Keep Your Rental in Tip-Top Shape

Keep Your Rental in Tip-Top Shape

You may not think you should care as much for a rental as you would your own home, but there are many reasons to be a great tenant. In addition to keeping your landlord happy, taking care of your rental gives you the upper hand in rent negotiations and might even allow you to change the terms of the lease so they're more favorable. You'll also save money if you're not evicted or you don't have to forfeit your security deposit.

Treat your rental property with the utmost care with these tips.

Know your lease. Are pets allowed in your building? Can you hang pictures on the walls? Before moving in, brush up on what's in the lease so you don't inadvertently violate its terms. If you do want to do something that's not allowed, speak to your landlord. He or she may let you — especially if you have shown yourself to be a good tenant.

Keep it clean. Tenants who keep their living spaces neat are sending an important message to their landlords: "I respect your property." And you'll most likely get your security deposit back when you move out. If you have pets, make sure to vacuum at least once a week, pick up any accidents right away and keep your home odor-free.

Call in the experts. Notify your landlord right away about anything that's broken or damaged to prevent small problems from becoming big ones. Do not attempt to make repairs yourself, as this could cause further damage.

Get insured. While it's your landlord's responsibility to take care of the building and grounds, he or she is not required to protect the contents in your living space. That's where renter's insurance comes in. For a fairly affordable premium, renter's insurance can help pay to replace items damaged or stolen inside your rental property.