How Your Landlord Can Work for You

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Being a renter can feel a lot like being at the mercy of your landlord, property owner, or management company. If you have a great relationship with whoever provides your housing, that can help grease the wheels and make actually living there a great experience. If not, however, it can feel extractive and exploitive.

Even the best landlord has some secrets, according to the insiders ​Apartment Therapyspoke to recently — and they tend to benefit renters, who may not know that it's perfectly within their rights to ask for more than what's on offer. One of the biggest windows of opportunity you have as a renter is just before you sign your lease. The landlord is eager to fill a unit, and you're eager to have someplace to live, but take the opportunity to get the best living space you can. Ask for something as small as filling nail holes in the wall or as big as replacing the appliances.

Tenants have a lot more power in rental situations than they're led to believe. It's worth connecting with a local housing rights organization to check up on what you can and shouldn't expect from your landlord. (Even better? Get familiar with your management company before you sign — there may be history out there which you can either prepare for or avoid entirely.) A good rental agreement gives both tenant and landlord what they want. You can make that work for you, all the way until it's time to get your security deposit back.