When you rent a single-family home, you become part of that neighborhood. Maybe it has a strong sense of community, or maybe all the people who live there keep to themselves and enjoy their privacy. Each area is a little different, and as you move into your new home, you’ll need to get a sense of how the neighborhood works and what your neighbors are like. Integrating might mean getting to know everyone who lives next door by name or it might mean keeping your property neat and clean and minding your business.
A property management company based in Harker Heights, Shine Residential Management cares for exceptional single-family homes throughout Central Texas, including in Killeen, Temple, Belton, Copperas Cove, Salado, and Georgetown.
As property managers in Killeen, TX, we want to help tenants feel comfortable and welcome in their new homes. So, we’ve gathered some good ideas on how to be good neighbors when you move into your rental home.
Introduce Yourself When there’s an Opportunity
When you happen to notice that your neighbors are outside, watching you unload all of your personal belongings and move in your furniture, take a moment to say hello. If you happen to pass people as you’re taking a walk around the neighborhood, introduce yourself.
It’s not necessarily wise to go door to door letting your new neighbors know that you’ve arrived on the scene. But, if you find yourself in the same place at the same time, say hello and exchange some pleasant conversation. For most people, this is far more pleasant than ignoring the people who live in your neighborhood every time you see them.
Sometimes, people live in a home for years without knowing who lives right next door to them. It’s possible that the neighborhood itself is divided and meeting other people is a challenge. There’s a lot of value in getting to know your neighbors, nonetheless, even if you’re only renting a property for a year or two. It’s nice to add people to your personal network and it may help one day if you’re out of town and you need someone to drag your trash and recycling bins out of the street or check your mail.
Not everyone has an easy time introducing themselves. Try to spend more time outside. You’ll find it’s easier to begin talking, and an easy way to begin getting to know your neighbors.
Be Mindful of Your Outdoor Space in a Killeen Rental Home
Whether you’re surrounded by fellow renters or a majority of homeowners, people are likely very interested in keeping their neighborhood attractive and well-maintained. You don’t want to be that house with a collection of broken-down cars in the yard, overgrown weeds along the driveway, and a mess in the front yard.
Take pride in your home, even if you don’t own it. This is where you live. For many people, it’s an extension of who they are.
If you commit to keeping your property looking great, your neighbors will appreciate the effort. Here are some of the ways to ensure you’re contributing to the aesthetics of the neighborhood:
- Park in your garage, driveway, carport, or designated parking area. You don’t want cars on the lawn. It makes your property – and the neighborhood – appear unkempt. You also don’t want too much parking on the street. Sometimes, street parking is all that’s available, especially if you’re having guests. But, you don’t want to slow down traffic in your neighborhood or cause confusion while neighbors are trying to navigate around the cars parked in front of your house and theirs.
- Pay attention to your landscaping. If you’re responsible for mowing and watering the lawn, make sure you commit to a schedule that keeps your grass green and short. If you or your landlord is paying for a professional service to keep up with the mowing and the lawn care, you’ll want to make sure it’s easy for them to access the property and do the work they’ve been contracted to do. Clean up any toys or personal items and scoop any pet waste.
- Keep trash and debris picked up. Loose papers and garbage can travel from house to house, and your neighbors will notice when it originates from your home.
- Maintain adequate exterior lighting. A completely dark house on a street that’s otherwise well-lit looks strange and invites potentially dangerous behavior. You’ll want to keep a porch light on and have plenty of inside light to indicate that the home is occupied and not vacant. This will keep your neighbors at ease.
These may seem like minor things, but part of being a good neighbor is keeping yourself accountable to the general standards of the neighborhood.
Control Pets in Your Killeen Rental Home
Paying attention to your pets is important. You’ll need to comply with your lease agreement, which likely includes a pet policy. Make sure you know the rules pertaining to your dogs or cats. If you have a dog, you are likely required to keep it on a leash when outdoors, unless there’s a fenced yard where they’re able to run around.
Good neighbors do not allow their pets to roam throughout the neighborhood on their own. Animals are unpredictable, and even if your pup is well-behaved at home, you really can’t tell how that animal will act if startled or scared. Keep your dogs on leashes when you’re walking them or letting them outside. Pick up after your pets, too. You don’t want to leave messes on sidewalks and streets.
Keep pets in good health. A dog that has fleas can easily share those fleas with other pets in the neighborhood. Your cats should be kept indoors so they don’t become a nuisance to your neighbors. It’s a liability if you have loose dogs in the neighborhood. If they bite a neighbor, you can almost certainly expect a lawsuit.
Minimize Parties and Noise in the Neighborhood
Noise is a big problem when you rent an apartment. You’re sharing walls with your neighbors, and it can be difficult to find a balance between enjoying your own music and movies and also respecting their need for quiet. Maybe you’ve experienced loud neighbors in the past, or maybe you’ve been that neighbor – the one who never really realized just how loud their television set was.
With a single-family home, you often have some distance between you and your neighbors. It’s still possible to be disruptive, however, especially in new construction neighborhoods where houses are built closer together, the trees have not matured enough yet to act as sound buffers, and noise can travel outside of your home.
Be respectful of neighbors, especially if you’re having a party or working on a project that involves loud power tools, or playing music while you complete some yard work.
Follow Your Killeen Lease Agreement and Community Rules
A growing number of rental homes are found in HOA communities. If you’re renting a property that happens to be part of a homeowner’s association, you’re responsible for following all the HOA rules and regulations. You should receive a copy of those when you sign the lease agreement.
Neighbors expect each other to comply with those rules, whether it’s a stipulation that trash and recycling bins are brought inside immediately after collection or a rule about signs in yards. Familiarize yourself with what those HOA rules are, because if there’s a violation, you will be responsible for it.
Don’t confront neighbors who you believe are violating an HOA rule or regulation. Instead, bring the matter to your landlord, property manager, or the HOA board. You don’t want to initiate a dispute with a neighbor. These conflicts can escalate quickly and are rarely resolved easily.
Remember that compliance with HOA rules begins with your lease agreement. Always follow the requirements of your lease.
Participate in Your Killeen Community
Good neighbors are active and aware. Participate in your community in whatever way makes sense to you. Perhaps you’ll coach a baseball or soccer team, if you have a child who is playing. Maybe, you’ll clean up trash in local parks on the weekend or you’ll help to host and plan a block party.
There are always opportunities to get involved in your neighborhood and your community in Killeen. Engaging in volunteer opportunities, philanthropic endeavors, and community events will bring you closer to your neighbors and give you a stronger sense of commitment to the place you live. You don’t have to own a home to feel connected to the community. Renters have a lot to contribute to their neighborhoods, especially renters who are committed to making things better or keeping things perfect for themselves and their neighbors.
We know it’s not always easy to settle into a neighborhood, especially as a tenant. We’d like to help you feel more welcome, so if you have any questions about your neighborhood or your property’s location, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Shine Residential Management.