We’ve all heard the saying “you get what you give.” It’s just as true in the context of renting, where being a good neighbor first inspires the same reciprocation and promotes a respectful community. If you are looking to live in a place with good neighbors, be one first.

Here’s how!

Treat Your Property with Respect

No one wants to live in a place where poor living habits are evident. Start with little things, like picking up litter on a regular basis, even if you have not caused it. If something lands in your yard, pick it up and dispose of it properly.  Be aware of what your property looks like to others.  Do you have any “junk” stored outside? Is it laying in your yard or properly stored under a porch, for example? How about garbage? Be sure to take trash bags out to the dumpster or the proper trash receptacles instead of piling at your door.

How about holiday decorations? Are your Christmas lights still hung in July? Consider timely removal.  It sends the message that you care about your home, and it will inspire others to feel the same and then act on those feelings.

If there is an issue with your property, don’t let it fester—call your landlord right away to take care of it. Water issues can cause a lot of damage, so if you see a spot on your ceiling, call and have it inspected. You are the one who lives in the property and sees it every day.  This gives you the best insight into the state of the property and any needs.

Be Aware of Your Neighbors

It is important to live quietly and allow others the quiet enjoyment of their home. If you share walls, floors, and ceilings, being aware of how noise travels in your building will help you and your neighbors get along. If you plan to have people over and you know the gathering may go late into the night, consider letting your neighbors know and setting a time that they can expect it to be quiet again. Setting these expectations (and then abiding by them) can go a long way.

Also be aware that your neighbors may not feel the same way you do about animals. You may love dogs, and while your property owner permits them, your neighbor may not love dogs. Keep pets on leashes and be sure to behave in compliance with local ordinances. If your pet constantly creates a nuisance—barking at all hours of the night or meowing near your neighbors’ windows—you are responsible for rectifying the situation.

Treat your neighbors the way you would like to be treated in the area of parking as well. If there is limited parking available, don’t leave your car with a flat tire sitting in the first spot for weeks. Don’t violate any other parking rules either, as it most likely would anger you if a neighbor was constantly taking too many spots or parking poorly.

Don’t Be Afraid to Communicate

If any tough situations do arise, do the right thing and communicate with your neighbors. If they have a bothersome animal, consider having a conversation with them and giving them a chance to address it. Perhaps they don’t realize that Fido dug up your garden, and if they knew that, they would replace your plants.

Just as in any relationship, you will reap what you sow. Always keep this in mind as you think about living in peace with your neighbors!

These actions will also gain you the respect of your landlord, who will notice your efforts and appreciate the care that you take of their property. This will also enhance your relationship there as well—a win all the way around.