Rental confessions: Here’s how most landlords and tenants really feel about one another

NEW YORK — How would you rate your landlord? A survey of 1,500 renters and 500 landlords examined the relationship between both groups, revealing that a majority of tenants say they have an “excellent” or “good” relationship with their landlords (63%), with only six percent saying it’s terrible.

While 69 percent of landlords say first impressions are “very important” when searching for a tenant, 51 percent of renters express the same when dealing with a landlord. Two in five American renters think they would make better landlords than their building’s current owner (41%).

Although half of renters claim their landlords are better than most (49%), renters laid out the problems they experience the most with their landlords.

According to the survey by Lemonade and OnePoll, when asked what makes a “good” landlord, tenants say they look for someone who responds promptly to property issues (72%), cares about maintaining their home (72%), and keeps the rent affordable (71%).

What makes a ‘bad’ landlord?

Surprisingly, having a landlord who’s rude about making repairs (79%) is worse than one raising the rent regularly (65%). Landlords, on the other hand, described what makes a good tenant: someone who pays their rent on time (79%), keeps their apartment or house clean (74%), follows the house rules (72%), and is employed (60%).

“While any relationship between a landlord and a tenant is rooted in holding up one another’s end of contractual obligations, it’s so much more than that,” says Sean Burgess, chief claims officer at Lemonade, in a statement. “The human element is equally, if not more, important in establishing and maintaining a good relationship. Good communication, respect for each other’s needs, and general kindness can go a long way.”

Dealing with property damage is the top tenant issue landlords experience (48%). That was worse than receiving late or non-rent payments (46%) and dealing with maintenance issues (39%).

These reasons may be why 36 percent of landlords say they resent some of their tenants and why many raise the rent. Over half of landlords (54%) raise the rent at least every two years, with a quarter of landlords (25%) doing so every year.

tenants landlords

Beware of red flag tenants

The data delved further into tenant red flags landlords say homeowners should be aware of, such as renters having an eviction history (57%), multiple complaints from previous landlords or tenants (51%), lying on rental applications (51%), and having a criminal record (45%).

To make their lives easier, landlords are hoping for stronger eviction laws (44%), better communication skills (41%), and accessible legal support (37%).

For nearly half of landlords, a potential candidate with renters insurance is also a huge plus (45%) since the majority of landlords (81%) think having rental coverage could make or break a deal.

Overall, most landlords and renters agree that they can get along and coexist peacefully (95% and 87%).

“Whether it’s a stolen bike, protection from water damage, or liability coverage, there’s no doubt renters insurance protects tenants in many scenarios,” Burgess adds. “However, what some might not realize is that renters insurance can provide benefits for the landlord as well, such as potentially lower liability exposure.”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 1,500 American renters + 500 landlords was commissioned by Lemonade between November 3 and November 14, 2022. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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  1. We thoroughly vet or prospective renters so rarely have any problems and most are long term. I only raise rent if I need to or if someone ends a lease and we rent to someone else. The longer the lease term, the better “discount” they get for rent. It works.

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