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    Dear Future Landlord, Here’s What We Need from You

    Dear Future Landlord,

    You haven’t met us yet, but I bet you have a couple of stereotypes in your mind about what renting to a military family is like.

    Let’s start with the positive platitudes. We are:

    • Timely with payments
    • Neat and orderly
    • Respectful of the house and the landlord tenant relationship.

    Of course, there are negative clichés as well. We are:

    • A large family with several children that destroy rental homes.
    • Probably leaving earlier than our rental agreement states.
    • Dealing with a deployment, so household chores will suffer.

    Surely you know there are stereotypes about military landlords too, right? How about these:

    Many are slumlords because they can get away with disrepair in the house, because, after all, military families live there short lengths of time and are used to substandard base housing. Most landlords are out to make as much money as possible and hate to make repairs or updates to their properties. Out of town landlords are the worst because they are difficult to contact and slow on the upkeep requests.

    Well, yes, these are right. All of those descriptions are sometimes true. Not absolutely true every time, but they are certainly situations to consider.

    One of the best ways to alleviate some of these concerns or assumptions is to let renters submit some ideas about what we need from you as our landlord while our thoughts about each other mesh into a well-informed relationship.

    1. We need to know this rental house is an active project in your life, an investment, not just a mortgage payment for the house you live in currently. Seasonal check-ins to inspect things like sump pumps, fireplaces, and pest control are welcomed.
    2. Please have a thorough move-in process. We want a walk-through checklist that is intense. A five-minute glance through the house does no one any good. Expectations will not be met by either party.
    3. Know what a military clause is, because we will likely want a descriptive one. Also know that a military clause is not the same thing as the SCRA Act.
    4. Guidance and clear parameters for the upkeep of the house are only going to help. Should we take steps to mitigate the potential for frozen pipes? How often do we change the furnace filter?
    5. A binder with manuals for appliances small and large with notes on how to reset the hot water heater and other similar tasks is very helpful. Adding the names of go-to vendors for repairs is a huge help.
    6. A detailed description of how maintenance requests will be handled is appreciated. Although 48 hours without the mostly ornamental gas fireplace working is no big deal, 24 hours without AC in the dead of summer is pretty brutal.
    7. Review with us what your landlord’s home insurance does or does not cover if there is a disaster. We know our possessions are not covered, as that’s what renters insurance is for, but what about our stay at a hotel while repairs are made?
    8. We understand if unforeseen circumstances come up. We really do, as that is what military life is all about, but please try to put yourself in a position where your tenants do not become affected by your personal life and finances. We need a plumber ASAP, even if your budget doesn’t allow it.
    9. A courtesy call or email to talk about concerns regarding an upcoming blizzard or flooding potential in the spring (or any other out of the ordinary circumstance) will keep everybody on the right track. Don’t just hope for the best and wait to get repair calls from us.
    10. If you wouldn’t want to deal with low water pressure, leaking faucets, or other nuisances in your own home, please don’t expect us to. Just because we are renters doesn’t mean we are fine with a lower quality of life.

    The landlord/tenant relationship doesn’t have to be a struggle or unhappy. Providing each other with clear expectations and holding up our respective ends of the bargain will ensure the whole stay will be beneficial for everyone.

    Don't miss this post directed to tenants from landlordsMilitaryByOwner has multiple resources for renters and landlords to take advantage of before signing the next lease. And click below to learn more about our latest e-book, created especially for landlords! 

    Click here to get your Landlord/Tenant Ebook

    Dawn M. Smith


    Dawn M. Smith

    Dawn is a real estate and military life writer who has a serious HGTV habit. When she is not writing, her teen daughter, Army husband, and golden retriever keep her busy through chauffeur duties, travel planning, and long dog walks. Dawn is pleased to share her experiences with MilitaryByOwner readers who are hoping to simplify military family journeys of all kinds. Follow Dawn on Pinterest for more ideas and resources and visit her site at Dawn M. Smith Custom Content Creation.

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