When you move into a new home, you want to make it your own. The problem is most leases have clauses which explain the changes landlords allow tenants to make to their rental property. These clauses are usually written in legal language. An example clause would be, “Absolutely no improvements, repairs or changes may be made to the rental property without express written permission from the property owner.” Most landlords don’t allow tenants to make changes to the rental property. Unless, it’s not permanent.
Tenants may have read and agreed to this clause. However, upon moving out landlords often find unauthorized “improvements” made by tenants.
Why are landlords wary of tenants making changes to rental property?
The largest driving force is property damage. When a tenant makes unauthorized changes they may be creating a safety issue for future tenants. For example say a tenant requested to put up a ceiling fan. This type of improvement involves electricity and construction.
Landlords would usually do the installation themselves. Which as the property owner they have the right to do. They can also hire an electrician for professional installation. Safety and liability issues can arise when dealing with wiring. Cutting, stripping and connecting wires and securing the fan to drywall in the ceiling can be dangerous. Property owners aren’t going to take the risk lightly and say “yes” to what seems like a simple request.
Property owners need to consider the risk improvement. They also need to consider the value and cost to allow tenants to make changes. Painting isn’t only painting. If the landlord needs to fix the tenants painting project because it is sloppy, the request costs money. Paying for ruined carpet or new woodwork because a tenant isn’t careful is not an improvement. Yet, if a landlord approves a request for professionally installed new flooring, this could be a capital improvement. Tenants also enjoy the new flooring while they live there. Landlords should consider each request separately. Landlords are running a business. If a tenant makes an improvement which damages the home, there are now extra costs. There could also be potential safety issues to fix. Adding more costs to a clean, functional and safe unit when the tenant first moved in.
Which changes do landlords allow?
The answer is: whatever the landlord gives you written permission to do. However, the written permission by the landlord should also explain what will happen if you don’t comply to those terms. If you don’t want to pay a professional to fix a problem, you may want to cancel your project. If painting the room back to the color you had when you moved in doesn’t sound reasonable; you may want to avoid making any permanent changes to the rental property.
How to comply with the lease and still personalize the home.
If the consequences of permanent improvements are too steep for you, there are small changes you can easily make. Invest in quality decor items such as paintings if you don’t like the wall color. Colorful pillows and blankets can liven up any room. Place decorative rugs over any flooring you don’t like and give you control over the look of your environment. Use your money for personal touches. Items you’ll own and can take with you. They’ll keep the house feeling cozy while you live there.
By allowing tenants to make small improvements with written permission, everyone is happy. You’ve personalized the space and your landlord isn’t ready to evict you for painting every room purple. For those who still say no, consider an investment in quality decorations. They’ll express your style and you’ll have them for years to come.
If you aren’t sure what your lease allows, you can contact your property management company. You can reach Day Property Management at 920-968-0626 or fill out the contact form with any questions.