Me and my partner have recently started searching for a new apartment. The reason for leaving the current one is the difficult landlady despite us being model tenants. This includes things like refusing maintenance, being invasive and rude, refusing to get paid through bank, arriving late for appointments, and tiring to communicate with.

I have been asked why do I want to leave my current residence by some landlords of the apartments I have visited so far, and I've faced a dilemma: I really wanted to mention that the bad cooperation with the owner made me want to leave, so they know that similar behaviours will not be tolerated (and also just tell the truth), but on the other hand I think that would seem like accusing your last employer for leaving a job.

So far I've not been sincere and just said that we needed more space, but I don't like lying and I definitely don't want to experience a similar situation as with my current tenancy.

Question: I would like to be sincere when answering to them and take that opportunity to express without being misunderstood, that I really need the landlord to be reasonable and for us to have a nice cooperation.

up vote 39 down vote accepted

It is a dilemma. You're worried that if you speak against your existing landlord, any potential new landlord might think you are the problem; perhaps that your standards are impossible, and that you might cause them grief.

If you don't tell the truth though, there is something potentially worse than your new landlord suspecting you are lying. If you act like everything is fine, then you might be playing into the hands of an equally bad landlord looking for naive tenants that don't have any standards.

Remember the reason for wanting to move - a bad landlord. Sure, admitting you have had a problem with your existing landlord might put off some potential new ones, but only bad ones. So if anything, being honest is a filter that you want to have. You just need to phrase it in a way that shows you are not unreasonable.

You haven't detailed any specific problems, just that they didn't cooperate with you. Let's just assume that you asked for something to be repaired - something that ought to be covered by your basic rights as a tenant in rented accommodation. When asked about your reason for leaving you could say:

We aren't satisfied with our current property. Some essential repairs were highlighted but these were not dealt with even after a reasonable length of time.

Don't say you had a "disagreement", just keep it factual, and minimal.

Any decent landlord will know that they have to fix basic essential things to a reasonable degree and in a reasonable length of time. If they are decent, this won't bother them. They may even boast that they always see to that kind of thing. On the other hand if they know there are loads of problems with their property that they were hoping you wouldn't notice, this lets them know you're on the ball with that kind of thing. If they don't get back to you, assume that you had a lucky escape.

I'm not an expert in the law, but I see you are in Europe and I understand that there are laws governing rented property. Whatever your own reasons are (i.e. if it wasn't to do with repairs) you just need to phrase it in a similar factual, non-opinion-based manner (e.g. don't say something is "terrible", say it "doesn't meet standards", or whatever).

I'm pretty sure that if you had issues with your landlord, that means there were underlying issues beyond their cooperation. If everything goes well, you really don't need to talk much to your landlord, so if you find them uncooperative, that means you needed something fixed which didn't.

So if they ask, talk about those rather than the landlord. There were constant issues with the heating and they never got fixed. This gives you the opportunity to focus the conversation on those points which were the actual problem. By the way, what kind of heating is installed?

If of course the issue is that the landlord lived just below you and found you were too noisy, well, ahem, you'd probably have to skip that one.

I would like to be sincere and [...] express that I really need the landlord to be reasonable and for us to have a nice cooperation.

So, be sincere :) Tell them. But not in a negative way, talking about the past. Be positive when you address them with your concerns. Talk about the future and what you expect.

When visiting, talking to them, about the rent and other stuff, mention what you need:

I'm pretty sure that you're seeking for "model tenants", and you're right about that. I'm also pretty sure we'll be above your expectations (maybe talk about being quiet, clean, paying the rent on time ...etc). And, "in return", we expect to have a very nice relationship with our landlord (you show them that YOU being nice first, you want to get something at the same level).

From there, explain what you need; When I was in a similar situation, I always focused and highlighted the positive parts and expectations. I would them my landlord that, if anyone complain, they let me know, and I'd take care of it (never happened, as I was like you, but it is reassuring for them to hear it). On the other hand, (nice smile and tone) I hope that you'll be able to answer any question or take care of any problem, with smooth communication and efficiency.

It always worked when the landlord was nice. But that's one thing you can't be sure from the beginning, unfortunately. Sometimes, later, I discovered that I was wrong trusting them. There's nothing you can do about that, as it's first a matter of trust when you both sign the contract.

Approach it indirectly:

Ask the new landlord about the overall state of things in the residency and mention things of concern like hot water, cleanliness, lack of pests, etc... > Be sure to cover what's currently irking you and gauge their response.

Then if you still have doubts, ask them to theoretically resolve a sample situation (ex. "Say my residence is not getting hot water, what is the process for that?").

This way you can figure out if the new housing situation will work for you without exposing anything that may be of concern.

Approach it directly, and help yourself avoid experiencing the issues you have had with the previous landlady with one in the future.

... but on the other hand I think that would seem like accusing your last employer for leaving a job.

Renting is very different from employment. A prospective landlord wouldn't take issue with telling you what a past tenant did that he did not like. Likewise, you ought to state explicitly and clearly what motivated you to leave your previous rental and seek out a new one.

If a landlord chooses not to rent to you because your expectations are too high, this is not the landlord you wanted.

  • 1
    Hi Bob, thanks for answering! This is a good answer, although, could you please detail a bit more what do you mean by approaching it directly? i.e. how should OP do it, what keypoints they should mention? How could they avoid sounding like they're not responsible for the previous poor relationship with the landlord? – avazula Aug 19 at 9:21

Your Answer

 

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.