The 8 Things I Want Every Tenant to Know

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Tenants come with differing backgrounds and life experiences.

Some have been renters for years and know the drill. For others, it may be the first time away from mom and dad and out on their own. No matter what their renting experience may be, here are some things that I want every tenant to know.

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1. You Need Renter’s Insurance

Tenants should understand that bad things happen and that the landord’s insurance policy will not cover their loses. Renter’s insurance is cheap and well worth the money.

Related: Should You Put Your Rental Properties in an LLC?

2. I Have Bills to Pay, Too

The way I pay those bills is with the rent you pay me. I have heard all of your sob stories and unfortunately there is nothing I can say to the bank that will get them to cut me a break. So I am sorry if I seem like a hard ass, but your rent is due when your rent is due.

3. I Am Not Going to Try and Take Advantage of You

It is not in my best interest to do so. I want a long and uneventful landlord/tenant relationship because turnover kills my bottom line. I will not get that if I am constantly trying to get one over on you. If you treat me and my property with respect I will do the same to you.



4. Do Not Wait Until the Last Minute to Tell Me Something Needs to be Repaired

My repair people like to have weeks-ends off as well. If you wait until Friday afternoon to tell me your air conditioning is out, guess what you are not likely to have this week-end.

5. I Will Fix Things, So Please Call Me!

It is in my best interest to fix things and keep my property maintained. Little repairs if left alone will eventually add up to big repairs and big money. I don’t like to spend big money.   So call me about the little things. I will repair them.

6. Your Neighbors Do Not Like Your Loud Music Either

Remember when you complained to me about your neighbor’s loud music? It is a two way street.

Related: What Are Your House Rules?

7. Some Problems Are Just Hard to Fix

They take time and thus may not get repaired right away. We may have to wait on a part. We may have to diagnose and trouble shoot for a few days. It may seem like we are doing nothing, but we really are trying to fix the problem. Be patient.


8. Mess Leads to More Mess

Those bugs you called to complain about, well I went by to take a look and noticed the overflowing trash can and pile of dirty dishes in the sink. Let’s try cleaning that up first and then we will talk about the bug problem.

Like I said, tenants come with a myriad of experiences behind them. Some are timid and shy and don’t want to make a fuss. Others have been screwed by a previous landlord. Some have just never been out in the real world and not had mommy to clean up after them. As a landlord, you will run across all kinds. No matter what kind you rent to, make sure they get the above list.

[Editor’s Note: We are republishing this article to help all of the landlords who found our site more recently.]

So what is on your list?

Be sure to leave your comments below!

About Author

Kevin Perk

Kevin Perk is co-founder of Kevron Properties, LLC with his wife Terron and has been involved in real estate investing for 10 years. Kevin invests in and manages rental properties in Memphis, TN and is a past president and vice-president of the local REIA group, the Memphis Investors Group.


    • I had that pulled on me by a previous tenant. Funny how the first time I heard about the furnace not working properly was when they presented me with a letter telling me they were breaking their lease because the husband’s medical condition was impacted by the faulty furnace. I got the letter the day after I had taped the 3 day notice to pay or quit on their door because they refused to answer the door. I had the HVAC guy in the next day and two of the four heat coils were bad and replaced and kept their security deposit that covered most of the rent as they left. I don’t want to deal with that type of people. The woman that replaced them is happy and overall not psycho like that couple seemed to be going towards the end after she lost here third job in four months.

  1. 4. rings so true. It seems 90% percent of my maintenence requests come on Friday nights or Saturday mornings. Great reminder for me to continue working on communicating set business hours for non emergency issues.

    • Kevin Perk


      Yes! Set those business hours and stick to them. If you answer the phone on Saturday then guess when they will call you.

      Be sure you point out your hours upfront. And then say them again.

      Thanks for reading and commenting,


  2. This hits very close to home. I’ve been hit with a few excuses from my renters that have completely blown my mind…

    Like the ‘we tried to fix it, but couldn’t and are surprised you’re charging us for the additional damage’ (sprinkler head leaking for weeks without notification, causing a sq yard of the grass to rot)

    Or the ‘your washer and dryer broke, so we didn’t call you, we just bought new ones and threw yours out—but can’t understand why you’re charging us’ (ummm cuz you threw away my property)

    I like Brandon Turner’s advice in his posts— don’t let the renters know you are in fact the owner also. That way they don’t think they can sweet talk you, and there is always someone else to direct any ‘negative’ feedback towards. My renters probably would be a lot less inclined to take advantage of me had they not known I was the owner!!!

    • Kevin Perk


      I have to disagree with you a bit. We have always let it be known that we are the owners (they realize it sooner or later anyway). We find that our tenants like the fact that they are dealing with a local, hands on owner. It seems to be a benefit to us.

      I do however completely understand your position.

      Thanks for reading and for sharing your experiences,


  3. Kevin McNeill on

    How do you ensure that each tenant knows these common sense things? Did you write them up and then go over them at lease signing? Or maybe post this list on their refrigerator before they move in?

    • Kevin Perk


      That is a good one and we do that as well.

      Remember everyone, your tenant is your “first responder” and if they know how to turn off the gas, electric and water they can potentially save you big bucks and much hassle.

      Show them how to do it at move it!

      Thanks for reading and for sharing such a good point,


  4. I like #6.
    People that complain about people that are exactly like them annoys the heck out of me.
    Anyone, not just tenants, it is just tenants seem to be afflicted with this more than most people I come across. 🙂

    • Kevin Perk


      Sometimes people just do not realize that they are being loud or acting uncool. No one has ever told them they are doing so. So it is up to us to help them understand how to live in an apartment community. 🙂

      Thanks for reading and the comment,


  5. Peter Mckernan

    Hello Kevin,

    Great article about these simple, but clear guidelines on how the relationship should be between a renter and a landlord.

    I would add to the list: do not ask, or start to preform a repair or rehab on a certain part of the rental thinking that this question/action will be acceptable. The tenant is not a licensed and insured contractor, so when that repair or rehab goes bad the tenant will push all responsibility onto the owner, and stick try to stick the owner with the bill.

    This happened to a property that I am currently managing. The tenant put in a new toilet without confirmed permission, it started leaking, and they tried to blame it on the owner for faulty pipes. (Total bill: $5,000).

  6. Mario Mormile

    Thanks for the article Kevin. This list is a great reminder and a must to apply. Whether a landlord is timid or not afraid to speak their mind, having someone (yourself, an assistant, or property manager) convey these things to the potential or current tenant is very much appropriate. 🙂

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