1. Pay rent or mortgage on time
Failure to pay rent or mortgage on time is the most frequent reason why people lose their housing. Paying for shelter costs should take priority over most other bills, especially in subsidized housing or for people that own their own homes. It is usually best to borrow money from elsewhere to pay your rent if you live in subsidized housing, or pay your mortgage if you own your own home. Owing money to your landlord or the bank that holds your mortgage will inevitably result in losing your housing.
2. Do not withhold rent
Never withhold rent without first obtaining advice from an attorney or before you first carefully review and understand the applicable rules. Even if your landlord did something wrong, you can still be evicted if you withhold your rent.
3. Request rent adjustments promptly
If a tenant who receives a rent subsidy of some kind suffers a reduction in income, immediately request a rent adjustment. Adjustments not requested will not be made retroactively.
4. Know the rules and follow them
Don't violate the rules of the lease and the house rules; you will eventually get evicted. Common violations include unauthorized guests or occupants, noise violations, and damaging the apartment. Read your lease before you move in. If your tenancy is subject to the landlord-tenant code, get a copy and read it before problems develop.
5. Be a good neighbor
Most problems, other than those created by failure to pay rent, can be avoided by being pleasant to your landlord and your neighbors. Even when you disagree with your neighbors or your landlord, try to resolve the problem cordially by focusing on resolving the problem, not attacking the person you think created it.
6. Be conscientious
If there are any obligations that you have as part of your tenancy, it is important that you comply with those obligations and do so promptly. This is especially important in subsidized housing where tenants are required to periodically meet with their landlord and provide information regarding their income, assets, and family composition. Failing to promptly comply with these obligations can lead to eviction.
7. Talk to your landlord if problems arise
If you run into problems keeping your obligations for your tenancy, often the best policy is to talk with your landlord to inform him or her of the problems so that you can try to work out a solution together. Of course the approach you take will depend on your relationship with your landlord. It is common for people to avoid their landlord when problems arise, but doing so often makes landlords resentful.
8. Maintain your home
Keep your home clean and safe. If you own your home, maintaining it well will increase its value. If you rent, you are less likely to run into problems with your landlord if you take care of your rental. In extreme cases, families can be evicted for failing to properly maintain their home. Landlords will often refuse to return tenants' security deposits for damages caused to the property.
9. Keep good records
It is important to keep track of all your rental documents (ex: leases, house rules, rent receipts, etc.) in case you need to refer to them in the future. Never pay rent in cash unless the landlord will immediately provide you with a receipt - use checks or money orders if your landlord refuses to provide receipts.