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A tenant-landlord relationship can be exceedingly difficult, even if the landlord-tenant law is clear to both parties. Disputes are quite common and unfortunately, in Costa Rica, it is costly for either party to take the other to court.
I always keep interesting articles on my computer, this one was written by Rohit Raut in 2014. Here we go:
I know you come from different walks of life. You’ve taken different turns to get here. But now, by fate or otherwise, our paths have crossed. You are going to be a tenant at one of my properties. You might be experienced at this, or this might be your first time.
Whatever your situation is, there are a few things I want you to know so that we can have a mutually beneficial relationship.
1. You need to do your due diligence before, not after you rent the property.
If you have any questions about how to get to a certain place, what the transport facilities are like, what kind of people live in your neighborhood, do your research before you rent the apartment. Don’t call me up in the middle of the night asking for cab directions.
2. As much as I’d like to indulge in social work, my apartment isn’t free.
Let’s be straight with each other. We are part of a business transaction. You pay me for the living space, and I use the money to provide for my family and my needs. Don’t come to me with a sad story about how your startup is going to turn over a million dollars at the end of the year, but you just can’t pay me right now. You pay me, I allow you to stay in my apartment. That’s the deal.
3. I am not a hustler, and I don’t want to be.
What do you think it would do to my reputation if you slandered me as a conniving landlord who’s always trying to take advantage of you? You probably guessed correctly. This is a business I intend to stay in for the long term, and I don’t try to take undue advantage of my tenants because it hurts my business.
4. Don’t wait until you are drowning before you call me and ask me to fix the plumbing.
I understand that wear and tear and maintenance are expected in the due course of owning an apartment. Just make sure that you notify me before a problem gets unmanageable. It is in my interest as well as yours to keep the house in a decent condition, so I will help out if something needs fixing.
5. Have you considered that maybe YOU are the annoying neighbor?
You talk to me about annoying food habits, loud music, incessant TV volume problems, and thumping on the walls. That’s all well and good, some people do have a few quirks. But before you point these flaws out to me, maybe take a moment to recheck if you aren’t doing any of those things yourself.
6. Be patient. I am a human, not a genie.
Just because you are paying me rent and I am the owner, doesn’t mean I have a one-click magic fix for all of your problems. Sometimes, these things take time. The plumber I’m used to calling on might be out of town for a wedding. The electrician might have to wait until a certain spare part becomes available. Don’t get paranoid and think that I am going to leave you without running water and electricity.
I think looking at some of the things we’ve discussed here might give you more of an insight into my situation, and help us understand each other better. I’d like to have a good tenant as much as you’d like to have a good landlord. If we don’t throw our hands up in the air out of exasperation after every single real or imagined slight, you and I will have a good working relationship.
Real estate agents are intermediaries and do not get involved in the rental relationship between landlord and tenant. Do as this landlord suggested and stay out of trouble. On the other hand, a landlord should also work hard to keep the tenant happy.
Not all our affiliates get involved in rentals, so contact us first.
This article, by Ivo Henfling, was edited by Allen Dickinson and then published in the July/August 2021 edition of El Residente.