There are certain things owners must do in order to keep their rental properties safe and liveable. Likewise, there are certain rules tenants must adhere to when renting, some of which are required by law and some are enforced by individual owners in leases.


So you see, whether you’re renting a beachside vacation property in Carolina Beach or are a tenant in a long-term rental in Wilmington, you have a responsibility to take care of the home you’re renting. If you don’t, you could be subject to fines and/or lawsuits by the owner of the property.


Signs of a Bad Tenant

If you’re renting a vacation property or signing a long-term lease soon, make sure you avoid the things renters should never do, like:


Changing the Locks

Long-term tenants may have concerns about who has access to the property. While these concerns are valid, you need to get consent from your landlord before changing the locks, as doing so could violate their rights as an owner. The best course of action is to ask for permission before proceeding with a lock change and to provide your landlord with a new key ASAP.


Bringing Pets without Permission

Owners have a right to restrict what size and kind of animals are allowed in their homes. This is true for both long-term and short-term vacation rentals. Instead of sneaking your pet into your rental home, just be upfront with potential landlords regarding whether you have an animal you’d like to bring.


Making Landscaping Decisions

Many leases will stipulate whether the tenant or landlord is responsible for doing things like mowing the grass, picking up leaves, watering existing plants, etc. Additionally, most owners don’t mind if you want to plant a few of your own flowers or grow a garden (though you should always ask first). However, tenants should steer clear of doing things like planting or removing trees since these are major changes that could have an effect on the home or property and violate your landlord’s homeowner’s insurance.


Inviting Long-Term Guests

For long-term summer and winter rentals, putting your family or friend up for a few days isn’t a concern. The issue comes when you have someone living with you who is not on your lease. Likewise, those renting vacation properties need to be honest about how many people are staying in the home. Lying about these things can result in insurance problems, fire code violations, and, ultimately, fines.


Ignoring Maintenance Issues

As a renter, it’s your responsibility to report any issue with the home to the landlord or property manager. Failure to report things like water stains, broken appliances, or faulty wiring is dangerous. Even if it seems like a small problem, it’s best to report it to the owner before it becomes a big disaster.


Leaving Early or Subletting Without Permission

While they may require you to pay a fee, many owners will be understanding of a situation where you need to leave your lease early. Issues arise here when you leave without telling your landlord or, worse, find someone to rent your place for you. Subletting or listing your home on Air B & B without permission robs the owner of their right to select and screen their own tenants, and will leave you liable in the event the new tenant damages anything.


Having Parties

This goes hand in hand with having long-term guests without permission. Most owners aren’t fans of having a bunch of people they don’t know in their home at once. It’s a good way to end up paying for costly damages, plus it won’t help your relationship with your neighbors or the police.


Leaving the Place a Mess

Most short-term vacation contracts spell out who is responsible for cleaning the home and what steps renters must take regarding cleaning prior to check out. Long-term tenants, however, are always responsible for keeping their homes in good condition. Failing to clean up over a long period of time can easily result in pest infestations like mice, rats, roaches, bed bugs, and other insects.


Painting, Changing Appliances or Making Repairs

These things apply more to long-term tenants than short-term renters, but should still never be done without permission. If something breaks in your home, ask your landlord if you can repair it. If you want to paint, ask your landlord first. If you think you need a new appliance, check with your landlord. Bottom line, the golden rule for rentals is to always get consent from your landlord before changing anything.


Paying Late

When you sign a lease or rental agreement you are legally obligated to pay the landlord the amount you agreed to by the date you agreed to pay. Long-term renters who make excuses or fail to pay their rent risk being evicted. Vacation renters who don’t make payments according to the specified schedule risk losing their previous payments or deposits.


As long as you follow the law, obey the terms of your lease, and ask for permission before making any changes to the home you’re renting, being a good renter should be easy. If you’re thinking of leasing a short-term or long-term rental in Wilmington, Network Real Estate has you covered. From condos in Wrightsville Beach to homes in Pine Valley, we have plenty of options for all kinds of renters. Find out more by giving our rental agents a call at 910-395-4100.