Before we become homeowners, most of us find ourselves renting. A house with friends, a college apartments, the basement of our aunt and uncles. Whatever it is you rent, there is a certain etiquette that comes with signing a lease. Consider doing the following in hopes that your tenure as a tenant is a good one.

Pay on time: Yes, rent is a four letter word. Still, it's a four letter word that needs to be punctual. When renting a house or apartment, especially when renting from a friend or a particularly easy going landlord, it's pretty easy to pay your rent when you get around to it. Though your landlord might not be a stickler for punctuality, paying on time shows your landlord that you respect him or her. This is important not only for the landlord/tenant relationship, but it's also important for one other reason: some day you may use your landlord as a reference; you'll want him to say nice things.

Don't be overly demanding: Yes, your landlord is the person you are told to call when the faucet starts to leak or the lock on the door routinely sticks. Though it is your landlord's job to fix these things, you don't need to be an anal-retentive renter. Asking your landlord to fix a clogged bathroom sink is very different than insisting your landlord do away with those old, dingy countertops in favor of something marble, or perhaps, solid gold.

Remember your Landlord has a life: Yes, it's true: your landlord has a life outside of his rented property. He probably has a job, a family, a social circle. For this reason, it's important not to cross the line with your landlord. Don't call him everyday with a new complaint or a new concern and call only during decent hours. Never call in the middle of the night (unless your house is on fire) and try not to call during dinnertime. Keep in mind that if something is that big of an emergency, 911 can help more than your landlord ever will.

Fix what you break: When renting a house or an apartment, things will undoubtedly break. The carpet might get worn and torn, a mirror might get cracked, the ceiling fan may go on the fritz. Sometimes these sort of things just happen, other times you - or your fifty friends that were over last night - might have had a hand in it. If something breaks because of a careless act, fix it. If you call your landlord for assistance, at least reimburse him for any money he spends on supplies.

Leave the place clean: When it comes to move out day, some landlords require you to do a walk threw with them; other landlords simply trust that the place isn't trashed. Whichever method your landlord prefers, be sure to leave the place clean. Wash the windows, clean the carpet, and remove everything - yes even the box of stale cereal that has been in the pantry for 3.5 years - from the residence. Nothing angers a landlord more than finding a place in shambles. You don't have to make it as good as new, but try to leave it how you found it.