Let’s be honest – no one is a saint… some of us less than others, but we all have our dirty little secrets. We keep them from our parents when we are little, then from friends and partners, colleagues and bosses… and also flatmates and landlords.
Most of us have rented at least once in our lives. Can we all say with hand on our heart that we have never tried to hide anything from our landlord? Have we always followed the rule ‘honesty is the best policy’?
Here we review the most common sins that tenants commit!
I have a roomie
This is number one… if you signed a lease in your sole name and only later decided to get a flatmate or move in your girlfriend or boyfriend without landlord’s consent, you would be in a breach of your lease risking eviction.
Landlords choose tenants for their properties very carefully, scanning them thoroughly to ensure not only will they take reasonable care of the property but are of a good character and will not cause nuisance. By bringing someone new in and not letting your landlord know, you are depriving them of the right to choose their tenant and control the whole process. It may also put them in jeopardy of breaking the law as there might be restrictions on the number of occupants allowed in the property. It doesn’t stop there – landlords might be in breach of their insurance and even mortgage terms as a result and additional wear and tear will have to be factored in too.
Late payment of rent
Excuses, excuses, excuses….it is not uncommon for tenants to make excuses for delaying rent payment – from lost jobs, falling ill, helping a friend in a pickle, credit card balance needing to be paid off… landlords have heard it all. But if you struggle to make ends meet and pay your rent on time it is best to be honest with your landlord and talk to them openly about your financial situation. They are more likely to sympathise with you and come to an arrangement to help you through it. Everyone has had one of those months and if you are a particularly good tenant, your landlord might treat you favourably, within reason though.
Your secret pet friend
Forgot to mention to your landlord you have a pet before signing a lease? Or perhaps you became a pet owner after you moved in? You should let your landlord know, otherwise you are very likely to breach the terms of your tenancy and that can have you evicted. You might also be putting your pet in danger because if there is a fire or flood and your landlord doesn’t know about the fluffy companion of yours, it will be left on its own…
Landlords who allow pets usually require an extra deposit or charge a slightly higher rent to factor in costs of repairs related to damage caused by pets.
Have you noticed a new water stain on your ceiling? Don’t wait to report it to your landlord. Water stains can often be overlooked by tenants but if left unattended, can cause serious damage to the property. And if bad enough, as a tenant you might need to move out until the problem is rectified as it may be considered unsafe to stay, for example, if the wiring has been affected.
Oops! It got broken…
According to a survey carried out by insurance firm LV=, almost one in four tenants (37%) puts off fixing issues that arise in the rental property or don’t tell their landlord or agent about them. Many tenants do that fearing they will get in trouble and be held responsible for a damage but some simply believe maintenance work can wait.
It’s a landlord’s responsibility to maintain the property and they would appreciate their tenant letting them know about any issue or damage before it escalates to a much bigger problem, which will be more costly at the later stage.
Not keeping on top of household chores?
Some people are better at keeping their homes tidy than others, but no one likes the sight of dirty dishes piled up in the sink, kitchen bins overflowing with rubbish, clothing dumped all over the place and clouds of dust flying about…. It is almost impossible for landlords to determine how clean their prospective tenant is but it’s written in the lease that you will take reasonable care of the property. If you don’t, your landlord can withhold part or all of your deposit to cover the cost of bringing the property to the state prior to renting.
Losing your keys is painful and unfortunately to have them replaced you will need to pay from your own pocket. Luckily, the cost involved should be minimal. If, on the other hand, there is a justified worry that someone who finds the keys can enter the property (if the address was attached to them), the locks will have to be changed too and that will incur higher cost. You do want to protect your private space and belongings though, same as your landlord is eager to protect their property.
Keeping secrets and hiding things from your landlord not only takes effort but can also get you in trouble. Now it’s time to examine your conscience….are you ready to confess?!