Thursday, 5 July 2012
Home Improvement to a Rental Property - What You Should Do Before Changing Someone Else’s Home
Renting gives you the freedom to pick up and move on a month’s notice, and if
problems arise with the property, you can give your landlord a call. It’s an easy way to
keep your life simple. But at the end of the day, you’re living in someone else’s home.
And as a renter, there are limits to what you can do to a property. Granted, some
landlords are easygoing and they allow tenants to make changes or improvements to a
property. This is your home, and understandably, you want to make the property as nice
as possible. But before going into your pocket to make home improvements, consider
Does It Make Financial Sense?
Think past the moment and look into the future. Realistically, do you see yourself living
in the property in one, three or five years? Bringing in new furniture, home accents and
wall art are simple and quick fixes to a boring house. But if you’re tired of old carpet, a
dated bathroom and worn equipment, improving these areas with your own money isn’t
always cost effective. Your landlord isn’t going to reimburse you for these expenses,
any changes that you make to the property remain with the property when you move.
You can maybe justify home improvement projects if don’t plan to move in the near
future. But if your goal is to buy your own place, save this cash and put it toward your
What Are Your Landlord’s Plans for the Property?
After renting a property for several years, you may start to feel comfortable and take
liberties with the property. Maybe your landlord stated that he would never sell the
property, or that you could rent for as long as you needed to. Understand, however, that
situations can change rapidly. For example, your landlord may stumble on hard times
and need to sell the house for extra cash. Before spending your money to make home
improvements, talk to your landlord and ask about his plans for the home.
Do You Have Permission?
Read your rental agreement very carefully before making an minor or major home
improvements. Your landlord likely included a clause in the agreement regarding
changes to the property. This clause may clearly state that changes are not allowed,
or your landlord may allow certain changes as long as you obtain permission. But even
if home improvements are allowable under the lease agreement, always contact your
landlord before making any changes to the property. There’s a possibility that your
landlord may only allow minor improvements. Furthermore, your landlord will likely want
to review your plans for the property. This isn’t your house, therefore, you landlord has
the final say in the matter. For example, your plans might include ripping out the carpet
and laying porcelain tile, yet your landlord prefers carpet in the house.
Jeff covers topics for people who rent for the Renters’ Insurance Blog (linkto: http://
rentersinsurance.org) for the Consumer Media Network.