1. Read Your Lease. That’s right. Read it. Don’t skim it. Don’t presume you have the general understanding of it. Read it. It is a binding legal contract. It definitely is not up there with The Shawshank Redemption I grant you. But that was only a short story, so the few pages of the legalese in the lease will feel like it took you about the same length of time to read it. And it will prevent you from feeling like you are reading Misery later! Seriously though, the lease creates a binding relationship between you and your landlord. What did you agree to? If you don’t understand, ask questions before you sign it.
2. Pay Your Rent on Time. Many tenants believe they have a “grace” period. In fact most leases will not apply a late fee until after the 5th of the month. Some of the leases might make it the 3rd. However, if you read the lease, it does say without exception that rent is due on the 1st. So if you train yourself to have it paid on the 1st you will never run the risk of any glitches in rent arriving after the fees get applied. Also, depending on the landlord, if they are asked by your next landlord if you have paid rent on time, and you have always paid on the 5th, it will be at their discretion to state whether you were late every month on rent.