Can Tenants Change Or Renovate A Property?
Landlords want to attract quality tenants and one way to keep them on board is to let them make some changes to the property so it feels like a place they’d like to call home. However, it can be a slippery slope from there to the kinds of renovations that can significantly change a place and even potentially cost the landlord money down the track.
It’s important for tenants to understand their rights and restrictions before signing on to a lease.
First of all, you have no right to undertake any renovations to the property that may alter it permanently. Only the landlord, as owner, can make those changes. If you are of the opinion that a certain renovation would benefit all parties, you might like to approach the landlord through your property manager and put forward your case.
But in the meantime, here are some ways you might be able to personalise your rental home without breaching your lease.
Large leaning mirrors are casually elegant and make a room look bigger, lighter and brighter. Go for a tall mirror where possible and place it opposite a window to amplify the natural light, or between two windows to give the illusion of a third. Leaning ladders are another popular trend and can be used in bathrooms to hang extra towels or in living rooms to hang magazines.
Tenant tip: Anything set up to lean on a wall needs padding placed behind it to eliminate scratching and gouging of walls.
Aged kitchen tiles or dated carpet can affect the vibe of a home but you can cover these up with a large rug or entrance hall runner. Placing furniture so that it overlaps the edges gives the illusion of more space.
Carpet tiles are a relatively inexpensive way to change the look of a floor to something of your choice. In outside areas, temporary decking can transform the look of an entertainment space.
Tenant tip: Avoid ‘stick-on flooring’. This can leave a glue-like residue and cause damage
You may not be able to make structural changes or pick internal fittings, but there are some small tweaks that could make a big difference. In some instances, you may be allowed to remove old curtains and replace them with low cost fabric ones using existing curtain rods.
Tenant tip: Just make sure to store the original curtains in a safe place, so you can put them back on when you move on to your next place.
Replacing light bulbs with a warmer colour can drastically change the ambience of a room, as can adding new light fixtures or floor and table lamps.
Storage can also be an issue and adding inbuilt cabinetry isn’t an option. One answer is cube style storage solutions and stylish baskets that will easily fit into other spaces in the future. Also consider buying a butcher’s block on wheels to add to a kitchen that lacks counter space, as it doubles as extra storage for serving bowls and crockery.
Investing in a beautiful planter to house your indoor plant can double as an artwork and add a calming, natural element to a room. If you aren’t a green thumb, consider investing in succulents that will last for years and require very little attention. Stylishly selected homewares such as a console table, vase or throw will allow you to express some personal flair and consider pairing some less expensive purchases with investment pieces that will last the distance.
Tenant tip: If you do invest in a planter, make sure there is a tile underneath it to avoid damage or staining to flooring.
Tenants in Queensland who are unsure of what they can and can’t do, can find some useful information at the Residential Tenancies Authority website: https://www.rta.qld.gov.au/
However, it’s important to note that there can be different rules and by-laws for different properties, so it’s always best to get in touch with your property manager if you are thinking of doing anything new in your rental, rather than assume you can and face potential penalties or loss of bond.