Having decided to manage mainly entire building owned by a single client, this is something that hasn't occurred to has for a long time, but we had in the past several issues that we believe prospective tenants must keep present when they are about to sign a lease agreement with a landlord who will become their neighbour.
This is actually quite common in the less central part of the city center: the large apartment where they faily of the landlord use to live, where the kids grew up, end up being too big for a single person, usually the wife, who outlived her husband. Her siblings decide to cut the flat in wo leaving her a one or two bedrooms flat and making an independent flat of the remaining part. This is done in a completely orthodox way, formally and with the right separating walls, windows and everything. What usually creates a problem is the landlord's mindset, that considers the flat you rented out and where you are free to do whatever you wish - of course treating the inventory in the best way - still HER flat.
Let's make a list of issues that a landlord turned neighbour could cause, and that must be kept present when considering to sign in such a setup:
- frequent unexpected visits of the landlord. Even considering your landlord a "super nice" guy, or lady, meeting him Saturday morning when you just woke up is maybe not the best way to start your non working weekend
- excessive sensibility to noise. Even a "normal neighbour" would complain if you give a party and it's stll running at 4 o'clock in morning, but only a landlord-neighbour knocks on your door because yesterday you made noise moving too violently your chairs, or because your guests are always wearing heels while she prefers them to wear only slippers
- having him, or her, knowcking on your door the first or second day of the month reminding you to pay the monthly rent. You already know that you have to pay the rent and you know that if you do not pay within, let's say, the 10th of the month, you'll receive a remainder. Sometimes you just prefer to receive it by email than have always a physical visit!
- too frequent checks of the apartment condition. We are usually asked, as real estate agents, to check twice a year the state of the apartments we rent out, that's pretty normal. Just a quick visit to check that the furniture is still there and they are not organizing a barbecue inside. Having then the real estate agent visiting your place is different than having the landlord, because you usually have a better bond with the first one, who helped you out during the rental process and was not your "counterparty"
- receiving complains about the people you invite over. Here we are not saying the "number" of people: of course if you rent a one bedroom apartment, people is expecting you to have 4-5 guest maximum considering the small space. Here we stress how in the past, according to our experience, landlords could even complain regarding the "kind" of people you invite over. When you hear something like "I do not like the friend you have with a lot of tattoos", well, it's maybe better to look for a new spot
We have plenty of anedoctes about landlord-neighbour and tenant relationship, but we believe the issues above are enough to make you consider the deal you are about to close. The ideal landlord-neighbour is the young professional who bought 2-3 small flats in abuilding, he uses his own as a pied a terre, being only few days a month in Milano.
Do you have any interesting story to share with us regarding the issue we dedicated ths post to, please write us at: firstname.lastname@example.org