You've just signed a lease and after the initial walkthrough, you realize that your new landlord is a bit more of stickler than others you've had. Don't panic. Dealing with a difficult or overbearing landlord is a pain, but it's manageable. Here's how to do it.
Be a Good Tenant
This should go without saying, but if you have a landlord who keeps a close eye on you or has obnoxious requests, the best thing you can do is be a good tenant for them.
Of course, this means paying your rent on time. It also means following any particular rules in your lease, keep your apartment clean, keep any outside lawn area tidy, follow rules about guests, be quiet, and pay your utility bills on time.
If you're at the start of your lease, it's a good idea to go over any questions you might have with your landlord too. That includes even minor stuff like asking about what type of nails you can use to hang pictures and what modifications you can make to the apartment. Landlord's all have a particular thing they care about more than others, so it's always a good idea to clear everything up from the start.
Communicate Your Needs Clearly
If you need something done in your apartment and your landlord isn't responsive, make sure you being clear about your request and why it matters. Landlords get all kinds of requests from tenants and they might view some as trivial when it's important. A difficult landlord is probably going to view most of your requests as trivial.
So, when you need something, state what you need and include the reasons why it matters. If a cabinet is hanging off your wall and looks like it's about to crash into the floor, make that clear in your request. Tell them that it's about to fall, and they need to fix it immediately. If your fridge suddenly stops working, tell them you just bought groceries and you don't want them to go bad.
Conversely, if you have something minor, like a dripping faucet or a running toilet, tell your landlord about the problem, but give them a couple days leeway to take care of it. Tell them what's going on, and when it's a good time to come by to fix the problem. Generally speaking, the nicer and more patient you can be with a difficult landlord, the better.
That said, if an issue comes up that the landlord won't help you resolve, you'll need to do a bit more work. You can try negotiating with them if you need to, but it's also worth looking into basic tenant laws in your state. Every state is a bit different, but if a landlord is violating any rights by not working on you request, you can file a complaint with the state. Just make sure to use that as a last resort.
From the second you do the initial walkthrough until you finally move out of your apartment, document everything you can. Here's a few things worth keeping track of:
Take photos of the empty apartment when you move in. Make sure to take pictures of anything that's broken, sketchy, or already a bit old
Make any repair requests or other agreements in writing and keep the emails around until your lease is up
Write down any time and dates for phone or in person conversations that deal with specific issues
Keep track of any maintenance that's done in the apartment throughout your lease
Essentially, any time you communicate with your landlord, it's worth documenting. Hold onto those documents until your lease is up and you have your security deposit back.
Talk with Other Tenants
Chances are that if you're having problems with your landlord, you're not the only one. If you live in an apartment complex, it's a good idea to talk with other people in the building to see if they're experiencing similar issues.
If after talking with people you realize it's a building-wide problem, you can band together to talk to the landlord as a group. Or, even better, other tenants might have solutions to your specific problems that they can offer you. This might be anything from their own DIY fixes to a direct phone number for the maintenance person. Basically, if you have a landlord who's neglecting the property or simply not meeting your expectations, it's good to see if there might be ways to circumvent the landlord entirely (without breaking any rules on your lease, of course).
Article from lifehacker