How to Be a Good Neighbor: 7 Tips for Renters That Go Beyond the Basics

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When living in a rental apartment, being a good neighbor goes far beyond following the rules and keeping noise levels down. It’s about nurturing a sense of community that transforms your apartment complex into a true home. But what truly makes a great neighbor, someone that everyone appreciates? Often, it’s the small, unexpected acts of kindness that leave a lasting impact.

So, if you’re wondering what makes a good neighbor, look no further. In this guide, we’re moving beyond the obvious advice (yes, we all know to pick up after our pets) and exploring some unconventional yet highly effective tips to help you become the neighbor everyone loves. Whether you’re a first-time renter who’s new to apartment living or aiming to up your neighboring game, these tips will help you build lasting relationships and make your community thrive.

7 offbeat ways to be a good neighbor (and a local legend)

Emergency kit exchange

Put together a small kit with essentials like batteries, a flashlight, bandages, and a few snacks. Offer to swap kits with your neighbors so everyone has a little backup in case of unexpected power outages or minor mishaps. It’s a small gesture that builds a sense of shared preparedness.

“Borrow my…” box

Designate a box or bin outside your door filled with items you’re happy to lend out like tools, baking supplies, party decor, board games, etc. This not only encourages neighborly interaction but also reduces waste by sharing within the community.

Plant swap party

Do you have a green thumb? Host a plant swap where neighbors can trade cuttings, seeds, or even fully grown plants. It’s a fun way to connect with fellow plant lovers and add some greenery to everyone’s apartments.

Renters are gathered around a table filled with pots, plants, soil, and gardening tools, enjoying a lively plant swap party at their apartment building.

“Take a book, leave a book” shelf

If you have a little extra space in your hallway or common area, set up a small bookshelf where people can leave books they’ve finished and take ones they haven’t read. It’s a fantastic way to share your favorite stories and discover new ones, even if you’ve already set up your own library.

Skill share workshop

Are you a whiz at fixing things, knitting, or baking the perfect cookies? Offer to teach a short workshop for your neighbors. Sharing your talents not only helps others learn something new but also fosters a sense of connection and community spirit.

Pet playdate

Renting with pets is a rewarding experience — even more so when you live in a place that fosters this amazing connection between humans and animals. If you and your neighbors have furry friends, organize a pet playdate in a common area or nearby park. It’s a great way for both pets and their owners to socialize and make new friends.

Random-act-of-kindness calendar

Create a calendar where neighbors can sign up to perform daily acts of kindness, from leaving encouraging notes to surprising someone with a homemade treat. This initiative spreads positivity and cultivates a supportive atmosphere.

A close-up of a calendar page with the 17th marked as "Random Acts of Kindness Day" in handwritten text, highlighting a dedicated day for performing and celebrating acts of kindness.

Being a good neighbor doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. It’s about showing genuine interest in those around you and making an effort to contribute to a positive and supportive community. By embracing these unconventional tips, you’ll not only improve your living environment but also create lasting memories and connections with the people you share it with.

So, go ahead and surprise your neighbors with your thoughtfulness and creativity. Who knows? You might inspire them to invent their own unique ways to spread kindness and build an even stronger, happier community.

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Veronica Grecu is a senior creative writer and researcher for RentCafe. With more than 10 years of experience in the real estate industry, she covers a variety of topics in residential and commercial real estate, including trends and industry news. Previously, she was involved in producing content for Multi-Housing News, Commercial Property Executive and Yardi Matrix. Veronica’s academic background includes a B.A. in Applied Modern Languages and an M.A. in Advertising and PR.

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