Useful tips to maintain a desirable relationship with your landlord
So you’ve moved into your first apartment. Congratulations! The problem is you don’t know the first thing about training your new landlord. A current trend in raising landlords is to let them grow up and discover the world on their own, but the truth is landlords require good old-fashioned discipline.
If you don’t properly discipline your landlord, you are not only raising one who will be troublesome for you to deal with, but one who will go out and burden other people after you leave the nest. Landlord training is a large project—one that never really ends—but this article will cover the basics and help you lay the foundation that you can use to later teach them more complex tricks and better behaviour.
The first step in training your landlord is establishing dominance. This step is fundamental because it will shape all of your future interactions with your landlord. In order to learn obedience, your landlord must first understand that you hold the power in the relationship. This can be achieved by raising your voice when necessary, learning your rights and asserting them, or even consulting—or threatening to consult—legal representatives. Ideally, you want your landlord to both love and fear you—but if you cannot have both, always choose fear.
Another important technique to remember is to reward positive behaviour and punish negative behaviour. At this stage in your relationship, it is essential to instill in them the concepts of right and wrong. You may be afraid to discipline your landlord, either out of fear of hurting their feelings or a desire to avoid conflict. But what are you really teaching them by not enforcing the things they are required to do by law? Sure, you can play the ‘good tenant’ so your landlord will like you more, but it’s more important that they learn that their actions have consequences.
Say “good job” or “nice one” when your landlord does something like take their shoes off when they enter your home, or fixes/replaces a broken appliance. Do your best to convey your disappointment in them when they try to enter your apartment without giving 24-hours notice, or if they request illegal payments like damage deposits. They might try to test your willingness to stand up for yourself, but you need to be firm and remember it is for their own benefit.
If you have an especially stubborn landlord, you may want to bring in a specialized expert such as a landlord-whisperer or the Off-Campus Housing and Job Bank (HOJO) at Concordia.
Using this framework in your landlord training will make it possible for you to teach your landlord all kinds of tricks. You may even develop a positive relationship with them. The most crucial thing to remember is that you are paying a lot of money for your apartment, and it is yours. This means you hold the power in the relationship, so don’t be afraid to use it.
Take the process one step at a time, and don’t be too concerned about overall progress—focus on small goals each day, and you will have an obedient and well-behaved landlord in no time. If all else fails, you can always find a new one next year. Good luck!
Graphic by Wednesday Laplante