Help! My landlord lives next door!; now what?! When you find yourself shacking up next door to your actual landlord, stress levels are bound to be at an all-time high. Managing a healthy relationship with your landlord and neighbor may seem like a mammoth task, but the reality is that with a few coping mechanisms up your sleeve, you can have quite an enjoyable and comfortable relationship with your neighbor and landlord.
Being your landlord’s neighbor is a little more complicated than just being a regular neighbor. There are separate rules of engagement for dealing with neighbors and with landlords. Carefully combining these engagement rules will help you have a comfortable and harmonious relationship with your landlord (and neighbor).
Let’s look at the tips and advice for living in harmony with your landlord as your neighbor.
16 ways on how to live in harmony when your landlord is your neighbor:
1. Establish a clear set of boundaries before moving in.
Living next door to strangers is one thing, but living next door to someone as important to you as your landlord, is quite another thing entirely. Before you agree to your rental agreement, make sure that you discuss what the boundaries and rules of engagement are. If you both know what the boundaries are, you have a guide to live by and know exactly what your landlord will accept and respect.
2. Forget about trying to be sneaky or hide things.
When you live next door to your landlord, don’t even try to be sneaky about things. Don’t try to sneak a roommate past them or throw a party without their knowledge. This will merely make you look bad and untrustworthy in your landlord’s eyes. Keep things above board.
3. Determine upfront how things should be handled if they go wrong.
Chat about what to do if things should go wrong in the future. Make a list of possible scenarios and work on how these issues can and should be dealt with in the future. By having these things worked out in the beginning, you can rest assured that you know just what to do and how to fix things if they should go wrong at some point.
4. Compartmentalize your relationships.
Treat your landlord like a neighbor when it is appropriate and like a landlord when it is appropriate. Try to separate the two relationships so that you can keep things above board. For instance, if you are at a block party for the neighborhood, be neighborly to your landlord. Don’t bring up issues that are for your landlord to discuss and solve. This will allow you and your landlord to both fit into the roles that you have to, in order to make it work.
5. Be flexible.
Try to avoid being rigid when living next to your landlord. Be flexible enough to be understanding and helpful when required. Understand that it is probably a semi uncomfortable situation for your landlord as well as for you, so try to be as flexible as possible to make it easier for all parties.
6. Be upfront.
Your landlord will appreciate it more if you are upfront with the way you feel about things. As your neighbor, they have to be understanding if they are doing something that irritates or upsets you. For instance, if your neighbor/landlord is always parking in your space, don’t keep quiet about it just to keep the peace. Rather bring the matter up carefully and respectfully and be open to discussing it. This is something that will show your neighbor you are willing to deal with problems head-on and that you respect them enough to actually want to deal with the problem.
7. Consider sound insulation.
Something that you should be concerned about is noise. Living next door to your landlord should make you extra cautious of making noise. It’s one thing to ask for forgiveness after the fact, when living next to a stranger, but when it’s your landlord, the outcome could be a little different. They could end up on your doorstep mid barbecue to ask you to keep it down.
By getting sound insulation, you can have peace of mind that your landlord isn’t being exposed to every move you make and every celebration you enjoy. Discuss sound insulation options with your landlord before you sign your lease.
8. Create privacy for your space.
When your landlord becomes your neighbor, you’re bound to be worried about privacy and space issues. Instead of trying to duck and dive around your home for fear of being in sight of your neighbor 24/7, get creative about creating privacy.
Privacy can be easy to create if you give it some thought. Choose your outside entertainment spot carefully, hang thick curtains, and create attractive boundaries between your properties. By creating privacy for your own space, you actually take a lot of pressure off of your landlord.
9. Be considerate.
Being an inconsiderate neighbor to your landlord will only complicate your life. Try to be as considerate as possible. Don’t make excessive noise or get unauthorized pets, for instance. The more considerate you are, the more your landlord will appreciate it and want to keep you around as a tenant and neighbor.
10. Apologize if you mess up.
If you happen to do something that upsets your landlord or crosses a line, own up to it and apologize genuinely. Being genuinely sorry for things you do wrong will only place you in the good graces of your landlord. Someone who is genuine makes for a good tenant and neighbor.
11. Give your landlord space.
Don’t try too hard to be a great neighbor. Chances are that your neighbor wants to have a life of their own, so give them the space to do so. Give your landlord the space needed for them to be comfortable in their space. Sticking to space boundaries is vitally important to a healthy and happy neighborly relationship.
12. Be yourself and relax.
Again, don’t try too hard. You need to be comfortable and at ease in your own space, so relax and be yourself. Your neighbor would far prefer knowing that you are a real and genuine person and not just some version of someone you think they want or need you to be. Being yourself will allow you to form a genuine long-term relationship with your landlord and neighbor.
13. Discuss your concerns before you move in.
Naturally, you may have some concerns when you learn that your new neighbor will actually be your landlord too. Make a note of the concerns and worries that you have and put them to your new landlord. Discuss the possible solutions to your concerns to determine if you can live comfortably next door to each other.
14. Be friendly, not over-friendly.
You might feel a lot of pressure to be a great person to your neighbor if they are actually your landlord. Don’t go that route. Keep it polite, friendly, and lighthearted. Don’t overdo it. Overwhelming your neighbor by being over-friendly will only send the wrong message and might actually make them uncomfortable.
15. Keep your kids and pets in check.
If you have kids and pets, you are going to need to make sure that they behave appropriately. Don’t allow your children to get too comfortable going into your neighbor’s home, and make sure that your pets aren’t barking all night long or causing damage to the property. Your neighbor will want to ensure that their property is kept in good condition, so pets could be a big issue if they aren’t well controlled.
16. Follow correct protocol.
Remember that your neighbor is not your buddy or friend, but rather your actual landlord. There’s a right and wrong way to deal with things when it comes to matters of your rental. If something breaks, provide notice thereof in the correct agreed manner. Don’t treat your landlord like it’s their fault if something goes wrong. Keep it professional, and your landlord will respect you for it.
Having a comfortable relationship with your neighbor (who is also your landlord) is absolutely possible if you are willing to take the steps to make it work. Use the above pointers to help you. Good luck!