Whenever you hand over your rent check late (again), do you wonder what your landlord is really thinking? Well, we’re here to help you find out! This is important intel for all sorts of reasons. For instance, landlords can choose to raise your rent once your lease is up, or hold it steady. They can jump on repairs right when you need them at 3 a.m., or wait until morning. So here’s a peek at some of landlords’ secret thoughts—along with some eye-opening lessons on how to stay on their good side.

‘Why did you sign your lease without reading it?’

“Renters are often so excited about getting the keys to their new rental that they rush to sign their lease agreement without carefully reading it,” says John Nuzzolese of the Landlord Protection Agency website. “I prefer to sit and explain each clause of the rental agreement to the tenants before they sign it. It’s crucial that tenants completely understand what their rights and responsibilities are before finalizing the agreement.”

Why is this so important? So you and your landlord are on the same page—about when rent is due, what penalties there are for violating the lease, and what you can and can’t change in your place. For instance, “I once had a tenant take it on himself to remove our new carpeting and replace it with carpet of an ugly color,” says Nuzzolese. “I was so annoyed—and it came out of that tenants’ security deposit to change it back.”
‘Forget about a grace period—if it’s after the first of the month, your rent is late’

“Rent paid by the fifth of the month is still late,” says Ryan Coon, co-founder and CEO of Rentalutions. “For landlords, the rent that tenants pay helps manage the properties and pay bills. Late payments—meaning anything paid after the first of the month, even during the grace period—put their ability to do this in jeopardy. It’s also inconvenient to have to work around rent that isn’t submitted in a timely manner.”

“Tenants often think that late fees are another way of extracting more money out of the tenants,” says Nuzzolese. “But most of the time, the landlord also has to pay late fees as a result of the tenant not paying the rent on schedule. Most landlords view their late fee clause more of an incentive to pay the rent on time than as a way to get more money.”

‘Why did you wait so long to tell me that XYZ needs to be fixed?’

“Please tell the me right away when something is leaking, broken, or makes a funny noise,” says Ruth Johnson, a landlord in Austin, TX. “Very rarely does that magically go away when ignored. I really am not bothered by you telling me, but more importantly, I will have it fixed!”

Stacy Brown, franchise operations manager at Real Property Management, agrees: “I would rather have a call when a leak or other issue is small than waiting for it to develop.” After all, the property you’re living in is your landlord’s investment, and he or she wants it to be kept in good repair.

“Some tenants have a disconnect that this is someone’s home or investment,” says Dillar Schwartz, a landlord in Austin, TX. “They lack the care. I’ve had tenants in the past that are like, ‘That’s been broken since we moved in.'”

‘Don’t expect me to do all the home maintenance; some of it is your responsibility’

Read the full article at Realtor.com.