Your relationship with your landlord can make or break an apartment, so it’s useful to know as much as you can about them before signing a lease. How are you supposed to learn whether a landlord will be good before you move in? Here are four of the best strategies.
Read online reviews
You can find virtually anything you need to know on the internet these days, so it’s a perfect place to look for information about any of your potential landlords. If your landlord works through an LLC or S corporation, they’ll most likely be listed as a business on Yelp, Google Reviews, or other popular review sites.
Not every landlord will have reviews, but it’s always worth checking to see if you can glean some additional information to help you make your decision. To help make this process easier for others in the future, consider leaving a review online each time you move out of an apartment.
Ask questions in local online forums
If you’re having a hard time finding information online about your potential landlords, you might need to ask for it directly. Try joining a local forum on Reddit and several local Facebook groups and asking about the landlords or apartment buildings you’re looking at. Depending on the size of the groups you join, there may be a good chance that someone has lived there before.
Meet with them in person
Online research can be helpful, but one of the best tools for making a judgment call on a potential landlord is meeting them in person. If you’re touring an apartment in a duplex, triplex, or even a small apartment complex, you might be able to take the tour with the landlord themself. Asking plenty of questions can give you a good feel for how responsive the landlord will be to your needs if and when you move in.
This step is especially important if you’ll be potentially dealing with a live-in landlord, like a homeowner who’s renting out a spare room or basement. Your relationship with your landlord is much more important if you’ll be sharing the same space, so meeting them in person once or twice is essential.
Ask the neighbors
The best, most unbiased information you can get about a landlord is from their current tenants, so if you have a chance, be sure to ask others who live in the apartment building or complex. If you see someone walking in or out, don’t be afraid to politely ask them what their thoughts are about living there. If you move in, these will be your neighbors, so this gives you a great chance to meet them as well.
Not only will talking with the neighbors give you insight about the landlord, but you can also learn more details about the property. Ask the neighbors what they like and dislike about living there and if there was anything that surprised them in a positive or negative way after living in the apartment for a little while.