If you’re a landlord, you know how important it is to keep your neighbors happy when renting your property to tenants because disgruntled neighbors can impact both your time and money as a landlord. We spoke with the industry experts who shared useful tips for landlords and tenants on how to avoid being a bad neighbor when renting.
Below are the top 25 ways to avoid being a bad neighbor when renting to tenants and guests.
1. Get to Know Your Neighbors
Justin Lavelle, Chief Communications Director, BeenVerified
If you bought a property in a certain neighborhood you plan to rent out, it’s essential that you get to know the people living within the neighborhood, even if you’re not planning to stay there yourself. Introduce yourself and inform them you’ll be renting the property to tenants. Leave your contact details to your neighbors so they’ll know how to reach you in case they have concerns.
2. Inform Your Neighbors That You’ll be Renting
Robert Stephens, General Manager, Avalara MyLodgeTax
The first step to keep the neighbors happy when renting your property is to let the neighbors know you’ll be renting. This way, they won’t be surprised or feel threatened when they see strangers within the neighborhood, coming in and going out of your home. This is especially applicable if you’re planning to utilize your house as a vacation rental property where guests only stay for a short-term period.
3. Introduce Your New Tenants to the Neighbors
Angela Colley, Real Estate Author, Realtor.com
If your property is going to be rented by a new tenant, take some time to introduce them to the neighbors. This is a good way to make your tenants feel welcome in the community. It is also a way to pay courtesy to your neighbors and let them know that someone new will be part of the neighborhood.
4. Recommend Quiet Hours to Your Tenants
Nina Furseth, Engagement & Corporate Communications Analyst, RentHop
Talk to your neighbors to find out what time they usually go to bed. Find the average bedtime for everyone and tell your tenants to maintain strict quiet hours during this time until the average waking time. If your neighbors are sensitive to noise, make sure that your tenants understand the “quiet hours” rule clearly and that they adhere to it strictly.
5. Communicate With Your Neighbors Regularly
William Fastow, Head, Appleton Properties Group
Keep the communication line between you and your neighbors open. This helps assure them that you are available to hear their concerns about your tenants if there is any. Try to talk to your neighbors from time to time and ask them if they have issues with your tenants. Proper communication will also help nip the problems in the bud before they get worse.
6. Keep Your Property Clean & Well-maintained
Barbara Thomas, Manager, Guardian Association Management
Take care of your property, make sure it always clean and well-maintained. The primary reason neighbors dislike rental units in their community is inadequate property maintenance. Replace the worn out fence. Require your tenants to dispose their garbage properly and forbid them to litter. Treat the property like the investment that it is.
7. Have a ‘No Party’ Clause in Your Lease
Angie Toomey, Owner, Toomey Rentals
One of the common complaints that most landlords receive from the neighbors is the issue about their tenants having home parties. Home parties can cause inconvenience to the neighbors due to loud noises, too many people and strangers inside the neighborhood and too many cars parked on the street. Make sure you have a “no party” clause in your lease to eliminate this kind of complaint.
8. Maintain the Lawn & Landscape
Richard Hayman, Coach, Hayman Consulting Group
Lawns and landscapes that are not maintained properly can sometimes irritate the neighbors. If your tenants are too busy to maintain the lawn, offer them an option of getting a lawn and landscaping service from you at least once a week at an additional cost. This way, you can serve your tenants and earn more, make your neighbors happy and keep your property looking great.
9. Know the Codes, Covenants & Restrictions Governing the Community
Holly Gray, Portfolio Manager, Kabino
As a property owner, you have to know if the property is governed by codes, covenants and restrictions (CC&R). If so, you have to learn what is stated in the CC&R and relay it to your tenants. These are usually rules and regulations that cover noise ordinances, parking guidelines, pets, smoking, visitor rules and other issues that may concern the neighborhood.
10. Be Friendly to Your Neighbors
Ryan Coon, CEO and Co-founder, Avail
Being friendly goes a long way. You can get on your neighbors’ good side by simply saying hello to them and spending time to see how they do whenever you visit your rental property. You can also leave a note or small gifts to your good neighbors during special occasions. This ensures a positive community for you, your tenants and the neighbors.
11. Place a Carpet on the Main Walkways of Your Property
Domenick Tiziano, Blogger, AccidentalRental.com
If your rental property is a condominium unit or a multistory duplex, placing a carpet on the main walkways is a simple way to not disturb your neighbors who are located on the lower floors. Imagine if you have a tenant who wants to wear heels on hardwood floors. That creates a lot of noise on the lower unit and your neighbors won’t be too happy. The carpet will help make the walking noise more discreet.
12. Screen Your Tenants Thoroughly
McKenzie Foster, Real Estate Professional, Compass Real Estate
If you want to keep your neighbors happy when renting, you should screen your tenants properly. The most important aspect of a landlord finding a good tenant for their neighbors is finding someone who is courteous and lives a similar lifestyle to themselves and the community in general. You should conduct interviews with all potential tenants, and even analyze their social media profiles to check their lifestyles.
