OPINION: What NOT to do as a tenant

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Now is the time of the semester when a lot of college students start looking for a place to live next school year. If you’re like me and you enjoy freedom (and pets), that probably means you’re looking for an apartment or a house to rent.

Renting is built on trust, and things can only get worse for you if your landlord doesn’t like you. Here are a few things you should NOT do when you’re renting a place to live.

1. Don’t redecorate without checking the lease

The lease is the word of God that all renters and rentees must obey, so it’s always the first thing to check before you make a change in your living space.

If you want to install a new door or lock, put up wallpaper or even just hang a picture frame, it’s always best to see what the lease says first before anything bad can happen. I know they say it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission, but that doesn’t account for eviction notices.

2. Don’t ignore your landlord’s emails

If your landlord wants to drop by, they have to let you know at least 24 hours in advance — it’s the law. Therefore, you should keep in contact with your property management as often as possible to avoid any surprises from the involved parties.

It’s also a good idea to respond to emails when you get them so your property management knows you read them. Landlords are people too, and they can grow to resent you when you ignore them just like anybody else.

3. Don’t have too many pets

Pets are messy by their very nature, and more pets usually means more mess. With every extra pet, you’d be surprised how quickly the bodily fluids add up.

Even if your landlord allows pets, don’t go crazy just because the local shelter is having a special on kittens. Minimize the number of pets and you’ll minimize the damage that comes out of your security deposit.

4. Don’t use a commercial trash can lid as a sled and go flying off the roof every time it snows

Seriously, why would you do this? Your landlord won’t be happy when they have to clean your blood off the sidewalk.

5. Don’t ignore issues with your living space

The last thing your landlord needs is a defective unit on their property. If your plumbing, air conditioning, dishwasher or whatever is having problems, let your property management know and they’ll take care of it for free.

The longer an issue goes unresolved, the more work it takes to fix it. Follow these steps, and I’m sure your landlord will thank you later for being such a good tenant — if not with words, then with a big fat check from your security deposit.

Kyle Hampel is the reviews and opinion editor for the Collegian and a junior in English. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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Those words you just read were written by me, Kyle Hampel. I am a 2019 graduate in English. I have strong feelings about barbeque pizza and the Oxford comma. I am a former copy chief, community editor, feature editor, designer and deputy multimedia editor. Beloit, Kansas, is proud to call me their own, along with several other towns I've lived in that aren't as special to me.