How to personalise your rental property
Making a ‘house a home’ is a saying that applies to everyone, including tenants, but there is often confusion over what a renter can do to a property in terms of DIY and decorating. In this blog, we explain how a tenancy agreement will provide clarity, and we’ll suggest a number of ways to personalise a rental property without making permanent changes.
The detail is in the document
While there is a standard tenancy agreement made available by the Government, many landlords work with a letting agent to create bespoke contracts for each property. Within this legal document will be the ‘dos and don’ts’ of property personalisation. Each landlord will have a different opinion of what is acceptable, so it’s worth reading before you pick up a paint brush.
It’s common to find a clause in the tenancy agreement that prohibits any form of structural alteration and another frequently banned activity is making holes in the wall, which may happen if the tenant tries to hang pictures or put up shelves. Redecorating can be a divisive point. Some landlords are happy for tenants to repaint to their tastes, as long as they return the property to its original state – and shade – before they move out. Other landlords prefer to redecorate themselves between tenancies so they can control the quality and colour of the work.
Even if you have rented a property before, a new tenancy agreement may have different decorating clauses. We’d be happy to work through the details of the agreement with you, so you’re clear about what’s allowed and what would be considered a breach.
Redecorating & deposit recovery
While tempting to put your own stamp on a rental property, going against what’s set out in the tenancy agreement can backfire. If unauthorised alterations are discovered during a mid-term inspection or at the end of the tenancy, the landlord is within their rights to withhold some – or all – of the deposit. The money will be used to cover the cost of putting the property back to its original state, which may include repainting, removing wallpaper and filling in holes in walls.
Making a special request
While we can’t guarantee they will agree, a flexible landlord may give a tenant permission to make some cosmetic changes outside of the tenancy agreement’s clauses. There will, however, probably be restrictions. A landlord may want to approve any paint choices or planned work, and they could also insist their preferred tradesperson completes the project. A DIY or decorating request should be made in writing by the tenant to the landlord. Anything agreed by the landlord should also be put in writing, especially if they request the property be returned to its original state at the end of the tenancy.
Personalisation without permanent changes
Even if it’s not your cup of tea, a property that’s painted cream can be the perfect blank canvas. Accessories are your friend as they can be placed, rather than affixed, easily changed and taken to the next property.
Houseplants are a fashionable choice, with their rich shades of green, interesting forms and flowers livening up a neutral décor. Choose pots in vivid hues and you’ll add a double-whammy of colour. Textiles are another easy way to theme a rental property. Cushions, rugs and throws are the holy trinity of interior design – add liberally in your favourite colour or pattern to break up plain expanses and brighten.
Tenants can also explore the world of removable wallpapers and decals – they’re specifically designed to be easily removed without damaging surfaces or leaving a sticky residue – and the art of ‘leaning’ shouldn’t be ignored. Propping up mirrors and pictures frames, either on the floor or on a mantelpiece, circumnavigates the need to drill any holes.
If you are a tenant or a landlord wishing to discuss any property to let, please contact us today.
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