Jenny and I have had our fair share of renting accommodation. Through our experience, we discovered that landlords’ methods of “work” might vary greatly. In fact, they vary so greatly that it is usually impossible for us to properly set up our expectations in advance. Additionally, as we’ve had “international experience” with renting, we could conclude that these stereotypical landlord types could easily be found in many places around the world. So here goes:
1. The MIA Landlord
You will never see or hear from this guy (or girl) once you move in and pay your deposit. In some situations, you might actually not see them ever at all, because they might have designated all their functions (up to the point of handing out of the keys) to a real estate agent, who handles the whole process. Needless to say, if something unexpected happens, if you might have any complaints, or if you just want to mention that you will be off for a week (just so they are aware), you will be met with silence. An interesting bi-feature of this type of landlord is that he/she tends to appear quickly if you happen to delay your rental payment, or if the next year’s contract needs to be negotiated.
2. The Not-Caring-At-All Landlord
You arrange to check a place. You go in, and you see that there is a 2cm-strong layer of dust, and all the brand-new furniture hasn’t even been unpacked. At your blank stare the agent responds with “the house hasn’t been occupied since it was bought a year ago, and the landlord hasn’t visited since then, either.” Needless to say, this type of landlord is usually a cousin (if not a sibling) of the MIA landlord.
3. The Over-Caring Landlord
Don’t get me wrong, caring for one’s rented property and for one’s tenants is an extremely important detail of good landlord-tenant relationships. However, visiting every couple of weeks to check if everything is OK, and calling every other day to get an update report on anything happening around the area where you are staying might be a bit overboard. You will soon come to realize that this type of landlord rarely cares as much about your welfare, as for if their place is in tact and if you won’t run away with all their furniture. Based on all the horrific stories I’ve heard about tenants stealing everything from light bulbs to auto gates, such type of behaviour might make sense in the Malaysian context.
4. The “Tiny Details” Landlord
You know that deposit you pay when you move in. Well, with this type of landlord you can be sure you will never, ever, get that deposit back. An almost invisible scratch on the table, a stain on the wall (not even caused by the tenant), an unevenness to the flooring (again, not tenant’s fault). No matter how small any of these problems might actually be, and no matter whose fault, this type of landlord will find a way to withhold your deposit to rectify the issue. At later time when you try to follow up and see the receipts for any rectifications that might have been done, this landlord quickly turns into the MIA landlord.
5. The “Wear and Tear” Landlord
You happily move in to your new place. Everything looks relatively fine, although you’ve already noticed (and mentioned to the landlord) that the air conditioner appears to make some noise from time to time. However, the landlord has assured you that it is in perfect condition. A month later, the air con starts leaking. You call the landlord to tell them and you are met with the passive-aggressive “wear and tear” response. According to the Malaysian landlord’s vocabulary “wear and tear” means that you’ve been using the item, and therefore it is your fault and you need to rectify the problem. You call the contractor, and when he comes (together with a solid bill), he tells you that the air conditioner hasn’t been cleaned for at least 3 years and that is the main cause of the leakage.
6. The “I Will Fix It for You” Landlord
This is arguably the best type of landlord of all the mentioned types, because they are pretty much the only ones that do help (at least somewhat). The reason for them to want to fix something on their own is obviously to cut their costs – in which there is nothing wrong, especially if they do know how to fix that something (think boiler, laundry machine). However, the problem is that as it is either them, or their friend/relative, who will be fixing the problem, it might take extremely long time for them to come by and do it. Additionally, they tend to use not necessarily the most suitable materials for the repair work and thus the item tends to get spoilt again after some time.
7. The Perfect Landlord
The perfect landlord signs a contract with you (did I mention that many landlords appear to like to skip this step?) in which there are clearly stated rights and liabilities of both parties. Once something beyond the tenant’s control goes awry, they help get it back on the right track in a timely manner. They come by once every 2-3 months just to check if everything is in order, and if the tenant has any withstanding complaints (with the building management, for instance), so that they could attend to them. We are sure there are such landlords, it is just that we have never had the fortune to encounter them up to now!
Have you had the chance to encounter any other interesting and unique types of landlords?