13. Define Pet Policies That are Neighbor-friendly
Valerie Christensen, Chief Marketing Advisor, Specialized Property Management
Define pet-friendly policies that are also neighbor-friendly. If your tenants want to have pets, make sure to set clear rules about it so as not to disturb and annoy the neighbors. The tenants should know how to keep the messes and noise from pets under control, and there should be a clear boundary as to where the pets are allowed to go within the neighborhood.
14. Set Clear Parking Rules
Amy Zander, Author, Maverick Empire
Before your tenants sign the lease, it’s important that you set clear parking rules and ensure they understand them. Tell your tenants that they and their guests can only park in their carport, garage or parking spots and nowhere else. Make it clear to your tenants that they are not allowed to park in someone else’s parking spot.
15. Clearly Define Grilling Policies & Etiquette
Cynthia Wren, Author, RentPrep
During the summer season, your tenants may want to do some grilling in your property’s backyard. This is totally fine if grilling is feasible on your property. However, set clear grilling policies and etiquette so your tenants will stay considerate of the neighbors. The smoke from a charcoal grill is likely to blow directly into any nearby open windows, so your tenants need to be flexible and make the necessary adjustments when grilling.
16. Set Rules For Keeping the Front Yard Clear
Debby Mayne, Etiquette Writer, DebbyMayne.net
If you’re renting to families with kids or teenagers, then setting rules about keeping the front yard clear at certain hours of the day is essential. This includes removing bicycles, skateboards and other toys from the front yard at the end of the day.
17. Designate Proper Garbage Area for Vacation Rentals
Jessica Cumberbatch Anderson, Editor, HuffPost Home
If you’re renting a vacation property, make sure to give your guests ample garbage bags and bins to prevent them from littering. Also, designate proper garbage area where they can leave their filled garbage bags without annoying the neighbors. As we cannot expect short-term tenants or vacation renters to know about the garbage disposal rules in your neighborhood, be sure to collect and dispose of their garbage promptly before it becomes bothersome to others.
For more information on how to properly buy and run a short-term rental property, check out our article on how to buy a vacation rental property.
18. Don’t Allow Your Tenants to Sublease
Lucas Hall, Founder & Landlord, Landlordology
As a landlord, it’s best not to allow your tenants to sublease even one room of your property. Having another tenant that’s not directly under you is difficult to manage, especially if the lessee won’t follow the rules that you set for the property. This may also cause conflict with the neighbors.
For more information on how to stop your tenants from subleasing, check out our article on residential lease agreements by state, which includes a free template.
There are many benefits of a smoke-free property, which includes a lower risk of apartment fires, cheaper maintenance cost, eliminating bad odor, maintaining fresh air and creating a safer environment for your tenants and the neighbors. If your property is located in a family-friendly neighborhood where there are children playing around, then enforcing a no-smoking policy is a superb way to maintain a good relationship with the neighbors.
The issue about garbage removal can become a major problem area for landlords, tenants and neighbors. If you don’t set the proper rules in place, your property is at risk of violating local ordinances and becoming unsanitary. It can also create a major concern among the neighbors. Make sure to let your tenants know understand the garbage rules, including garbage removal, recycling and composting.
Make sure to create policies about CCTV cameras. Make it clear to your tenants that they are not allowed to point their CCTVs at a portion of or all of your neighbor’s property. According to BT.com, this could breach privacy laws and could be seen as harassment and violation of human rights.
Noise is one of the most obvious sources of conflict among neighbors. While landlords can recommend certain “quiet hours” during the day, it’s also important to set rules about screaming and fighting. These should be avoided all throughout the day especially if you’re renting a condominium unit that is close to other units. Screaming and fighting, no matter what time of the day it is, will surely disturb the neighbors.
According to Trulia, property line issues come into play all the time in neighborly disputes. Make sure to let your tenants know their “share” of the property so to avoid this kind of issue. Set clear boundaries and tell your tenants where they can and can’t park, where their children can and can’t play, where they can and can’t entertain their guests, and so on.
If your tenant just can’t follow the rules and opt to become aggressive and hostile whenever you talk to them about the issues with the neighbors, then perhaps you should terminate their lease and evict them from your property. If tenants can’t respect you as the owner of the property, you cannot expect them to be nice to their neighbors.
For more information, check out our article on how to evict a tenant.
Although it is common etiquette to entertain your guests inside the house, there are some people who want to talk to their visitors in their front yard. This can annoy the neighbors because it can be deemed as loitering. Make sure to tell your tenants that their guests should be entertained inside their house and not any other place within the neighbors’ sight and earshot.
Bottom Line – How to Avoid Being a Bad Neighbor as a Landlord
As a landlord, it is your responsibility to ensure that the occupants of your property adhere to the rules and regulations of the local municipality and the neighborhood. Tenants who don’t follow these rules often cause conflict with the neighbors. Use the above tips as a guide to ensure that your tenants will not become bad neighbors before you let them sign the lease.