it with respect.

  • Jennifer

    Being in the temporary housing industry, we see how important it is to have homeowner/renter/landlord insurance! When a loss happens, it costs thousands of dollars to repair. Not to mention in the case of natural disasters… very often the loss is the entire house! This is great information to have!


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