As a renter, there's nothing more valuable than maintaining a good relationship with your landlord or property manager. One way you can keep a positive connection is by being honest and upfront right from the start. However, one surefire way to form a negative relationship is to lie or hide things from them. And because you will usually be found out anyway, you’ll have to deal with the consequences of your actions sooner or later. This could make your life more stressful in the long run.
Some of the most common things tenants hide from their landlord include pets, a roommate, damage or problems to the property, running a business, or even DIY repairs or improvements. While many of these things might not seem like a big deal to you as a renter, there are reasons why landlords choose to enforce these rules to their unit in the first place. Here are some of the things that might cost you if you’ve been dishonest to your landlord:
Hiding things from your landlord can definitely cost you additional expenses. If you are
lucky enough, you will be simply charged with a fine and be required to pay extra rent or deposits as outlined in your lease. If your landlord discovers that you're secretly keeping a furry friend—which could be against your apartment’s pet policy—the management company could slap you with a hefty fine or charge back pet rent and deposit. In one of the worst-case scenarios, they may even ask to remove your pet and may consider terminating your lease. And that security deposit you’re holding onto that you can put towards a new place may be forfeited.
More than a simple fine, you can also get evicted if you break rental contract rules.Landlords have their reasons when they say they don’t want a pet or an unlisted roommate in their rental property. Your pets may not be covered by their insurance, and unlisted people may not be held liable if they caused damage to the property. It is simply not worth it to skirt the rules and breach the terms of your lease if it would mean you’ll be out of place to live. To avoid a stressed out life brought about by the ramifications of breaking your rental contract, do some research before you sign the lease.
If you’re still hoping to own a house as part of your American Dream, this can be one of the most important things you don’t want to risk while you’re still a tenant. If your landlord decides to evict you for breaking the terms of your lease, it can seriously affect your credit rating. And having a good credit score is certainly crucial for finding a new rental place or getting approved for a mortgage loan. It plays a big role especially when time comes for you to buy a home. The eviction may cause a serious drop in your credit score and it will likely appear on future tenant screening reports.
We know it’s something we all want to avoid, but hiding things from your landlord could even be a cause for a lawsuit if things escalate further. Some states allow landlords to sue tenants for damages or repairs they caused during their occupancy. It’s even a more likely scenario if your pet accidentally bites someone or your additional roommate incurred damage to the unit. As the renter, you have the option to countersue, but just think of how much time and money it might cost you during the process. Your landlord may also choose to take legal action if you refuse to pay fines or bills to cover the damages to the property.
Aside from paying for additional expenses, losing your place to live, and risking an attractive credit score, what about your reputation? And we’re talking here about you losing a good rental reference, which is necessary when it’s time for you to apply to a new apartment. Even if your landlord is kind enough to let you stay on his property and only charges you with a fine, he/she will still likely bring up the dishonesty with your prospective landlords. Or the property’s management company could give you a negative review every time they areasked about your performance and reputation as a tenant. Without strong references from past landlords, this could make it rather difficult to secure a nice place that you actually want to live in.
While rules differ from state to state and the consequences of your actions depend on the severity of the situation and the rental management style, being honest to your landlord is still the best policy. Do some research on the rental property before you sign the lease. If you want to move in with your pet or have been planning to get one soon, choose a pet-friendly unit where you'll need to pay the necessary pet deposit and extra charges. If you have a friend who wants to temporarily move in, get written permission beforehand to know if it’s even possible. Likewise, read your rental agreement carefully before you dare break the rules. At the end of the day, always contemplate the lesson of the old maxim: “Honesty is the best policy.”
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