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Rental Home or Apartment Alterations

What alterations can you make to the rental home or unit you rent?

Updated 1/6/2019

When you rent a home or apartment, you want to put some of your touches on it.  You might want to make some of your own improvements. This is your home, your friends and family visit you, you are raising your children there.  It is a representation of you, and for most, they want to live in a nice place and take pride in decorating the home they are renting. This is completely understandable, and Owners want you to be happy, comfortable and make it your home, within reason.

Alterations get a little tricky.  True, owners love tenants that take good care of their places, keep the home or apartment clean and tidy and invest in the units, these types of tenants are appreciated.  However, there are limits to the types of alterations owners will approve.   Here is a list of alterations I have been asked to have my owners consider:

  1.   Will the owner paint or allow me too?Home - Authority Property Management
  2.   Can I grow a garden in the backyard?
  3.   Can I put gravel down?
  4.   Can I take out the carpet, I am allergic?
  5.   I have my own washer and dryer or refrigerator, will the owner remove theirs?
  6.   Can I put in a dog door?
  7.   Can I put in an above-ground pool in the backyard?

Now all these seem pretty normal and within reason.  However, when you start breaking them down, they can get costly.  For instance, you want walls painted in color, but the next tenant might not like the colors you choose. A full paint of entire units can get very costly, and many property owners cannot endure that cost every time a tenant moves out.  I recommend to my owners if they do paint, paint neutral colors.  If a tenant wants to paint one wall an accent color, most owners would agree as long as the tenant puts it back to the original color when they move out and create no damage in the process of painting.   Gardens are great! However, I have seen tenants import dirt and build boxes over gravel areas, and when they move out, they do not take apart the garden or remove the dirt and leave it to the owner to correct.  Owners charge to have the garden’s removed, what worked for you may not work for the next tenant and could become an eyesore to the property.  Large above ground pools kill the lawn underneath the pool.  Even if a section of the yard is cleared and sand is brought in away from the lawn, the section needs to be brought back to its original condition upon vacating the unit.  Most owners will agree to have their appliances stored in the garage or shed to allow a tenant to use their own appliances.  But tenants need to keep in mind if you store the item outside exposed to the elements when you move out and the appliance is damaged or no longer works you could be charged for the replacement.

When requesting alterations it is important to remember that the owner or property manager wants to accommodate you. However, the bigger picture needs to be considered. When looking for a rental, you may want to consider some of the things you or family are going to need that you can’t live without.  For instance, if you are allergic to the carpet, you should look to rent a house with tile, wood floor or new carpet. If you want to use your own appliances look for places that do not provide them.   It is always very important to receive permission from the owner or property manager before making any changes to the home or unit, be willing to remove or reverse any changes you make and if you don’t be aware that you could be charged for curing the alterations.


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Posted by: joline on July 30, 2015
Posted in: Current Tenants