Rental Redesign Tips for Tenants

Rental Redesign Tips for Tenants
  • Opening Intro -

    Your home is your castle, but it cannot be fully customized if you are a tenant.

    Your rental lease agreement may restrict your apartment or house to a few cosmetic changes with more advanced updates requiring your landlord's permission.


Thus, if you want to move a wall, replace a door or put in crown molding, don’t expect your landlord to be receptive to your request.

What you may discover, however, is a landlord willing to listen to your proposal and perhaps desirous to meet you at least part way especially if you are an exemplary tenant. Consider the following before planning any update, especially one that does not meet your landlord’s approval.

Lease Review

Take a look at your lease to find out what types of updates are allowed. Likely, you can paint the walls, hang paintings and maybe replace your toilet seat. Beyond that, you risk violating your lease agreement if you make changes that are not stipulated in your lease agreement.

Make an appointment with your landlord to discuss the changes you want to make with your residence. If there is a problem with the kitchen, for example, the landlord may agree to you replacing the sink in exchange for credit to your rent. Know, however, that any changes that you do make may come out of your pocket unless your landlord agrees to cover the expense.

Cost Estimate

Good landlords like to keep good tenants happy. Good tenants represent a “sure bet” or money that landlords can expect each month.

You can bolster your position with your landlord by getting estimates on the cost of whatever renovations you want to have done. Your landlord may be receptive to a lower cost job, but if your proposal is for $500 or more, it may get rejected. That means making a case for how the improvements can make the space more livable and add value to the property.

Do-It-Yourself Renovation

Perhaps the best tenant renovation proposal is one where you agree to do the work yourself. If you are handy and can demonstrate that you are able to handle the job, your landlord may agree to let you do the work. This can be advantageous for the tenant that wants both a certain look and doesn’t mind making the alterations himself.

You should also ask the landlord to spell out in writing what work you will do, who will pay for the supplies and any credits toward your rental payments that will be made. For instance, if your project would save your landlord $3,000 in construction costs, she may agree to credit you $300 per month for the next 10 months. Instead of paying $950 per month for rent, you’d pay $650 for 10 months.

Renovation Considerations

Tenants that want to update their place should keep in mind that whatever improvements made will stay with the apartment or house when they leave. That may be a small price to pay if what you get is a better living situation for your rental.

See AlsoRental Property Renovation Ideas



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Categories: Home Decor

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".