8 Reasons to Be Nicer to Your Landlord, Starting Now

by | BiggerPockets.com

Why should I be nice to my landlord?

Gosh, that is a good question.

Isn’t my landlord just a greedy slumlord?  Shouldn’t I expect an adversarial relationship? 

No, not at all. In fact, being nice (or nicer) to your landlord may reap you many benefits.

Being nice can be difficult if you rent from a large and faceless corporate-type REIT with thousands of units. It can be like trying to be nicer to Wal-Mart. But you know, if you are nicer to Wal-Mart, you might also reap some rewards. It might give you a credit or a coupon. It might give you a discount on your next purchase, or it might reward you for a referred customer. On the other hand, if you are a jerk, Wal-Mart might ban you for life.

Landlords can be the same way.  When I discuss landlords in this article, I mean anyone associated with the landlord’s company.  It could be the actual landlord. But it could also be the leasing agent or the plumber. Whoever it is, be nicer to them.

Why should you be nicer to your landlord, even if it’s a large corporation? There are eight reasons I can think of.

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1. You May Get Extras

Just like a getting coupons at Wal-Mart, you might get an extra something from your landlord. It might not be a coupon, but it could be an extra fix because you brought the maintenance man a drink of water on a hot day. It might be a new ceiling fan when your old one is just old. If you are mean and cranky, everyone is just going to want to get away from you as quickly as they can.

Related: The 11 Most Common Questions Asked by Tenants—Answered

2. We All Need Help Sometimes

If you are nice, pay your rent on time, and follow the rules, I will remember that. I will remember it if you hit a rough spot and need a bit of help. Everyone hits rough spots from time to time, and we all need a bit of help. Help could mean a bit of flexibility because someone wrecked your car. Help might mean a little patience because you got laid off. I am more likely to offer help if you are nice to me.

3. Because Landlords Have Long Memories

If you are a jerk to me or my other tenants, wreck my property, or steal from me by skipping out on the rent, I will remember. I may not be able to do anything about it immediately (or even in the near future), but the time will come. It always does. It will come when you try to finance a car. It will come when you try to move to a nicer apartment. It will come when you try to buy a house. It will come, and there I will be. Just waiting for that phone call from you to “just make things right.” Yes, we will make things just right.

4. Because Landlords Can Make Your Life Harder

I’m your landlord. I own the property you live in, and we have a contractual relationship. The law is often on my side. Because of all of this, I can make your life harder. Not just now, but in the future as well.

5. Because I Am A Nice Guy

You might not believe it, but I am. I had to put on that hard face the first time we met, because I have to do that with everybody. I have to be clear about my expectations and what the rules are. That can come off as a bit rude, but it’s what I have to do. Get to know me; you might like me.

Related: The 4 Types of Horrible Tenants (& How to Deal With Their Shenanigans)

6. Because I Care

I do care about my tenants and my properties. I want you to come away from our relationship feeling like you’ve got a nice place to live and a fair shake. I care about my reputation, and I work hard to maintain it. I also care if something really bad happens to you. Trust me, I know the feeling. If you are nice to me, you may find out that I just may work with you.

7. Because I Already Have Nightmares

Lots and lots of nightmares.

8. Because it’s the Right Thing to Do

We all hate jerks. Humans advance by being nice and kind to each other. Follow the golden rule. If you respect me and my property, I will do the same for you. You’re always going to catch more flies with honey.

Niceness works. Sure, it can be hard to be nice sometimes. It can be harder to be nice to faceless corporations like Wal-Mart. But even faceless corporations have people behind them, making decisions, and keeping things going. Being nice to them, while perhaps difficult, may reap you rewards. And it is just the right thing to do.

Do you have any stories to share about niceness paying off?

Share your experiences 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.

7 Comments

  1. Dave Rav

    Nice article! Awesome. Too bad not enough tenants will read it (this is an investor blog!). Very true however – some of the things you mentioned.

    I have a multi-fam home and I already know who will get consideration when it comes renewal time. Standardized increases are going into effect, but for those stellar tenants who have done some of the things you have mentioned they may get consideration. Just sayin’

    • Cody L.

      What we do is just give them a big increase. Then if they stay, well, they pay the annoying tenant tax. But there is no reason to keep a PITA tenant at the same rate you can rent to someone else. So if it’s an $800/month apt I’ll tell them it’s $1000 at renewal. If they take it, well okay. I’ll put up with them for $200/month. If they don’t, eh, cool, I got rid of a PITA.

  2. steve portock

    The sad thing is that this should be just common sense and a general level of decency from all of us as expected. That things like this need to even be written about is just a sad commentary on today’s values.

  3. Matthew Gardner

    I have been, sometimes simultaneously, a residential tenant and landlord, a commercial tenant and landlord and I have to say the very best policy all the way around is mutual respect. If you were never taught The Golden Rule as a child, learn it now. If you expect the worst from people, it becomes a self fulfilling prophesy. Successful people learn that it’s ok if everyone wins.

  4. Cody L.

    This is so right on. The way we respond to people with issues (needing to break a lease, asking for a new lease at the same rate, asking for unit upgrades, etc.) is **DIRECTLY** related to how they treat us.

  5. Ken Oz

    I had a tenant who was so appreciative and always paid early. So when she was considering moving because she lacked storage space, I put in some pull downstairs for the attic. Would I have done that if she was a complaining ungrateful tenant?
    No way, but for her I was happy to do so and it improved the property too.

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