If you want easy lease renewals, low-to-no annual rent increases and more freedom, you’ll want to make sure your landlord enjoys having you as a tenant.
How do you make the landlord like you? Well, the key may be to leave them alone and tackle some DIY repairs yourself.
Landlords are busy people. They have other tenants and other demands on their time. When you inundate them with small maintenance requests, you make their job more difficult.
If you become known as a difficult tenant, they’re more likely to up your rent when the time comes. While you don’t want to make every repair yourself, you should limit your requests to necessities.
Here are some quick tips on when to contact your landlord—and when to take on DIY repairs.
Safety Issues: Contact the Landlord
Legally, your landlord has to provide a safe place for you to live. If your rental has any issues putting either your health or safety at risk, you should contact your landlord. Here are some examples of items you shouldn’t try to DIY repair:
- Broken windows or door locks
- Light fixtures or ceiling fans that spark or pop when turned on
- Evidence of burning around light switches
- Damaged electrical outlets
- Malfunctioning or broken smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- Leaking or broken appliances, cooling and heating systems
You also should ask your landlord to fix these problems as well:
- Clogged gutters: removing leaves and debris from gutters is time consuming and can be dangerous.
- Damaged door and window screens: since these will stay with the rental when you move, you should leave them up to your landlord to repair.
- Roof damage: leaking or damaged roofs require professional repairs.
- Rodent infestations: rodents can eat through walls and wiring, causing bigger problems later on. Let you landlord know immediately if you spot rodents in your rental.
Cosmetic Issues You Can DIY
Cosmetic issues are tricky. In most states, your landlord isn’t required to make cosmetic repairs, and while many landlords are happy to, you’ll get a bad rep if you contact them about every single blemish.
Try to limit your requests to substantial issues and fix the rest yourself if you’re able.
Here are some examples of DIY repairs you can take care of on your own:
- Loose cabinet hardware: most drawer pulls and knobs can be tightened with a screwdriver.
- Stuck drawers: if a drawer is just off track, remove the drawer, line up the tracking and re-install.
- Liners for cabinets and drawers: hardware stores sell inexpensive, self-sticking liners for cabinets and drawers.
Routine DIY Repairs and Maintenance
Want to be your landlord’s favorite tenant? Then treat your rental like you own it.
The more you’re willing to do small DIY repairs and maintenance yourself, the more your landlord will appreciate having you as a tenant.
Here’s what you should do yourself:
- Unclog toilets, sinks and bathtubs
- Replace AC filters
- Replace smoke detector batteries
- Clean range hood filters
- Clean refrigerator coils
- Replace light bulbs