Renting the home you live in, versus owning it comes with many benefits. As a renter, as long as you can afford the rent, you have almost unlimited options of where to live. Renting also gives you more mobility than homeowners have, you can pack up and leave at any time. But perhaps the biggest reason to be a renter is that you do not have to concern yourself with maintaining the property.
That being said, you also face a number of limitations when you live in a home that is not yours. Unlike when you live in your own home, you have to live according to the rules of the person you are renting from.
There are a lot of things the owner of the property will not let you do. For instance, as a renter, your options for remodeling the home to your own taste are severely constrained.
The Limestone Country Management team explains that’s because landlords do not design their rental properties to make them attractive to one particular tenant. They prefer a nonspecific design that is appealing in a general way to the majority of potential renters. Designing a rental property in this way makes it easier for the property owner to find tenants. This is why most landlords don’t want you altering their rental property’s design.
However, this doesn’t mean you are not allowed to modify the home to suit your preferences. It only means you must be careful when doing it, in order not to break the terms of your lease.
It also means you have to find ingenious ways to remodel the home without changing its appearance permanently. What are some of the things you can and cannot do to remodel a rental home?
The dos of rental remodeling
1. Repaint the walls
The apartment is probably going to be painted in neutral colors that you won’t like. If sufficiently assured of your intentions to rent the apartment for the long-term, most landlords will let your repaint the rental. This is usually on the condition that you return it to its original colors when you are ready to leave.
2. Replace the light fixtures
Light fixtures make a huge difference to the quality of illumination in a rental and its overall aesthetics. Landlords may not invest in high-quality light fixtures since they don’t have to. Your landlord should have no problems with your changing the light fixtures. But to be on the safe side, keep the original ones and replace them at the end of your lease.
3. Add new shelving
As a rule, the majority of rental properties have very limited storage space. Installing some shelves in the rental will make your life easier and the home more organized. This is an addition your landlord will probably value because it increases the value and appeal of the property. In case the owner doesn’t want them, be ready to remove the shelves when you leave.
4. Replace plumbing and cabinet hardware
Cabinet and plumbing hardware – faucets, showerheads, handles, pulls, and knobs – draw a lot of attention because they are usually so shiny. Replacing them will instantly transform the appearance of the home. If you make this change, keep the old hardware in a safe place, so you can replace them at the expiration of your tenancy.
5. Replace outdated linoleum
The linoleum in the rental may be old and faded. Outdated and poorly-maintained linoleum will cast a shadow on the entire kitchen. Linoleum is something you can change easily and cheaply. The cost may not be more than $150. Moreover, this is one remodel the landlord will certainly be pleased with.
The don’ts of rental remodeling
1. Avoid major renovations
This should not be hard to understand, you ought not to treat a rental property like it is your home. Firstly, you are not going to get your money back. Secondly, the landlord may not appreciate the changes. Thirdly, you will have to restore the home to its original condition before you leave.
2. Don’t change door locks
Doing this is as good as locking the owner out of their property. In most cases, your lease agreement will specifically forbid this, except if your safety is not guaranteed with the old locks. Even then, the property owner will often ask to have a copy of the new keys.
3. Do not rewire the home
The power outlets in the home may not be in the place where you would like them or there may not be enough of them. Do not be tempted to rewire the home because of this. This is one of the fastest ways to earn an eviction or lose your security deposit.
4. Don’t alter the landscaping
Do not assume you can create a garden or flower beds in the yard. There is a reason the yard is designed the way it is. It is one of the first things visitors to the property notice and an important part of the home’s curb appeal. Leave it as it is.