During the last few weeks of lockdown, I’m sure yourself, amongst many other tenants are getting fed up at looking at the same four walls. You don’t own the property and therefore feel you’re not allowed to make any changes to the property.
Although technically you are right you also couldn’t be further from the truth. Most Landlords are reasonable and want you to be able to make their house into your home. It has been stated that happy tenants pay their rent on time, look after their rental homes and stay in the property longer with part of this being because they are allowed to decorate.
The start of any process, ask yourself what do you want to do? Write down a list of all the changes you want to make to the property. No matter how big or small, this is just the brainstorming period. Research some ideas online to see what others have done before or try and think of something completely new.
Once you have a list written down, it’s time to become a bit pickier. Changing the colour of the walls? That could be a possibility. However, installing your own indoor aquarium? Probably not going to happen.
Now you have your list of changes you consider possible it’s time to be practical and price them up. As well as the cost of materials, you need to make sure you include quotes from contractors. Try and get quotes from both local contractors and bigger companies to ensure you will be getting the best deal. Chances are you will have to pay for the materials and do the work yourself if it’s something smaller like painting a wall.
However, for a second let's focus of potential value rather than cost. If you’re wanting to change something you won’t be able to take with you if you left the property, such as the carpet, and feel the Landlord should pay you will need to be able to show there is some increased value in it for them to do it whilst they have a tenant in situ and can still make money whilst adding value to the property. This step will show your Landlord have thought about the changes you would like to make and have cut out some work for them if they are going to be happy with the prices you have found.
Schedule a Meeting with your Landlord
The most important step which can make or break your renovation plans, getting the Landlord’s approval. If possible, try and arrange a meeting in person at the property. It doesn’t have to be long or formal but will show the Landlord how well you have been looking after the property so far, as well as allow them to visualise the changes you want to make.
There’s no better way to show something needs changing then if you can point out how it’s already in need of repair due to general wear and tear and have a priced plan of how you are going to fix it at now extra effort to them.
Get Approval in Writing
Finally, a more legal part to cover yourself, getting the approval in writing. If the meeting has gone well and the Landlord is happy with the changes you have proposed don’t just take their word for it.
The last thing you’ll want when you leave the property is the Landlord to try and keep your deposit because they claim to not have agreed to the unapproved work you have done.
Make sure that it’s clear: what the work is, when it is going to be completed, what the cost of the work will be – including who is paying and whether the changes will need to be retracted when the tenant leaves the property. This way both the tenant and Landlord are on the same page and any confusion is avoided.