Dealing with Landlords

As I am sure anyone who has lived off campus and has dealt with a landlord would know, it can be a rather tumultuous relationship. It often feels like you just cannot win, and it can get to the point that you genuinely think that your landlord relishes in your suffering. Dramatic, I know—but I’d be lying if I said that thought hadn’t crossed my mind. Still, though it sometimes may not feel like it, landlords are people, too. We all have our reasons for doing the things we do, and a lot of times, landlords may simply be overworked and have too many clients to care for each person properly. Whatever the case, here are some tips to help you have the best possible relationship you can with your future landlord.

 

1. Make sure to start out on a good foot

As the saying goes, first impressions are everything. You should generally be kind to people when you first meet them, but with landlords it is even more important than usual. Throughout the first few meetings and virtual interactions you have with your landlord, be as nice as you possibly can. You do not want to give your landlord a reason to be reluctant to help you before there is even a problem. If you already have a good relationship with your landlord, and they remember you as a polite and kind client, then they will be much more willing to listen to and help you with any future complaints or requests. 

 

2. Pick your battles

There will inevitably be many problems with your apartment, whether it be shotty wifi, cracked paint, a missing window screen, or, most likely, all of the above. You have to be able to tow the line between standing up for yourself and demanding the treatment you deserve, and not wanting to make your own life harder by creating constant conflict with your landlord. Don’t be afraid to speak up, but use your energy to speak up about the big things over the little things. For many small problems, there are ways that you can figure out a solution for yourself, (and avoid the hassle of begging your landlord to do it.)

 

3. Always meet in person

When you do reach out to your landlord with your request, I strongly advise that you simply ask to meet and discuss the issue in person rather than airing your grievances over email or text. It is hard to read tone over the internet, and words that you meant to sound polite but firm can be interpreted as rude and aggressive by the landlord. In person, you can control how your words come across and show that you are simply asking for help. In addition, emails and texts can be ignored. It is much harder for your landlord to refuse to help you while they are looking you in your face. 

 

4. Remind yourself that you are sane

This one can be hard. When you are interacting with your landlord, you can start to doubt that whatever you are complaining about is worth complaining about. You start to think that maybe you were wrong, maybe it actually was not in the lease, maybe you are just being crazy, etc. That type of thinking makes these conflicts even worse, because then you upset yourself even more, and you definitely will not see results. Just keep telling yourself, no matter what your landlord says, you are not crazy. You would not complain about something if you did not have to. 

 

I hope these tips are helpful in dealing with landlords. I know that it has not been an easy road for me, so if I can help others in anyway, that would make my experience much more worth it. Overall, just remember: speak your mind and stand your ground.